Located at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, Venice is a city mired in history and endowed with a unique charm. From the romantic streets and labyrinth of canals to exquisite glassware and Gothic churches, a vacation to Venice can be a dream come true! The city of Venice is divided into 6 quarters (sestieri) on account of its waterways.
Hop aboard a motorboat bus (vaporetti) and explore the charms of this ancient city. Take a leisurely ride in a gondola and take in the romance of the place. Sample delicious Venetian cuisine and watch artisans fashion exquisite articles out of Murano glass.
The Rialto is the bustling market place of Venice, abuzz with tourists and merchants alike. Venice is usually swarming with tourists in spring, from Easter to June. But you can plan a vacation to Venice around late March - May. Venice is easily reached by road or rail networks from the rest of Italy. The main train station of Venice is Santa Lucia. Marco Polo Airport near Mestre is the one closest to Venice.
Holiday in Venice
Walking is probably the best way to catch the sights and sounds of Venice. It gives you an opportunity to experience this romantic city. Arm yourself with a good map...and you should be raring to go! The Grand Canal is the main street of Venice and it twists and meanders along the length of Venice. The Ghetto Nuovo is an area where the Venetian Jews were confined. The Carnival in Venice is a popular event and goes for about 10 days leading up to Lent.
You can watch the Regatta Storica - a procession of richly decorated gondolas. Take a gondola ride on Venice's famous boat, one that is easy to maneuver by one person with just one oar. But beware of overpriced rates during tourist seasons. Torcello is famous for the magnificent Byzantine Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta. Burano is well-known for exquisite lace making.
Shopping in Venice
Shopping at the various by lanes and stores of Venice can be quite an experience. You can pick up carnival masks, artistically crafted glass and marbled paper. Masks are made in terracotta or pottery. You can pick up bracelets, pendants or rings made of gaily colored glass. Of special mention is la murrina - a round glass pendant with floral patterns hug on a slim gold chain.
The glass blowers of Murano make exquisite Venini lamps and ashtrays and small colored animals. Porcelain dolls are also popular shopping items in Venice. You can pick up luxury goods from big fashion houses at Mercerie and Frezerria. No vacation to Venice is complete without sampling some of the cuisine such as polenta and risotto with cuttlefish ink sauce.
Try 'nella seppia' or 'alla seppia'. Enjoy the Venetian hors d'oevres (chicchetti) with a glass of wine at a local pub. Choose from tiny octopus (moscardini) to fried crab claws, meat balls or sardine in saor. Pick up some zaeti, Venetian biscuits made with polenta flour and raisins.
Architectural splendor at Venice
Explore the architectural splendor of the Renaissance buildings in Venice. Do not miss the fine art collection at the Gallerie dell'Academia. It is home to Carpaccio's Crucifixion and Apotheosis, Giorgione's Tempest, Paolo Veneziano's Coronation of Mary and Giovanni Bellini's Madonna with Child. The Basilica of San Marco houses the relics of St. Mark.
The Basilica has a beautiful façade of marble and mosaic. No Venice vacation is complete without a walk down St. Mark's Square, from where you can take a glimpse at the facade of the Basilica. The Doges' Palace was the residence of the Doges of Venice. Visit the 'House of Gold' (Ca d'Ora) - an excellent example of Gothic construction.
Rise in lagoon water level (Acqua Alta) is a phenomenon that occurs in Venice. Flood sirens are sounded to warn residents and tourists. This is mostly due to the rapid development of the mainland side of the lagoon that has led to industries pumping water out of the aquifer under the city.