Venice has probably
inspired more writers and travelers through the
centuries than any other city in the world. Venice
is truly a unique destination with its abundance
of art treasures, historical buildings, 400 bridges
and 150 canals criss crossing the city.
The famous historical centre
(centro storico) of Venice is located in the
four kilometres from the mainland. It is divided
into 6 districts known as 'sestieri':
The municipal area of Venice also encompasses
the mainland areas of Mestre and Porto Marghera (connected
to the lagoon city by road and rail bridges) and
the islands of Burano, Cavallino, Lido, Malamocco,
Murano, San Michele and Torcello.
buildings overlook many small squares known as
campielli which are all linked by either the
network of narrow streets called calli, or by the
canals. The names of the streets and squares have
usually taken from an event
in the city’s history. The
street names are written on small white squares and placed on the outside
of the buildings. These plaques are known as "nizioleti" (tissues).
In autumn the tide often rises so
high that water flows over the banks of the canals,
flooding the city. Although a problem for the local
it is an exciting and unique experience for tourists. To see the Piazza
San Marco flooded by a still lake of water is a memorable souvenir
and one that has been captured several times
by famous photographers along with images of St Marks Square .
Venice's gondolas are one of the
most famous icons. This traditional Venetian boat
has a long history are still
made today in the Squero (boatyard) at San Trovaso by master craftsmen
using ancient techniques.
Venice has a long list
make it one of the most famous tourist cities
of the world. It is also famous for its traditional
crafts such as glass-blowing at Murano and lace making
Venice is also renown for its famous
- the artists Canaletto, Vittore
G. Battista, Tiepolo, Tintoretto
- the explorer
- the musician Antonio
- and the world famous lover
Just a few minutes from the historical
centre of Venice and well serviced
buses there are kilometres of open beaches.
Cavallino beach is just a few minutes away from Venice. It is the largest
beach resort in Europe offering with 15 kilometres
of beaches and many different
and holiday villages between
Venice's north lagoon and the Adriatic.
History of Venice
The history of Venice
can be dated back to the fifth and sixth centuries.
It is believed that the Venetian islands became inhabited
when the nearby mainland residences fled to the lagoon
to escape the
These people built rafts of various
sizes, supported by strong wooden poles. The rafts
were then connected to each other with wooden walkways
and houses, buildings
and monuments built on top of them.
Once the Venetian population had
grown to become large enough to become a
to the Byzantine Empire, although still
maintaining its own independence.
In 697, Venice's first Doge,
Paolo Lucio Anafesto,
Venice into an important trading centre for shipping in the Mediterranean
and the Orient. During the Crusades, Venice
expanded to include the Aegean islands, the
a part of Constantinople. The city eventually reached its peak in
the fifteenth century.
In 828 the body (minus
the head) of
St Mark the Evangelist was stolen from Alexandria
brought to Venice. Initially the body was buried in a small chapel
in the Doges
Palace, and later (1094) a church was built to house the remains.
This church, eventually evolved into St Mark’s
Basilica. St Marks body was returned
to Egypt in 1968. The Basilica is one of Venice's
and political decline
Republic of Venice began with the fall of Constantinople
and the discovery of America. Venice lost its independence
following the conquest of the area by Napoleon. In
1797 Venice was handed over to Austria with the signing
Treaty of Campoformio.
Following the Napoleonic period
(1805-14) and the events of the Risorgimento
uprising against the Austrians), Venice
was finally reunited with the Kingdom of Italy in
Places to visit
Basilica dei Frari
This basilica is famous for being Titians burial place as well as housing several
paintings by Titian, Donatello and Bellini.
Basilica dell Salute
In the 17th Century Venice was struck by plague. This Basilica was promised
by the faithful to end the plague. This beautiful church contains some
wonderful art pieces.
The island of Burano is world famous for its lace.
The island has a lace museum and wonderful lace
The Campanile is the tallest structure in Venice. From the top it offers a good
view of the Piazza, St. Mark's and the Doge's Palace.
Also known as Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace) it was Venice's centre of power
until the Venetian Republic ended in the 18th century. Construction began on
the palace in the 10th
century then it was rebuilt and finalised in the 14th century. In the 16th
century a fire destroyed many of the historic decorations.
The Guggenheim Museum includes the personal collection
of Guggenheim as well as European and American art
from the first half of the 20th century. The museum is located in Palazzo Venier
dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal, Peggy Guggenheim's former home.
This island is located just north of Venice and is famous for its
glass blowing and arts. The Museo del Vetro (the Glass Museum)
is well worth visiting if you are interested
Located in the Napoleon wing of the Piazza San Marco, the Museo Correr, contains
a large collection of Venetian art and artifacts from medieval and Renaissance
Piazza San Marco
The Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark's Square) is the
main meeting place in Venice. St. Mark’s Cathedral, the Doge’s
Palace, the Campanile, as well as several museums
are located in Piazza San Marco.
