A Guide to Venice

Venice is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world and one of the world’s greatest and most beautiful cities of art. Also renowned for the beauty of its setting Venice is a unique city made up of 121 islets linked by 435 bridges. Contrary to what you might first think, getting around is not very difficult as most of the monuments and sites can be reached by public transport. Of course a trip to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a ride on the city’s classical Venetian boat the gondola. Although nowadays gondolas are mainly used only by tourists they are the perfect way to view the city from the water.

There is a magical and romantic atmosphere in Venice which is greatly added to by the absence of car traffic in the city.

Venice is a fashionable city and popular amongst the rich and famous. Celebrities flock to the city to take part in events like the Venice International Film Festival, organized by the Biennale di Venezia,  which promotes all aspects of international cinema.

Another event that attracts large crowds of visitors each year is the Venice Carnival. Thousands of tourists come to Venice to take part in it’s magnificent carnival and show off elaborate costumes. The carnival lasts for a month with shows, balls, plays and concerts organized all over the city.

The main tourist attractions in the city

St. Marks Basilica

A colossal structure with five great arches supporting five enormous domes, the church of St. Mark is undoubtedly one of the mightiest Venetian monuments. It’s the mosaics that steal the show though covering over 8,000 square metres. The church also houses a wide variety of precious treasures brought to the city from conquests in the Holy Land.

A golden statue of Archangel Gabriel  hangs on top of the 97 metres high bell tower in front of the basilica.

Doge’s Palace

Probably the city’s most famous building, Doge’s Palace has played three fundamental roles for centuries. The Doge residence, the seat of the Government and the palace of justice.

Full of beautiful rooms with stunning decorations, Doge’s Palace is well worth exploring. Notable rooms are the Grand Council Chamber, the Senate Hall, the hall of the Council of Ten, the Hall of the Compass, Hall of the Inquisitors and the voting hall.

The scala dei giganti can be found in the courtyard with its two giant statues of Mars and Neptune or venture inside to see the scala d’oro, a beautiful golden staircase leading to the doge’s apartment.

Doge’s Palace is also home to the prisons, the Chamber of Torment and Giacomo Casanova’s cell.

Bridges

The Rialto Bridge is the most famous of the bridges that cross the grand Canal and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city.

Other notable bridges are the Ponte dei sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), Ponte dell’Accademia (The Academy Bridge) and the newest addition to the Venice landscape the Ponte della Constituzione (more commonly known as Calatrava Bridge after the Spanish architect that designed it). The last of which caused some controversy given its modern appearance and elevated cost.

Venice is home to a vast amount of art and museums too so make sure you set aside enough time to take in all the treasures that this unique city has to offer.

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