As the adage goes, “You ain’t been nowhere if you haven’t been to Venice.” Every traveler to Venice falls in love, madly and irrevocably, with the city. After all, what’s not there to love? The famed waterways, with their oh-so beautiful gondolas, are a Venetian trademark. Bridges, quaint houses and countless palaces dot this watery wonderland. Every inch of Venice exudes an overpowering sense of history (and romance). Yes, this is the most beautiful city in the world!
Venice’s answer to Times Square—the lovely San Marco Square, a riot of colour and activity, is the heart of Venice. Visiting San Marco Square is a rite of passage for every visitor to the city.
Historical structures, such as the Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Cathedral) dot the square. The Cathedral is a mixture of varied designs styles from Arabesque to Byzantine. With its grand domes, and glorious mosaics, it is breathtaking. There is a photo opportunity at every corner! A little away stands the Palazzo Ducale, or Doge's Palace. This striking structure is built in the traditional Gothic style. It houses masterpieces from Venetian grandmasters and classical artists. The lofty Campanile is a guard tower from the 8th century. The view the top is simply spectacular!
If you’re looking to hobnob with history over a chilled latte, head to the famous Caffè Florian. The smiling staff will tell you the three century old café was a favourite of poet Lord Byron.
Venice is criss-crossed by scores of bridges—though not nearly as celebrated as its canals. The Rialto Bridge is the most iconic bridge in Venice. It is over 400 years old. The 24-foot arch of the bridge is supported by 12,000 wooden pillars that stand strong to this day.
Murano and Burano
These two little islands (with rhyming names!) are must-visits. Murano is home to the world famous glass arts. It is a treat to watch the glass blowers in action as they effortlessly create masterpieces. Souvenirs like a small vase or paper weight are a must-buy, especially after having seen their production process live.
Burano is best known for its lace craft. Tiny shops with musty attics have some of the finest and most intricate lace. For the truly lace-smitten, a visit to the island’s lace museum is in order.
Pardon the cliché, but no trip to Venice is complete without a Gondola ride. Cruising the serene waterways under the moonlight is truly the experience of a lifetime.
Post by - Mithila Mehta
Image courtesy - Paolo De Faveri, Alijoscha Thielen