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Visit Venice

About Venice

Venice, Italy is unique in that it is built on 118 islands in the Venetian Lagoon. The islands are separated by canals which act as the "streets" instead of concrete, the main thoroughfare is the Canal Grande. The city is extremely beautiful with many historic buildings, churches and more than 400 bridges, the entire city of Venice is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Venetian calendar includes the Venice Carnival when the city comes alive with colorful decoration, dynamic parties and everyone wears a mask. The traditional masks are made of porcelain, leather or glass and adorned with feathers and even golf leaf. The Venice Biennale is a biannual contemporary art exhibition which includes the Venice Film Festival which hosts celebrities from across the globe. The Regata Storica is an annual historic celebration when many boats and gondolas take to the Grand Canal and there are boat races and historic boat displays.

The city originated during the barbarian invasions when the locals moved onto the islands for safety and settled there. In 828 the remains of St. Mark where brought to the city where they were finally laid to rest in St. Mark's Basilica. The Venetian Republic was established under the rule of a Doge (duke) and the powerful republic dominated maritime traffic, turning Venice into the most important harbour in Europe. The republic survived for over 1100 years and by the 16th century was a leading European maritime power. The 18th century saw the flourishing art world of the city together with literature and architecture. In 1797 Napoleone Bonaparte conquered the city and in 1866 the city was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy.

Together with the city's beauty it is a treasure trove of art work and historic architecture from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Many of the palaces and churches are home to works by Bellini, Titian, Tiepolo, Tintoretto and Veronese.

The city is divided into 6 sestiere or districts which can be reached on foot using the 400+ bridges and many walkways or by water transport. Vaporetti (water bus) or water taxis are a efficient form of public transport. There is also a Vaporetto dell'Arte which takes visitors passed all the most important treasures along the Grand Canal. For a more romantic form of transport go for a ride in one of the traditional Venetian gondolas. The Traghetto are gondolas used to ferry the public from one shore to the next at several points in the city.

The Venetian island of Murano is famed for exquisite colored glass which you can purchase in the city and even see glass blowing. Another typical souvenir item is the Venetian carnival mask. Venice is famous for its beautiful handmade lace, leather goods and marbled paper.

Must see Venice sites

Your sightseeing in Venice will include churches, museums, palaces and probably start at Saint Mark's Square. The historic public square dates back to the 9th century and is surrounded by many of the city's famous structures.

Doge's Palace & the Prisons – Take the guided tour of the former palace of the Venice Doges which explains the history and mystery of Venice.

Rialto Bridge and Bridge of Sighs – The Rialto is a covered bridge constructed in 1591 and close to many shops and restaurants. The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most romantic covered bridges in the city.

Saint Mark's Basilica – Located next to the Doge's Palace this ancient church has priceless treasures and art work by some of Italy's most famous artists.

San Giacomo di Rialto – Venice's oldest church built in approximately 421.

Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Torcello – Known for its fabulous mosaics.

Correr Museum – A rich collection of artifacts dating back to the 16th century.

Galleria dell'Accademia di Venezia – The city's primary art museum.

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