City guide to Venice

Introduction to Venice

Venice's Grand Canal

Venice, as described by Lord Byron is the ‘fair city of the heart’.  Venice is the place of stone palaces that float on water, a place where cats lazily nap on the Oriental marble windowsills and where the front steps of small stone docks of pallazi lay against the gentle lapping waters of the canals that Venice is so famous for. The main mode of transportation in Venice are all forms of floating transportation such as water taxis and vaporetti as well as ambulance speedboats and garbage scows. In this floating city, you can find locals in the bacaro sipping wine and munching on cicchetti.

Venice is a city as unique as any other and has potential to become the highlight of your travels in Europe and Italy so it’s best to stay for at least 4 days and 3 nights to truly explore and enjoy the city. Some of the places that you can go to truly get the feel of this wonderful city are by first and foremost riding in the Grand Canal in Venice’s gondolas. This image of couples sitting in a gondola floating in Venice’s canals have been captured on both images and painting as is it such a picturesque memory and is considered boat trip of a lifetime.

Another place that is a must visit is in one of the world’s most famous squares - the Piazza San Marco. Sitting down here with a cup of cappuccino ordered near any of the cafes whilst listening to classical music gently filling the air, the calm and relaxing feeling you get is divine. Around the corner of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) is the famous Bridge of Sighs.

When in Venice, it’s also good to visit the local markets. Head to Il Mercato di Rialto, the world’s greatest outdoor market as you can feast your eyes on the variety of food that Venetians have for dinner. From blood-red oranges to fresh peas, to hot pastry loaded unto barges, Il Mercato di Rialto is a burst of sights and smells.

Another place to visit would be the most exotic and mysterious of all Roman Catholic churches around the world - the St. Mark’s Basilica. With cavernous interior exquisitely gilded using Byzantine mosaics, the church has one of the most magnificent altarpieces known as the Pala d’Oro or Golden Altarpiece.

Some of the best times to visit Venice would be late October to April and you might end up encountering some fog, rain and acqua alta flooding especially during the winter months. Mild and sunny days are common throughout the year.

Tourist offices are located conveniently at tourist attractions and destinations in Venice.  The main tourist office is called the Venice Pavilion and is open from 10am to 6pm near the train station. At the Marco Polo Airport, there is also an info kiosk set up especially during erratic hours to help travelers find their way around both Venice and the rest of the Veneto region. To visit Venice’s famous museums and historical places, get yourself a copy of the LEO Bussola brochure which tells you the hours and events and the vaporetto lines and stops. Hotels in Venice also keep copies of the useful info-packed monthly called Un Ospite di Venezia that have all the information you need to have a safe, enjoyable trip.

Photo by sminky_pinky100 (Busy In & Out) on flickr

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