Venice the “city of canals”, is the capital of the region of Veneto and of the province of Venice.
The city stretches across numerous small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy.
The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po (south) and the Piave (north) Rivers.
Venice is famous for its canals. It is built on an archipelago of more than 100 islands in a shallow lagoon. In the old center, the canals serve the function of roads, and every form of transport is on water or on foot.
The classical Venetian boat is the gondola, although it is now mostly used for tourists, or for weddings, funerals, or other ceremonies, due to its cost. Most Venetians now travel by motorised waterbuses (“vaporetti”) which ply regular routes along the major canals and between the city’s islands. The city also has many private boats. The only unmotorized gondolas still in common use by Venetians are the traghetti, foot passenger ferries crossing the Grand Canal at certain points without bridges.
Venice is built on one hundred and seventeen small islands, and holds one hundred and fifty canals, connected by an amazing four hundred and nine bridges, of which only three cross the main canal. Although the city appears small, it is really quite extensive for its size. Venice is the place to get hopelessly lost. Venice isn’t all cities and crowded streets: through the mysterious alleyways leading off from the city, endless mazes of backstreets and deserted squares, the ‘real’ Venice. And a perfect place to walk for hours on end and get lost.
Architecture. Architecture and Architecture.
The attractions of Venice include many remarkable structures; such as an impressive array of bronze work, tapestries and paintings from the 5 th to 6 th century, as well as a whole handful of amazing buildings and galleries showcasing the artistic side of Venice.
There is much to much take in on your first visit to Venice and a boat tour along the Grand Canal is a very revealing introduction to discover what this celebrated city has to offer.
Bisilica di San Marco – (St Mark’s Basilica) situated on St Mark’s Square. One of Europe’s most unusual churches the interior boasts many of Venice’s treasures including a golden mosaic and the Pala d’Oro a golden screen behind the altar, which is decked with jewels.
Palazzo Reale – (Royal Palace), a merging of Islamic and Gothic styles and residence of the Doges of Venice since the ninth century.
Rialto Bridge, covered with many vendors, tourist shops and goldsmiths this was the setting for Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Until the mid-nineteenth century it was the only point to cross the Grand Canal by foot, and now still offers the best views of the canal.
Accademia – Venice’s most important art gallery, located in a former church.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection – The most eminent modern art collection in Italy. Here you will see a variety of artists including Picasso, Pollock and Dali as well as a wonderful sculpture garden with views over the Grand Canal.
Apart from the tourist center there are a further thirty or so islands in the lagoon to explore including Burano and Torcello as well as Murano where you may observe the world-famous glass blowers at work and can purchase their magnificent glass products.
How to get there
BY AIR ;
Most visitors to Venice land at Marco Polo airport, 12 km from Venice .
From there, you take an ACTV bus nr. 5 to the city centre, which leaves every 30 minutes. Other, more expensive, options are the ATVO buses or waterbuses.
If you are arriving by car, which is not advisable, you can park either at the Piazzale Roma car park or on Tronchetto (an artificial island).
Taxis – the regular four-wheeled variety – do operate from Piazzale Roma
When you enter by train, you will arrive at the Santa Lucia train station. From there, it is fairly easy to take a water taxi to many of the Venice hotels.
Regular buses run from one place to another, but it’s probably the least exciting way to get around the city.
It’s nearly always the festive season in Venice , although the city is particularly busy in the flourishing months of spring, especially surrounding Easter. Mingle with the rich and famous.
Film Festival of Venice – Yearly film festival held in summer.
Carnival – At the end of February, beginning of March, the traditional Venetian Carnival takes place. Dressed up in historical costumes, wearing intriguing black masks and aristocratic capes.
Eating Dining Shopping
The sea surrounds Venice, and so, too, Venetian cuisine, which can be disappointing unless cuttlefish and sardines are what you’re after. You don’t order pasta in Venice, you order lots of noodles with a dab of sauce. Cichetti (chee-keht-tee) are small portions of food served in bars all over the city, usually with an ombra, which is a small glass of wine. When you go out for cichetti , you will eat standing up, hopefully in a crowded room. Mosey up to the bar, where all the cichetti will be displayed before you. A typical cichetto (this is the singular) might be a square of mortadella on a toothpick, or a rice stuffed tomato, or a ball of rice stuffed with an olive and deep fried.
The islands of the Venetian lagoon were first settled during the barbarian invasions of the 5th and 6th centuries AD, when the people of the Veneto mainland sought refuge in the marshy region. The refugees built the now-famous watery villages on rafts of wooden posts driven into the soil, laying the foundations for the floating palaces of today.
Venice became the first and the biggest trading power in the world. That is, the world before the great expeditions during the fifteenth and the sixteenth century. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese arrived in the Indies and the Venetians had to face the loss of their monopoly of spices. However, art flourished as never before. At the same time that Venice had to face the end of its trading status, it reached its artistic pinnacle, both in architecture and painting.
The Venetians decided to maintain the ‘chaotic’ form of the city. Until the Renaissance, Venice gained its own distinctive character by colouring the city with marble, red brick and using all sorts of architectural elements the Venetians imported and adjusted from elsewhere in Italy or collected during travels abroad. Gothic and Roman-Byzantium architecture gave way to the Renaissance and its most important architect, Jacopo Sansovino, halfway during the fifteenth century. He and his pupils put their mark on the city before the Renaissance was overwhelmed by the exuberant style of the Baroque.
In 1866, Venice became part of the kingdom of Italy. Twentieth century Venice mainly exists,because of its visitors and their presence at the yearly local and international events, such as the ‘Film-festival of Venice’ and the ‘Mostra Biennale Internazionale d’Arta Moderna’, the latter offering an overview of modern painting and sculpture. If you haven’t been to Venice you haven’t lived!
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number (police Tel 041 – 271 5511) (Hospital Tel 041 – 523 0000)
Airport Information tel; 041 2609260
Train station: (Santa Lucia railway station) Tel: 041-5242303
Tourist Office: 041 5298711
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line
24 hour medical service