There is no place in the world like Venice. Is romantic as Paris and beautiful as Florence. And if you’re traveling through Italy or Europe, you can’t help but include it among the stops to visit. Venice is truly one of a kind. And it is for this reason that, every year, thousands of visitors fill its bridges and enjoy pleasant hours between the lagoon and its islands. Let’s discover it together.
Venice and its canals
Venice is a city built on the waters of the Adriatic Sea, with elaborate architecture, art-filled palaces, a palpable history dating back over 1,000 years, and of course, its network of picturesque canals.
The city comprises a narrow group of islands around the Grand Canal, an iconic waterway plowed by gondolas, water cabs, and riverboats. And since there are no cars in the city (or even roads to be honest), you have to walk to visit or take a boat to see its many sites. But exploring it is an enjoyable experience, and there’s certainly no shortage of attractions and sights, including art museums, island tours, and lagoon excursions. And there are a whole host of activities that you absolutely must do if you’re visiting Venice.
Essentials to visit in Venice
There are several places and experiences in Venice that we cannot ignore.
If we are in Venice, we cannot miss Saint Mark’s Square.
It is the largest square in the city. Piazza San Marco (or Piazza di San Marco), is the main meeting place of the city. Populated with cafes, stores, and numerous museums are located at the Grand Canal’s mouth and are not to be missed. St. Mark’s Basilica, the cathedral above it, boasts a complex and elaborate design and disarmingly beautiful frescoed interiors.
Another typical Venetian experience is a visit to the Doge’s Palace.
During the thousand-year reign of the Republic of Venice, the residence of its leader, the “Duke” of Venice (or “Doge”) – was the Doge’s Palace, which is now a museum. And not just any museum, but one of the largest and most spectacular in Europe. Not many people know that you can book a tour of the secret itineraries, which includes access to the torture chambers, prisons, and the Bridge of Sighs (from the point of view of the condemned).
The Rialto Bridge
It is an ornamental stone-built bridge over the Grand Canal and is one of Venice’s most famous bridges (and an icon of the city). The first bridge built in the city, the Rialto Bridge, leads to the famous Rialto Market, where vendors sell fresh produce, freshly caught fish, spices, and much more. A walk on the bridge allows you to enter Venice’s beating heart, both for the variety of tourist offerings and for the local daily life.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Modern art lovers will appreciate the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, one of Italy’s first contemporary art museums. The museum houses priceless works by the leaders of 20th-century painting, including Pollock, Klee, Mondrian, and de Chirico. Housed in the Palazzo Venier Dei Leoni – an unfinished 18th-century palace – this museum was once the lavish residence of Peggy Guggenheim. A highlight of the most bohemian part of Venice.
A gondola ride
For many visitors to Venice, taking a gondola ride is madness: in fact, it is a costly activity. However, it is also a romantic and certainly memorable moment, provided you choose an itinerary that gets away from the hustle and bustle of the Grand Canal and explores the city’s network of narrow waterways.
It is the most famous festival in Venice. Still, it is exclusively seasonal as it takes place in February and only on certain days, even though it includes several weeks of festivities. Venetians dress up in period costumes, elaborate masks and participate in imaginative masked balls. The festival consists of a water parade, a reenactment of the “flight of the angel” and, as good Italian tradition dictates, lots of food and desserts.
These are just a few reasons why you should visit Venice, but there is much more. Sunset over the lagoon is something that we must experience at least once in a lifetime, and beyond that, we know that this city will be able to make you fall in love in so many different ways.
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