City Guide to Venice

San Marco venice (640x425)Many people travelling to Italy for the first time choose Venice as their starting point, and it’s easy to see why. Images of gondolas winding their way between partly submerged buildings are firmly a part of popular culture, and many people are surprised to see just how authentic the popular postcard images of Venice are. With its well preserved historical buildings and absence of road traffic, Venice offers an escape from the noise and bustle of the modern world, wherever you choose to stay in this lagoon city.

Venice has remained largely unchanged since the height of its maritime power centuries ago, and although you can enjoy modern facilities such as Wi-Fi internet access at hotels and international cuisine at its many restaurants, this old world charm is a major draw for first-time and returning visitors. Whether you’re heading straight to the major tourist sights of St Mark’s Square or just spend time walking around the labyrinth of streets, Venice can be a captivating destination.

St Mark’s Square is home to several of Venice’s most famous sights, including the Basilica di San Marco. The Basilica has a long waiting line, so it’s worth booking your tickets in advance. Climbing to the top of the Campanile offers spectacular views over the square and other parts of the city. Another must-visit church in Venice is the San Giacomo di Rialto, which may be the city’s oldest and is particularly notable for its ornamental clock, red pillars and gold accents.

To save money on cultural breaks to Venice, you can buy a museum pass in San Marco that covers several of the city’s top museums and art galleries, including the Doge’s Palace and Correr Museum. One of the city’s most intriguing and eclectic museums is the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, which collects a variety of modern art works and sculptures. You could also save money on a gondola experience by taking cheaper water taxis across to the other side of the canal, unless you have your heart set on this romantic experience.

Venice is a popular destination for city breaks, though the summer months can reach uncomfortable temperatures, with mosquitoes, overcrowding of tourists and the smells of canals also making summer visits less desirable for many. Springtime is a far more ideal time to visit. With its excellent rail links throughout Italy, Venice is the perfect starting point for longer Italian breaks, with cities such as Verona and Florence being just a few hours away.

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This post was submitted by Jamie Monteath.

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