Venice is still one of the most interesting and lovely places in the world. This sanctuary on
a lagoon is virtually the same as it was five hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Venice has certainly begun to decay since its heyday and is heavily touristed (there are slightly more tourists than residents)-- but the romantic charm remains.
The city stretches across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the
Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline
between the mouths of the Po (south) and the Piave (north) Rivers. The population
estimate of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia;
around 62,000 in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico); 176,000 in Terraferma (the
Mainland), mostly in the large frazione of Mestre and Marghera; and 31,000 live on other
islands in the lagoon.
The Venetian Republic was a major maritime power and a staging area for the Fourth
Crusade, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain and spice
trade) and art in the Renaissance and up to the end of the 17th century.
While there are no historical records that deal directly with the origins of Venice, the
available evidence has led several historians to agree that the original population of
Venice comprised refugees from Roman cities such as Padua, Aquileia, Altino and
Concordia (modern Portogruaro) who were fleeing successive waves of Germanic
Starting in 166-168, the Quadi and Marcomanni destroyed the main center in the area, the
current Oderzo. The Roman defenses were again overthrown in the early 5th century by
the Visigoths and, some 50 years later, by the Huns led by Attila. The last and most
enduring was that of the Lombards in 568. This left the Eastern Roman Empire; a small
strip of coast in current Veneto, and the main administrative and religious entities, were
therefore transferred to this remaining dominion. New ports were built, including those at
Malamocco and Torcello in the Venetian lagoon.
Accommodation is not an issue in Venice. There are plenty of hotels available in all budgets for the travelers. Hotels with the views of Grand Canal are most preferred by the tourists. There are plenty of Venice apartments for rent that are great alternative to traditional accommodation and ideal for short term stays in the city for tourists. You will feel like home in fully furnished apartments available for rent in Venice.
PLACE TO VISIT
Saint Mark's Basilica - is located on Piazza San Marcoand is one of the highlights
of a visit to Venice. As with most churches in Italy, you must be dressed appropriately to
be allowed in; this means no short skirts or bare shoulders. You are not allowed to carry
large bags or rucksacks inside. You must deposit them just round the corner from the
main entrance. Filming and photography is forbidden so be prepared in advance. The
visit within the basilica last ten minutes. Waiting for entry into the basilica can last upto
five or so hours and it may be wise to use alata.it to reserve your visit. Reserving is free of
charge. Once you have a reservation you can take the group entrance on the left, where
you give in the printout of your reservation. Admission to the basilica is free, however, the
museum upstairs costs €3 and other alter treasury €2..
San Giovanni e Paolo - a fine, huge Dominican church with the tombs of many
Doges. It shares its piazza with the fine Renaissance facade of the Scuola San Marco
and an equestrian statue of the mercenary (condottiere) captain Colleone. Look out for
the testicles (coglioni in Italian - it's a lousy pun) on his coat of arms
Campo di San Polo - is the largest campo in Venice after that of Piazza San Marco.
Originally dedicated to grazing and agriculture, in 1493 it was entirely paved, a well (one
of the few fountains to be found in Venice) being placed in the middle. It was
subsequently used as the scene of many a bullfight, mass sermons and masked balls.
After the 17th century the poor's market was moved here from Piazza San Marco. It
remains to this day one of the most popular carnival venues and is also used for open air
concerts and screenings during the film festival.
Doge's Palace - is a gothic palace in Venice. In Italian it is called the Palazzo Ducale
di Venezia. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice.
Its two most visible facades look towards the Venetian Lagoon and St Mark's Square, or
rather the Piazzetta. The use of arcading in the lower stories produces an interesting
Palazzo Grassi - is an imposing white marble palace on the Grand Canal of
Venice. Designed by Giorgio Massari, the building was completed between 1748-1772
for the wealthy Bolognese Grassi family. The latecomer among the Canal palaces, it has an academic classicism that is out of touch with the surrounding Byzantine Romanesque and Baroque Venetian palazzos. It has a formal palace façade, lacking the lower mercantile openings.
Ca' d'Oro - is regarded as one of the most beautiful palazzos on the Grand Canal in
Venice. One of the older palazzos, it has always been known as Ca' d'Oro (golden house)
due to the gilt and polychrome external decorations which once adorned its walls.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection - is a small museum on the Grand Canal in
Venice, Italy. It is one of several museums of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
Containing prinicipally the personal art collection of Peggy Guggenheim (1898–1979), a
former wife of artist Max Ernst and a niece of mining magnate Solomon R. Guggenheim,
this museum houses a somewhat smaller and more idiosyncratic collection than the
other Guggenheim Foundation museums.
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo - is a small palace in Venice, best known for the
external spiral staircase with a plethora of arches, known as the Scala Contarini del
Bovolo (of the snail). The palace dates from the 15th century and is apparently in poor
state of restoration, while the staircase leads to an arcade provides a charming
panoramic vista over some of the roof-tops of the city. The palace is located in a less-
traveled side-street near the Campo Manin, near the Rialto.
Fondaco dei Turchi - is a 13th century palazzo on the Grand Canal of Venice. The
palace was constructed in the first half of the 13th century by Giacomo Palmier, an exile
from Pesaro. The Venetian Republic purchased it in 1381 for Niccolò II d'Este, the
Marquess of Ferrara. During its early history, the palazzo also served as a home to many
Palazzo Labia - is a baroque palace in Venice, Italy. Built at the beginning of the
18th century, it is one of the last great palazzi of Venice. Little known outside of Italy, it is
most notable for the remarkable frescoed ballroom painted between (1746-47) by
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, with decorative works in trompe l'oeil by Gerolamo Mengozzi-
Scuola Grande di San Marco - is a building in Venice, Italy. It originally was the
home to one of the six major sodalities or Scuole Grandi of Venice. It faces the Campo
San Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest squares in the city.
