Venice: The city of winding canals and striking architecture

Venice Airport Directory (VCE)
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When we think of Venice, images of canals and gondolas come to mind but that is not all the city cradles on its lap. While here, you can’t help it but sigh seeing their stunning architectural buildings, which are adorned with intricately designed artwork. Most buildings have Italian gothic architecture with a strong influence from Byzantine and Islamic style. These century-old buildings reflect Venice's trading network. Venice is divided into six sestieri or districts, each with distinct characteristics and a bundle of tourist attractions. At every turn, you will see fascinating places worth remembering. If you’ve got an Italy trip on your mind, Venice is not to be missed.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Venice is April through June. You can also travel in September and October. These are ideal months to explore the city as the weather is mild and pleasant.

How to Reach?

By Air: The closest international airport to Venice is Marco Polo which is located around 12 km from the city. Most flights that land here is from European countries. On arrival at the airport, you can find many modes of transportation such as buses, trains and taxis. These are the fastest ways to get to the city.

However, to get the most out of the city's exploration, travellers choose motorboats that will drop them off at Saint Mark's Square. Although it takes more than an hour, it is a relaxing and fun way to enter Venice.

By Train: Venice has a good railway network connecting to several cities like Rome, Milan, Florence, and Padua, as well as neighbouring countries like Austria, Germany, France, and the UK via the Orient Express. You can get an Eurail Pass while travelling in Italy; it offers deals, discounts, and most importantly, the convenience of easy travel.

By Road: Piazzale Roma is the main bus terminal in Venice. All buses coming to Venice stop here; it is close to the canals, where you can hop in one of the water taxis that’ll drop you off at your hotel. The major bus routes for Venice from different parts of Italy are Autostrada 4, A13, and SS11.

Getting Around

Venice is a small city but not everything is accessible on foot, unless you are staying in the central area. There are local transport options like water bus/taxi, gondola, traghetti, and alilaguna. These public transportation options are convenient and affordable. One of the best money-saving tips for visiting Venice is getting tourist passes which offer discounts and deals.

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Places to visit in Venice

  • Mark's Square: This is the largest square in Venice, the buildings surrounding the square are architecturally stunning on three sides. A little further, there is a smaller part of the square which faces the grand canal. This is a popular place where travellers and locals gather, savouring the moment, drinking coffee from the cafes outside, and watching people take casual strolls around the square. The major highlight of the square is the brick shaft of St. Mark's Campanile, which overlooks the busy piazza.
  • Ponte di Rialto: This 16th-century ornately covered footbridge is one of the most photographed stone bridges in the world. The Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is over the Grand Canal, connecting two busy streets. On one end of the bridge lies the church of San Bartolomeo. This part of the canal is popular for shopping. The other side is famous for street food markets and the narrow streets of San Polo, which is lively with tourists parading along the street.
  • Mark's Basilica: This is probably the most recognised church in Venice, located in St. Mark's Square. It was originally the private chapel of Doge, the highest official of the republic of Venice. This fine house of worship is an attraction worth visiting. As you explore the complex, you can see it is intricately decorated with Byzantine art. The façade has gold-backed mosaic, and it is said that 4,240 square meters of gold mosaics were used to cover the domes and walls. The high altar here, Pala d'Oro, is one of the finest in the whole of Europe.  
  • Lido: If you travel a bit off the main Venice, you will come across Lido. It is a lagoon barrier island that is home to sandy beaches, Art Nouveau-style hotels, churches like that of San Nicolo, and the Venice Film Festival. It is best to hire a bicycle and explore the streets, admire villas, and romanticise nature as you paddle alongside the beach. While exploring this beach resort island, you may see a few celebrities, so keep a lookout.
  • Torre dell'Orologio: This is a popular clock tower facing St. Mark's Square. This major highlight of Venice has a large bell which dongs every hour. The tower itself dates back to the 15thcentury, displaying Venetian Renaissance architecture. You will notice phases of the moon and the zodiac in gilt on the façade of the tower, and above the clock there is a small.

Places to eat in Venice 

  • Osteria Campo Santa Marina: The city’s most praised restaurant, which started as a small sandwich shop, is now a popular restaurant serving traditional Italian cuisine. It has a nice atmosphere with outdoor seating during the summer. Osteria Campo Santa Marina specialises in raw fish and its own homemade pasta.
  • Quadri: This Michelin star restaurant is one of the popular places to eat in Venice. Overlooking St. Mark’s Square, the restaurant offers irresistible tasting menus, which also include gluten-free options. The interior of the restaurant is grand with a chandelier, warm lighting, and wooden furnishings.
  • Al Covo: One of the most charming cafés, that offers a typical Italian atmosphere, is Al Covo. It has a very rustic look with brick walls, dark wood furniture, and artsy wall hangings. During warmer days, outdoor seating arrangement is also provided. The pumpkin bread, along with the house-smoked red mullet, is one of the best dishes here.

Shopping in Venice

  • Rialto Market: Since this market is very popular, it remains crowded on Saturdays and closed on Sundays. You can find all sorts of fresh produces here, from seasonal vegetables to local seafood, meats, cheeses and more. This market is the best place to experience local life and snack on some street food.
  • Mestre Market: Not only is this market famous for fruits and vegetables, but it is also popular for clothing, household items, shoes, and more. Mestre Market is held every Wednesday and Friday in the centre of Mestre, around Piazza Barche.
  • Calle Longhi: To taste locally grown asparagus from Giare, visit Calle Longhi in the Metropolitan City of Venice. This is a farmer’s market that takes place every Monday on Calle Longhi in Santa Marta. It is colourful and the feel-good vibe that surrounds the market feels fresh. It is a must-see market in Venice.

Where to stay in Venice?

  • The St. Regis: Amongst some of the most fabulous hotels in Venice is the St. Regis. It is located alongside the grand canal boasting palace-like decor and water-facing balconies. The hotel, despite having an old-world appeal, is quite modern with open spaces and luxury suites.
  • Cipriani, a Belmond Hotel: Across the Piazza San Marco from the Giudecca Canal lies one of Venice’s popular hotels, Cipriani, a Belmond Hotel. Its strategic location, not far from the busy part of the city, makes it one of the top choices to stay in Venice. It takes a ferry ride to get here, but once you arrive, the hotel’s facilities and services will sweep you off your feet. You can find a Michelin star restaurant, spa, swimming pool, and outdoor spaces.
  • Novecento Boutique Hotel: Not far from the busy area of St. Mark’s Square and high-fashion boutiques and bars, you get to the Novecento Boutique Hotel. It is a lovely boutique hotel that gives a homely feeling. It has a mix of modern furniture with warm, earthy-coloured interiors. Alongside the finest luxury, you also get a sense of warm ambience here.  

More reasons to visit Venice 

  • Venice Carnival: Venice is a place you can visit anytime of the year, but go during the Venice Carnival to see the city in full zest and vibrancy. Held in February, people gather in Saint Mark's Square, and dance throughout the night. You can expect people to be fully dressed in grand costumes. To make the most of it, attend the masquerade balls and parties that take place in Venetian palaces.
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