Venice, Italy is a city frozen in a historical era where music, romance and art were of the highest value. Take a step back in time to a city floating on top the Adriatic sea, where the modern day world is but a myth and immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder that is Venice. Venice is truly a unique city as it is a city of marble built on top a series of waterways known as canals. There are no cars, buses or trains and all the transportation takes place through the use of boats, water taxis and the famous gondolas. If you really want to experience Venice, then get lost in the city. Wander the streets and find yourself immersed in a city of unbelievable beauty. Find the little markets that sell fresh fish or listen to the music coming from the theatre or just find a relaxing spot at night and look up at the stars. There is no place in the world that compares, and no place in the world you can really feel like you are back in time in a world long forgotten.
Sights to see
The most popular spot in Venice, and the most famous, is the Piazza de San Marco. This charming square is host to the cathedral known as St. Marks. St. Marks is the most famous cathedral in Venice and is best known for its Byzantine architecture. Also in the square are many shops and restaurants selling Venetian masks and the famous Murano glass.
A sight you can’t miss even if you try is the Grand Canal of Venice. Known as the “most beautiful street in the world” this majestic highway is made purely of the salty Adriatic sea water. Start your venice trip off by taking a vaporetto, a water bus or water taxi, from the Venice station all the way down the San Marco’s. Just sit, relax and take in the sights before diving head in.
As you travel on the vaporetto, you’ll pass under one of Venice’s most famous and oldest bridges known as the Rialto bridge. Make sure to get off and take a picture of the canal from this bridge as it is one of the most beautiful spots to do so, especially at night when the lights shine and reflect off the water.
Last but not least, never ever miss the chance to take a ride on the famous gondola’s. You can do this at any time but it is recommended to take the trip at night when the city is a glow. Listen to the stories of your gondolier and let him guide you to discover the Venice the locals know. If you time it right have the gondolier take you under the Bridge of sighs. There is a legend that says if lovers kiss under the bridge at sunset their love with last for eternity.
Since Venice is located on the sea, many of the best dishes are made with seafood.
Baccala Mantecato is the most famous garlic fish entree made out of cod. It is can be used as a appetizer spread with bread, carrots or as a main dish.
Polenta is a favorite of italians everywhere. Used to be known as the poor folk dish, it now is served in even the finest gourmet restaurants. Polenta is a dish made of cornmeal and in Venice it is prepared with black squid ink.
Bigoli is the city of Venice’s contribution to the pasta world. It is similar to spaghetti but made with whole wheat and a little thicker.
The Gnocchi arose from the festivities of the carnival of Venice. It is made from potatoes, flour and eggs and is usually served with melted butter or cheese.
Last but not least the Bellini, the famous cocktail was created right in Harry’s Bar. Similar to the mimosa, the bellini is made with prosecco, a sparkling light wine, with peach juice.
Carnival of Venice
The Carnival of Venice originated in the year 1162 as a celebration of a battle victory. People began dancing in St. Mark’s square to celebrate which started the official festival. The masks you see worn became tradition and were only used during the festival which in the past lasted up to two months. The masks were used to hide one’s identity, let you be someone different or let you forget the troubles of your life. Today the festivities start two weeks before ash Wednesday and end on shrove Tuesday. There are many different styles of masks and mask maskers held a huge position in society. You can purchase a mask of your own in St. Marks. There are many beautiful options and can range in price from very cheap to very expensive depending on the style and materials used.
Day trips from Venice
Murano Island (Glass Island)
One of the many beautiful day trips from Venice includes the island of Murano. You can get to Murano by taking a vaporetto to the island. The island is actually a series of 7 islands all connected together with bridges. It is also the place where the famous murano glass originated. Known for its colorful and unique designs you can witness glassmakers at work or purchase your very own. Also on the island is the glass museum where you can learn about the history of murano glass.
If you get on the vaporetto and stay on it to the very end of the line you will come to the charming island of Lido. It’s a nice relaxing island with a beautiful beach and great parks and scenery. You can rent a bike and go for a ride to the beach and spend the day relaxing in the sun. It can be a great break from all the museums and walking.