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Venice is a city that really is like no other in Italy, or the rest of the world for that matter. Made up of 118 small islands which are all separated by canals yet linked together by a number of beautiful bridges, it is best known as the ‘floating city’ as well as the ‘city of love’, making it one of the most magical destinations.
Flights to Venice usually take around two hours from London, and the short flight time makes it a great place for a weekend getaway. Although if you are able to spend longer in the city, it does have enough attractions to keep you busy for a week or more.
Venice is one of those places which must be visited at least once in your lifetime, as it really is so unique and the history of it is undoubtedly captivating. The city played a significant role in the Italian Renaissance period and this is clear throughout the city’s intricate architecture and the plethora of artwork, which really is out of this world. There is so much culture that is present everywhere you go, from the Venetian masks which have been a tradition of the city for centuries, to the wealth of beautiful and famous churches that serve as a reminder of Italy’s religious importance.
January/February: Top of the tree for events in Venice is it legendary carnival. Held late January/early February, the world’s oldest masked ball has been held since the middle ages. This two
week party is a real experience.
April: In April children take to the streets with pots and wooden spoons to celebrate Festa di San Marco. They chant and make as much noise as they can in exchange for tokens which are traded for sweet treats.
October: Being so famous for its waterways you would
think a Marathon in Venice would be difficult,
but you’d be wrong. Held in October the
runners start outside the city in Stra before
making their way into St Mark’s Square.
December/January: It is opera season in
Venice. Be sure to book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Being a city that was filled with wealth, especially throughout the Renaissance period, Venice boasts over 200 palazzis, or palaces. While it is possible to locate all of these wonderful buildings, if you are short of time, make sure to visit the Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s palace as it is also known as.
In the Palazzo’s courtyard you will be able to see Antonio Rizzo’s Scala dei Giganti as well as Sansovino’s statues of Neptune and Apollo which are all equally breathtaking. Again, the building’s rather solemn purpose in history is shown here in the courtyard by the Poggi (wells) which are situated on the east side, which is where prisoners would be held.
Being such an important part of the Renaissance movement, Venice has a number of galleries and art museums. While the city itself and its architecture is a piece of art, there are a number of modern art galleries which serve as an interesting experience in a city that is filled with history.
The Palazzo Grassi is a definite must see for culture vultures and art lovers alike as it offers world class installations and exhibitions, as is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection which is one of the city’s most important museums.
Italy is known for its delicious food, with pizza, pasta and gelato being firm favourites for most people throughout the globe and Venice is no exception, in fact, sampling some of the city’s gastronomic offerings is one of the most rewarding things to do during a visit.
Being a city surrounded by water, there is no surprise that fish is one of the most popular and delicious foods that Venice has to offer and there is a real abundance in dishes that use fish as its main ingredient.
Venice’s most famous dish is the Baccala’ Mantecata, which is a dish that consists of cod shipped in from the northern sea and preserved by using a lot of salt for a maximum of four days. Within this time, the excess salt is removed and the cod allowed to dry in the open air. Following this, the fish is soaked in water before being prepared with a sauce consisting of olive oil, parsley and garlic and served typically will a side of polenta.
A seafood risotto is also a must for food lovers and those with a sweet tooth must head to one of Venice’s many Gelateria to sample some of the best gelato in Italy.
Venice has a number of hidden gems within the city to explore, but if you have time to head a little further afield then visit the islands surrounding it; Murano and Burano in particular. Murano is world renowned for its glassware and definitely worth a visit for an insight into its history of glass making. Burano is real treat for the eyes; tiny canals run through the streets filled with candy coloured houses. It really is a picturesque town like no other.
Located further inland and not too far away from Venice (it can take under two hours via train) is the city of Verona, which is best known as the place in which the Shakespeare’s most famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet lived. With this romantic piece of literature in mind, a visit to Verona is not complete without a trip to the Casa di Giulietta which is home to Juliet’s balcony. It is also traditional to leave a romantic note attached to Juliet’s wall which is a very popular tourist spot in the city.
*Prices updated every 24 hours, subject to change. Limited availability.