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About city Gallery Where to stay

Venice is truly one of a kind. Everyone must at least once in their lifetime visit this marvel, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is a perfect example of European history, architecture, engineering and aesthetics, as well as human ingenuity and the capability to adapt to all possible conditions.

This city in Northern Italy comprises 120 islands that are separated by canals and connected by around 400 bridges of different sizes. It is home to 120,000 and it is visited by 3 million tourists annually.

Panorama of Venice
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Panorama of Venice

Historians claim that the founding of the city is related to the fall of the Roman Empire and the Hun invasion, during which mainland (contemporary Veneto region) dwellers sought shelter on the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. The city’s Golden Age began when Venice fell under the protection of the Byzantine Empire. Venice formed a large fleet and covered the seas with a powerful trade network, thus becoming Europe’s economic centre.

Merchants of this port town not only dared to steal the remains of the Venetian patron saint, St. Mark the Evangelist, from Alexandria, but also eventually put a stop to Byzantine rule. The waning Eastern Roman Empire was completely destroyed when Venice occupied Constantinople.

Eventually Venetian dominance over the Mediterranean ended, and the glorious city-state became its own shadow in politics, but not in culture, art, literature, and nowadays – tourism. Tourists from all around the world are attracted to the city by its architectural marvels, ornaments, towers, bridges, Venetian lace, the Venice Biennale and the Venice Film Festival.

Lots of tourists at the Rialto market in Venice
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Lots of tourists at the Rialto market in Venice

When in Venice, we recommend you spend a couple of days not on one of the outer islands, or the mainland, but at the city centre. Scare pigeons in the central St. Mark’s Square (but don’t feed them, because you might get a fine), ride the legendary gondola or the cheaper vaporetto (waterbus), and experience the city’s genuine charm.

You must also certainly visit the Doge’s palace, from where you can enter the prison – from which Casanova once escaped – after crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs. Enjoy the mosaics of the St. Mark’s Basilica and the view of the lagoon from the church tower. Cross another Venetian landmark, the Rialto Bridge, which connects the two shores of the Grand Canal. Wander in the Venetian Ghetto. Buy fruits and vegetables in the Rialto market. Be sure to pay a visit to the Murano Island, where glass is blown, or the Burano Island known for its small, brightly painted houses.

After visiting all the main landmarks, simply separate from the tourist flow, hide your map and get lost in the streets of the city. Aimlessly wander in the non-touristy districts, kick around through the narrow streets, and find yourself in tranquil squares. To find your way back to the bustle of the city simply ask a passer-by how to get to St. Mark’s Square or the Rialto Bridge.

Rialto market in Venice
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Rialto market in Venice

In this tourist-packed city you will, however, have to deal with high prices and crowds. The days of the Venetian Carnival are especially wallet-thinning, albeit amazing. You will have to look out for pickpockets all the time and ignore the fact that service workers tired of foreigners won’t be very friendly.

In this port town you should always be ready for a possible flood. The canals might reek of seaweed, the narrow streets will oftentimes lead you to a dead end, so you will have to wander around with your suitcases.

However, all of Venice’s drawbacks can turn into advantages. If you are in Venice, it means that luck is on your side.

Where to stay

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