Venice, Italy – A city enriched with culture and romance
When it comes to architecture, culture and atmosphere, few laces on earth compare to Venice, Italy. It is frequently upheld as a city of romance, and is a lovely city for anyone to visit with a like-minded partner, as a family or with friends.
Venice was built as one the greatest maritime centers in the world serving many international destinations from its Mediterranean location. Its architecture and canal-based infrastructure soon captured the interest of writers, artists and philosophers. It became a must-do for wealthy socialites on their Grand Tour of Europe to complete their education and continues to attract tourists by the thousands. Not surprisingly, the stunning palaces, piazzas, art galleries and churches have made this a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spread over 116 islands, it has endless waterways, bridges, trattorias (restaurants) and osterias (bars) all served by vaporetti (water taxis).
Venice is divided into six main districts, or sesteri, the main one being San Marco. At the heart of the city is St Mark’s Basilica with its sumptuously decorated exterior, beautiful colored mosaics and ornate domes. Next to it is the Campanile di San Marco, the belltower, now rebuilt and open for energetic visitors to climb up and enjoy stunning views of the city. Another side of St Mark’s Square is occupied by the colonnaded Doge’s Palace, the seat of Venetian power from the 9th century onwards.
East of San Marco is Castello where you will find the Giardini, an area of public parkland created by Napoleon Bonaparte. North of the railway station is the Cannaregio sestiere, where many working Venetians live. It is the best place to find affordable food and accommodation for those on a budget.
Across the Grand Canal from San Marco is the district of Dosoduro. This is an art-lovers paradise as it is home to the Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery. The Accademia was founded as an Art School in 1750 and has a wonderful collection of pre-19th century Venetian art by such famous names as Titian, Tintoretto and Leonardo da Vinci.
The last two districts worth visiting are San Polo and Santa Croce. Follow the Grand Canal northwards from Dosoduro to discover the wonderful Tintoretto artworks in the Scuola di San Rocco, a former guild house. The highlight of Santa Croce is the pretty Campo San Giacoma dell-Orio.
Other fun things to do on any visit to Venice include walking over (and sailing under) the famous Rialto Bridge, one of the city’s icons. Take the ferry across to the Lido for a relaxed walk on the beach of this quiet island in the Lagoon, or stroll along the waterfront in Zattere and see boatbuilders repairing or building gondolas as they have for many generations.