Venice

Venice: a town that hardly needs an introduction, discover a unique history, culture, and cityscape in one of Italy’s most famous cities.

Venice lies in Northern Italy, in the region of Veneto. It is easily one of Italy’s most popular destinations, and for good reason. Famous in part for its water ways, Venice consists of a plethora of tiny islands, that crowd together as if blocks in a city. They all lie within a lagoon of water, that is protected by the Lido, a strip of land barring it from the rough seas.

Though it has been a tourist destination of centuries now, the charm of the city simply refuses to wear away. There is no comparison to its breathtaking façades, so casually perching on the waters edge. Nor can you find an equal to its incredible wealth of art history, culture, and festivities. Home to the Venice Film Festival, the Venice Biennale for Art, and the Venice Biennale for Architecture, it is clear that the city’s celebration of all culture is still alive and kicking.

Its traditional attractions include St. Mark’s Basilica, on the San Marco Piazza. This is a sight to behold in itself, but also features a museum. This will give you much more background information, and plenty of interesting exhibitions about the city and its religious history. Moreover, from its loggia you will enjoy a great view.

For a view of the whole city, head up the Campanile. A lift can take you here, and it is worth the 6 euro for the sweeping views it offers over the city.

For those in search of art, a good place to start is the Accademia Gallery. This hosts a range of Old Masters, and is perhaps the most famous art gallery in Venice. Equally important, however, is the Venice Guggenheim. For a less touristy selection of art, you can also visit the Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto. This church holds pieces by  Titian, Cima da Conegliano, and Tintoretto.

The Punta della Dogana Gallery is also an interesting visit. In fact, the building itself is worth the trip. The building dates back to the 1400s, however it has been renovated by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, making for an intriguing combination. Today the gallery houses a contemporary, thought-provoking selection of François Pinault’s collection.

Art aside, Venice’s various area and districts are delightful to walk around. Head to Burano to see its colorful houses and shop around for the famous merletto lace. Alternatively, visit the Murano island, and admire the traditional glass-blowers in their workshops. The Jewish Ghetto of Venice is also extremely interesting. In fact, the word ‘ghetto’ originated here. Founded in 1516, the name comes from the fact that iron was smelted here (in Italian this is ‘gettato’).

In the evenings, there will be no shortage of restaurants and bars to relax in and socialize. A particularly lively area is the market area which lies west of the Ponte Rialto.

Venice is extremely easy to access. It has its own airport, and also a train station. Within the town itself, the quickest way to get around is by vaporetto, the water-bus system that navigates Venice’s canals.