Venice is such a magical place, so romantic and has a certain nostalgia about it before you even visit. I decided to go in December as this was going to be the least touristy month and the cold would drive away those oh too famous smells that come from the canals. Staying on the island can be expensive however I stayed in Mestre which is mainland Venice, it was only a short bus ride onto the island and the accommodation and food was a fraction of the price. Enjoy my top ten suggestions for this ornate and historic city.
1.Piazza San Marco
One of the most popular spots in Venice with stunning views and architecture surrounding. Tourists used to enjoy feeding the many pigeons in this beautiful square however the Venetian laws forbid this activity because of the damage their droppings do to the Mosaics on the buildings, including St. Mark’s Basilica.
2.Get Lost in Venice
This one is cost-free and lets’ face it, you will most likely accomplish this without even trying. With a maze of alleyways and canals (not to mention directions with conflicting opinions drawn on the walls), it is fun to just wander through and do your best impression of a Venetian local.
3.Santa Maria della Salute
Santa Maria della Salute is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located at Punta della Dogana. Wander around the base and admire the hugeness of this beautiful building then head inside and light a candle for a loved one.
4. St Mark’s Basilica
The most famous of Venice’s churches, St Mark’s Basilica was known as the church of gold in the 11th century because of its opulent appearance. It was believed to be constructed in 1063 and was originally part of the Doge Palace as a private chapel. Another beautiful building to gaze at in awe.
Once home to the Doge, the former ruler of Venice this palace has since become a museum. The Doge’s Palace houses the largest oil painting in the world and also several prison cells below, a great place to explore and learn about, steeped in history. It’s about €20 to get in with a combined entry to other attractions. Don’t forget to check out the Bridge of Sighs which is part of the building.
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of four bridges across the canal and was the dividing line for the districts of San Marco and San Polo. The bridge is made completely of marble and is only anchored at either end with nothing supporting the middle so was never thought to last. Take a walk over this iconic bridge and hope that it does not decide to collapse!
Just make sure you do not request ‘That’s Amore’ or the Cornetto song, you will most likely get thrown overboard into the stinky canals of Venice. The gondola rides make for a completely different perspective of Venice. Visit in the winter and you will most likely get one to yourself and remember for all rides prices are negotiable.
Murano is one of the islands near Venice, famous for its glass blowing but also home to some beautiful canals and churches. Take the boat here and enjoy the sights on the way, also make sure to take a tour or a class in glass blowing – definitely something a bit different. Murano has specialized in fancy glassware for centuries and also led Europe developing refined technologies.
9.Watch the World Go By
Sitting and watching the world go by with a good coffee and a nice big slice of cake is always a favourite of mine and Venice is the perfect place to do this. Laden with cute cafes and all sorts of characters wandering by, it makes for interesting people watching.
10.Watch the Sunset Over San Giorgio Maggiore
This beautiful 16th-century Benedictine church is situated on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. You can visit the island and explore the library or open-air theatre. Alternatively, it makes for a beautiful sunset spot as pictured above. From this viewpoint you will also enjoy the sun setting on many of the other famous landmarks.
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