- Discover Venice
Venice stands on 117 small islands in the Venitian Lagoon along the adriatic sea in Northeast Italy. The 'Floating City' is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and one of the most important tourism destinations due to the abundance of art and historical buildings. Venice has a reputation for being expensive, but this is not necessarily true. You might pay €6 for a cup of tea in some cafes, but there are so many good restaurants that are very affordable as well as small cafes and pizzerias.
You will not be alone as you wander around Venice, it is incredibly busy here and one of the most visited cities in the world. Get up early to beat the crowds.
St Marks Square is instantly recognisable to tourists all over the world. The clock tower stands right in front of you to the back of the square. At the top you will see the moors, who strike the bell each hour. On the front you will see the symbol of Venice, the lion, and the signs of the Zodiac. On certain religious festivals three statues of the Magi appear from the tower.
Head up the Campanile of St Marks to take in the breathtaking views of the surrounds of Venice. The different bells all had different functions such as summoning the nobles to the Doges Palace, and start and finish of work etc. Looking at Venice from here, no canals are evident.
Built by Jacapo Sansovino in the 16th century, the library is a fascinating building and home to many rare books. There is also an archaeological museum in the square and the Correr Museum. Buy a ticket which enables you to see all of these, rather than paying separately and you can save quite a bit of money.
The Ducal Palace or the Doges Palace was once the seat of government as well as the court of justice of the Serenissima Republic. It was also the private residence of the Doge himself. Scale the golden staircase and the staircase of the Giants to the Doges' apartment and the council halls on the upper floors. Witness the luxury the Doge was accustomed to. Check out the Hall of the Scrutino, where you can see the portraits of the last 42 Doges.
Four horses stand on the facade of the Basilica, symbols of the city's freedom and independence. The Basilica was originally built in the 11th century to replace two previous chapels that were destroyed by fire, to house St Marks' body. Inside is truly beautiful and spectacular. Get a tour or read about it as you go along. See the striking mosiacs, stunning pictures made from tiny tiles.
Across the grand canal lies the island of St. George, the religious centre of Venice, once famed throughout Europe. The Church of St George, the Chapter House, Refectory, the Laurel Cloister, and the Dormitory (which has a corridor 128 metres long).
The Grand Canal is the main canal and thoroughfare in Venice, and the largest. Stand up on one of the many bridges spanning the canal and look down on the busy canal with gondolas, barges, and pleasure craft. You can imagine the old world, (well, without the speedboats). Be sure to check out the regatta or gondola races if you're in Venice around the New Year.
The Rialto Bridge is the most famous bridge in Venice. It has shops running along each side as well as three pedestrian passageways.
The ghetto was set up in 1516 to separate or segregate the Jews from the remainder of the population. It was its own state, with different traditions. There are three districts, Ghetto Vecchio, Ghetto Nouvo, Ghetto Nouvissimo. The gates were opened in 1797. There is a notable difference when you enter the ghetto. It seems older, more run down, but incredibly characteristic.
Marco Polo airport is the main airport for Venice. The airport is 7km from the centre of Venice. Get a bus, shuttle or taxi to Piazzale Roma. Or you can get a water taxi into the centre of Venice. THe water taxis are a good 10 minute walk from the airport.
Treviso is also quite a busy airport as many of the budget airlines fly into here. You can get return bus trips from here for as little as €13 or take a water taxi which can be more expensive. You will have to walk to the docks to get on the water taxi.
Flight times to Rome
Dublin 2.5 hours | London 2 hours | Hong Kong 11.5 hours | New York 8.5 hours | San Diego 12.5 hours | Sydney 20 hours
Venice can be reached by train from Germany (Munich), France (Paris), or Austria (Vienna) as well as Moscow in Russia. You can get from Rome and Milan by train as well quite easily.
There are no cars, buses or trains in Venice. You will have to walk or get a water taxi. Walking is by far the best way to experience the city. Venice is a maze of back alleys and side streets. Get a map and just wander. If you get lost just look for the many signs that point to the major tourist attractions such as the Rialto Bridge or St. Mark’s Square. There are many of these signs dotted around the city. Also a gondola ride is always worth a go, great for sightseeing.
Venice is a safe city. The main problem here is pickpockets so watch out for your valuables.
Do not go for a swim in the canals here. Raw sewage is pumped into the canals so stay away. The canals can also be quite dangerous for falling in to. Be careful at night and especially when you’ve had a few drinks.