When you go to Italy you should definitely pay a visit to that grand old lady, Venice. It’s one visit which you would never regret and cherish forever. Venice spreads over the inland water bodies of Italy like a beautiful mermaid enticing and charming all those who have had luck to fall under her spell.
Venice is the only pedestrian city in the world. The first thing that you would notice when you land here is the total absence of cars. Yes, if you wish to truly experience Venice, the best way to do it is on foot. You can either do it with help of licensed tourist guides, or you can just follow the crowd of tourists who are everywhere.
Another way to move around the city is by using the public water transports or the vaporettis and water taxis, or you can explore taking a gondola ride which is definitely not the cheapest (80 Euro for an 1-hour tour) but definitely the most romantic way. Now let’s travel across the heart of Venice to enjoy the many tourist fares that she has to offer us.
The Canal Grande
The Grand Canal (or the Canal Grande in Italian) is the largest canal in the city spreading out for a length of 3.8 kilometers. The Grand Canal is the most beautiful of Venetian streets. It is the best means to see some of the most spectacular and amazing architectural marvels of the city. As you cruise down the canal, you get to see the breathtaking facades of the Basilica de Santa Maria Della Salute, the Accademia Gallery, the Corner-Spinelli and Grimnai palaces and the Ca’d’Oro and the Grassi.
The Grand Canal is crossed by three bridges – three architectural beauties – the Accademia, Rialto and the Scalzi Rialto and is flanked by double rows of shops that is the delight for any visitor.
And one thing that you should never miss on a visit to Venice – a gondola ride through the Grand Canal on a moon lit night. There is nothing more romantic than a slow cruise through the silver splendor of the Grand Canal when you are being serenaded by the gondola rider. This is one experience that you would never want to forgo.
The Piazza San Marco
The grandest square in Venice is Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). It’s said that if you sit in one of the wayside cafes of Piazza San Marco, you can see the whole world pass by. The square is a perpetual mass of moving human bodies and flying pigeons (you can’t leave the piazza without feeding pigeons; it is almost like a ritual for every single tourist who visits Venice). Piazza San Marco is dominated by two of the most famous attractions of Venice, the Basilica San Marco and the Doge’s Palace. The Basilica is a beautiful and statuesque construction that houses the Tomb of Saint Mark (San Marco). It is a unique architectural combination of Byzantine, Romanesque and Arabesque styles that accounts for its attraction.
Venice is resplendent with churches that, in addition to being sacred are also architectural marvels. So, let’s take a quick detour to visit them.
Basilica de Santa Maira Gloriosa Dei Frari
This monumental church built in gothic style is not just a place of worship but is also an exquisite paradise for art lovers with its countless works of art which includes the altarpiece of Assumption that has been designed by the famous Titian and a wooden statue sculpted by the inimitable Donatello.
Basilica de Santa Maria Della Salute
The Basilica de Santa Maria Della Salute (St. Mary of Salvation) is one of the most famous landmarks of Venice. The enormous white dome of the basilica dominates the skyline from the Grand Canal. The church has been constructed in the octagonal shape and has been built partly using marmarino, a brick that is covered with marble dust. This makes the water reflect on the bright surface and is a sight to behold at night.
The Island of Murano
Murano ‑ the island of glass. A visit to Venice is incomplete without a water ride to this island which is the home to Venice’s glass blowing industry. The shops which are open round the year can be a budget shopper’s nightmare, but bargaining is the norm here. So don’t hesitate to try out your skills in Italian.
This bewitching mermaid of Italy would entice you with the exceptional fares that she has laid for your enjoyment. So do visit Venice and come back with memories worth of a lifetime.