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Venice is a remarkable place, its streets and canals fringed with grand palazzi, historic monuments and beautiful churches. The city’s epic grandeur has attracted lovers, artists and poets for centuries, and never fails to inspire those who visit. It’s easily explored on foot – as you wander the pathways and bridges, you’ll come face to face with some classic Venetian scenes, with washing lines overhanging tiny canals and bustling piazzas lined with market stalls.
Walking isn’t the only way to get around Venice, though – there’s nothing more romantic than being sung to by a gondolier as you’re punted gently down the waterways, or more glamorous than gliding along the Grand Canal in an open-top water taxi.
When it comes to sightseeing, St. Mark’s Square is a good place to start. It’s home to the twin jewels in Venice’s crown, the Palazzo Ducale (or Doge’s Palace) and St. Mark’s Basilica. You’ll also find some of Venice’s most elegant cafes here, where diners are serenaded by tuxedo-clad musicians. You can get an idea for how to make the most of your city break with our guide to spending 48 hours in Venice.
Dubbed the ’finest drawing room in Europe’ by Napoleon, St. Mark’s Square is the most important piazza in Venice. Ascend to the top of the campanile here for an aerial view of the huge square, as well as the rest of Venice’s rooftops and canals. Even on a short city break to Venice, a trip out to some of the smaller islands is well worth doing. The most popular are Murano, Burano and Torcello, home to glass-blowing workshops, colourful houses and picturesque gardens.
Direct flights to Venice Marco Polo airport (VCE) are available from Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Southend and take approximately 2 hours. Transfers from the airport are by water taxi or water bus and take approximately 40 minutes to reach the centre of Venice.
Direct flights to Venice Treviso airport (TSF) depart from London Stansted, Leeds Bradford, Bristol and East Midlands and take approximately 2 hours.
Venice is a great year-round destination, with each month offering a different reason to visit. Late spring and summer are the best times to go if you're looking for warm weather. But to avoid busy crowds, visit during winter – the weather can get quite cold, but with this comes fewer people and lower hotel prices. Spring and autumn are also popular times to visit Venice, but bear in mind that between October and January acquaalta (high water) is more likely. However, it's still possible to access most of the city during this time using the temporary wooden walkways that are constructed.
Italian cuisine follows traditional and family recipes, using local produce, and the Veneto region is no exception. With a prime location next to the sea, it's no wonder a lot of the dishes you will find contain an array of seafood. Venetian seafood dishes are simply delicious, from sarde in saor (an antipasto featuring sweet-and-sour sardines with onions, pine nuts and raisins) and caparossoi a scota deo (large clams cooked with lemon and pepper), to baccala mantecata, which is dried and salted codfish.
There is no official date of the foundation of the Venice, though it was in the 5th century AD that the lagoon started to fill up with inhabitants from mainland Italy. Venice City started as a refuge for those people seeking shelter from the Barbarians after the fall of the Roman Empire. For more than 1,400 years, Venice has seen people living on the waters away from mainland Italy and it has now become one of the most desirable cities to visit in Europe. Venice might not be the oldest city in Italy, but it is definitely one of the most unique.
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