The edifice was built by the Confraternity of San Marco in 1260 to act as its seat. In 1485,
however, it was destroyed by a large fire, and rebuilt in the following twenty years under a
new design by Pietro Lombardo, with a fund established by the members. The façade, a
masterwork with delicately decorated niches and pilasters, and with white or polychrome
marble statues, was later completed by Mauro Codussi. While decorated with the
polished marble elements of Renaissance classicism, the proliferation of arches and
niches adds a retrogressive Byzantine flavor, an architectural feature of many
conservative Venetian styles.
Palazzo Malipiero - is a palace in Venice, Italy. It is located on the Grand Canal in
the central San Samuele square. It stands just across from Palazzo Grassi Exhibition
Center. It is situated at the crossroads of the city's cultural and artistic areas. The
splendid Italian-style garden with a view on the Grand Canal makes it even more
St Mark's Basilica - the cathedral of Venice, is the most famous of the city's
churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. It lies on St
Mark's Square (in San Marco sestiere), adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace.
Since 1807 it is the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Venice. For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status
as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power from the 11th century on, the building was
known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro ("church of gold").
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute - commonly known simply as the
Salute, is a famous church in Venice, placed scenically at a narrow finger of land which
lies between the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco on the lagoon, visible as one
enters the Piazza San Marco from the water. While it has the status of a minor basilica, its
decorative and distinctive profile and location make it among the most photographed
churches in Italy.
Accademia - is best known now as a museum gallery of pre-1800s art in Venice,
Italy. Situated on the south bank of the Grand Canal, it gives its name to one of the three
bridges across the canal, the Ponte dell'Accademia, and to the boat landing station for
the vaporetto water bus.
Venetian Arsenal - is a shipyard and naval depot that played a leading role in
Venetian empire-building. It was one of the most important areas of Venice, lying in the
Castello sestiere. The Byzantine-style establishment may have existed as early as the 8th
century, though the present structure is usually said to have been begun in 1104,
although there is no evidence for such a precise date.
Teatro La Fenice - is an opera house in Venice, Italy. It is one of the most famous
theatres in Europe, the site of many famous operatic premieres. Its name reflects its role
in permitting an opera company to "rise from the ashes" despite losing the use of two
theatres (to fire and legal problems respectively). Since opening and being named La
Fenice, it has twice burned and been rebuilt.
St Mark's Clock - is the clock housed in the St Mark's Clocktower, on St Mark's
Square in Venice, adjoining the Procuratie Vecchie. The first clock housed in the tower
was built and installed by Gian Paulo and Gian Carlo Rainieri, father and son, between
1496 and 1499, and was one of a number of large public astronomical clocks erected
throughout Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. The clock has had an eventful
horological history, and been the subject of many restorations, some controversial.
Rialto Bridge - is one of the three bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.
It is the oldest bridge across the canal and probably the most famous in the city.
The first dry crossing of the Grand Canal was a pontoon bridge built in 1181 by Nicolò
Barattieri. It was called the Ponte della Moneta, presumably because of the mint that
stood near its eastern entrance.
The Ponte degli Scalzi - literally, "bridge of the barefoot", is one of only three
bridges in Venice to span the Grand Canal. The bridge connects the sestieri of Santa
Croce and Cannaregio. On the north side, Cannaregio, are the Chiesa degli Scalzi
(church of the barefoot) and the Santa Lucia (Ferrovia) railway station. The south side,
Santa Croce, is close to the bus station Piazzale Roma.
HOW TO REACH
By plane - The closest airport is Marco Polo(ICAO: LIPZ, IATA: VCE), on the mainland
near Mestre (a more typical Italian city, without Venice's unique structure). The Treviso
Airport (ICAO: LIPH), located 25 km (16 mi) from Venice, is relatively smaller but
becoming increasingly busy as the main destination for Ryanair and Transavia budget
By train - Trains from the mainland run through Mestre to the Venezia - Santa Lucia
train station on the west side of Venice (make sure you don't get confused with Venezia
Mestre which is the last stop on the mainland!). From the station district, water buses
(vaporetti) or water taxis can take you to hotels or other locations on the islands (or you
can walk). Direct trains to Venice are available from many international destinations,
including Budapest, Zagreb & Ljubljana.
By car - Cars arrive on the far western edge of Venice, but remain parked at the
entrance to the city (Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto - Europe's largest car park.) There are
no roads past this point -- and never were, even before cars. Car parking is expensive
here and the tailbacks can be quite large. An alternative is to use the car parks on the
mainland (terra firma) and catch a vaporetto, train or bus into Venice. Park near the
Mestre railway station, and catch a train to Venezia S.Lucia; there are many trains, it is
very near (8-10 minutes) and quite cheap. Besides, Venezia S.Lucia is a good starting
point to visit Venice. However drivers going to the Lido can use the car ferry from
Tronchetto (vaporetto 17 - frequencies vary), right hand lane off the Ponte della Liberta
into the city.
By bus - There is a direct bus between Marco Polo airport and the Piazzale Roma, on
the west bank of Venice. Starts twice an hour, takes 20 minutes and costs €3. The
Piazzale Roma bus station is well served by vaporetti and water-taxis ... and of course,
you can walk everywhere. If you leave the car in Mestre, you can take a bus to Venezia-
Piazzale Roma, the ticket cost 1€ but if you buy it in the bus it will cost 1,5€. All the city is
connected to Venice by bus.
By boat - Ships arrive at the Stazione Marittima which is at the west end of the main
islands, it is served by vaporetti and water taxis.