St. Mark's Basilica
Built to house the remains of St. Mark, one of the two patron
saints of Venice, the Saint's tomb is the focal point of the Cathedral
which is an example of both Byzantine and Romanesque architecture. The impressive
cathedral is accessed via large arched doorways
and four bronze horses. There are
various chapels as well as the Sanctuary, the Treasury
and the Museum. Pala d'Oro,
one of the worlds most precious altar
screens, is housed in the Basilica. The screen is covered in more than
3000 precious stones and enamel icons inlaid in gold.
The Bridge of Sighs
This bridge, connects the Palace to the Prison and supposedly got
its name from the sighs of the prisoners heading to prison.
The Grand Canal / Canalazzo
This 2 mile long famous waterway is lined
with impressive palaces. The canal winds through Venice connecting
major tourist attractions. It has only three bridges crossing it: the Accademia
Bridge, the Ponte dei Scalzi at the train
station and the Rialto
The Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)
Construction commenced in 1588 and was completed in 1591. The bridge is
surrounded by the commercial centre of Venice. Until 1854 it was the only
way to cross the Grand
until the Accademia Bridge was built.
Events & Festivals
La Biennale di Venezia
The Venice Biennale has been one of the most prestigious
cultural events in the world for over a century. It has promoted
new artistic trends since its foundation in 1895. Some of its
festivals include: International Film Festival, International Art
Exhibition, International Architecture Exhibition,
Music, Theatre and Dance.
Carnival of Venice
The Venice Carnival is famous around the world and dates back to 1094. It involving
the entire city with its combination of pageantry, folk
drama, feasting, street dancing, masquerades and parades. The major celebrations
are held towards the end of February.
This is an annual event and is one of the worlds most fascinating
for marathon enthusiasts. The course is run over 42.195km along
the banks of the
over the Liberty Bridge to Venice and through St. Marks Square to the finish
in the Rive dei Sette Martiri Square.
Food and wine
Venice offers a wide
range of venues to relax and enjoy a good coffee
or glass of wine along with fine dining. There are
elegant coffee shops in Piazza San Marco, or try
one of the Venetian “bacari” local
are historical venues such as the Caffè Florian,
which is situated under the portico of the new Procuratie
and is considered to be one of the icons of Venice. It opened in
1720, and has played host to many famous
guests such as Lord Byron, Foscolo,
Dickens, Proust, D’Annunzio and Eleonora
Duse, Rousseau, Stravinsky, Modiglioni.
Cipriani opened Harry’s
Bar in a small warehouse, near Piazza San Marco.
It soon became one of the most famous restaurants
in the world and has been a famous location for many
and politicians and monarchs.
The “bacari” are
typical Venetian wine bars. They have wooden
tables and benches
and offer “cicchetti” (a local form of
In the Fondamenta della Misericordia
you will find ethnic restaurants,
night clubs such as “Paradiso Perduto”.
secret to discovering the romance and beauty
of Venice is to walk.
At first Venice may appear to be a
labyrinth of canals and lanes but it is really quite
easy to get around.
water buses and motor-boats move people quickly
around Venice via the canals and they provide
passengers a wonderful view of the historical buildings
that stand alongside
the Canals. An interesting way to
Grand Canal from one side to the other is by using the gondola ferry.
It is cheap and very picturesque. These ferries can
at various points on the
There are numerous flights daily arriving at Marco Polo Airport. From the airport
you can access Venice's historical centre in the following ways:
Car taxis: it takes 15 minutes to get
to Piazzale Roma
Private Water taxis: this takes approximately
Bus ATVO: a direct connection from
the airport to Piazzale Roma and takes
about 20 minutes. Buses leave every half an hour.
Bus ACTV: this is a public transport
bus (Line 5) connecting the airport to Piazzale
and takes approximately half an hour.
Public ACTV water taxi service:
It links the airport to some of the most important
areas of Venice.
It is easy to reach Venice by car using the following motorway and road connections:
A4 from Trieste and from Turin,
A27 from Belluno,
A13 from Bologna,
Romea from the Adriatic Coast,
SS.14 from Trieste,
SS.11 from Padua.
Venice's Train Station is Santa Lucia. You can get to Santa Lucia using Eurostar
trains, Intercities and Interregional and
trains. From the station it is easy to reach the city centre by walking
down the Strada Nuova or by taking the water bus from one of the jetties
that are opposite the station.
From the port it is easy to reach the very heart
of Venice, Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square), using the Alilaguna
has a wide range of accommodation from 5 star to
backpackers including hotels and romantic
bed and breakfasts.
available from the Venice Tourist Board
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