Venice is a uniquely beautiful city located in northern Italy and has been described as one of Europe’s most romantic cities. Venice is the world’s only pedestrian city and Europe’s largest urban car-free area. Comprised of 121 islets linked by 435 bridges and close to 180 canals, the buildings of this truly remarkable a city are constructed on wood piles. The submerged wood is deprived of oxygen resulting in a petrified, almost stone-like, wooden foundation for this truly remarkable city.
Known as one of the world’s greatest cities for art and music, Venice is among the world’s most visited tourist destinations. Averaging 50,000 tourists per day, Venice boasts a glorious cityscape, rich and diverse architecture, and rich musical and artistic cultural heritage. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music and is known for a number of important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. It is a significant fashion center and major center for international conferences as well as many exciting festivals including the Venice Biennale and the Venice Film Festival.
Popular attractions include St. Mark’s Basilica, the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. Featuring Byzantine architecture, opulent design and gilded Byzantine mosaics, this stunning cathedral has been nicknamed the “Church of Gold.” The Grand Canal is one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city lined with more than 170 buildings dating from the 13th to 18th centuries. The Piazza San Marco is the beautiful and bustling principal square in Venice, dominated by the St. Mark Basilica, Clock Tower, and Doge Palace. The Lido di Venezia is an 11 km sand bar that is home to the beach district and the Venice Film Festival that takes place every September. The Doge Palace is treasure to explore with gorgeous scenery, beautiful art, an armory room filled with every conceivable weapon, and a prison to spark the imagination. Other must-sees include the Rialto market, a shopper’s haven, and the Rialto Bridge, one of Venice’s most famed landmarks. Venice is also home to an innumerable array of museums and one cannot leave without experiencing a Murano glass-making tour.
A huge range of seafood characterizes Venetian cuisine. Specialties include polenta, made with cornmeal and risotto, particularly in a cuttlefish ink sauce. Cuttlefish and its ink is a trademark food in Venice.
Transportation generally occurs on foot or via water. The most common forms of transport are the famed gondola, the sandola, a flat-bottomed rowing boat that is smaller and lighter than the gondola, the waterbus (public transport), and the water taxi. Be sure to explore the maze of alleyways that make up the special city of Venice. A helpful tip is to always carry a map and, when out at night, carry a small flashlight to illuminate some of the darker back alleys. For an authentic Venice experience, one must travel on foot to discover the hundreds of treasures tucked along the byways of this one of a kind city.