Rising from the waters of Venice Lagoon is a place like no other, The Italian city of Venice. Once the worlds greatest port, here, protected from the swells of the Adriatic, Venetian merchants created an impossible city
of incredible wealth. Long hailed as the most breathtaking city
on earth, there is no denying that sometimes, Venice can be overwhelmed with admirers. But if you take your time, and treat her gently, she will reward you with moments of profound
beauty and bliss.
Most visits begin in the central district
of San Marco, where youll find one of the worlds great
squares, St Marks. Arrive with the dawn, and the piazza will
be yours to enjoy, without the crowds. St Marks Square is surrounded by some of
the citys finest architectural jewels. But there are none greater than St Marks
Basilica, a treasure house of holy relics, from the
body of St Mark, to a lock of The Virgin Marys hair.
St Mark was known as Mark the Lionhearted, and everywhere you turn in Venice youll
see this proud symbol. Across from the Basilica, stands the citys
beloved bell tower, St Marks Campanile. Climb the tower to see Venice stretch out
in all her marble and red-tiled splendor, all the way to the far-off Pyrenees. Below the tower, is one of the citys great
landmarks, Doges Palace.
For centuries this Venetian
Gothic masterpiece was the seat of the republics power and
prestige. Today, its courtyards, apartments and chambers are
a museum, which celebrates centuries of Venetian achievement
and glory. Just outside, stand the Columns of San Marco
and San Teodoro, the traditional gateway to the city. Here, under the Winged of Lion of Venice, begin your journey along one of the worlds
great aquatic thoroughfares, The Grand Canal.
For almost two and a half miles, the canal winds through Venice,it is her
main artery, her lifeblood. Ride the Vaporetto dell Arte and explore
the canals treasures at your leisure. Or ride in true Venetian style, by gondola,
which Mark Twain once called, the gentlest form of locomotion ever devised. Near the canals southern mouth, rises the graceful dome of Santa Maria della
Beset by plague in the 17th century, Venice turned to the Spirit of Mother Mary
for deliverance. The plague lifted, and grateful Venetians
raised this new church in her honor. All along the canal, elegant palazzos, once the homes of wealthy merchants, slip by as if in a dream. The timeless wake of river traffic laps at
their doorsteps, just as it has for centuries.
Today, many of the Palazzos, are home to museums
and galleries. Ca Rezzonico allows visitors to experience
the opulence of 18th century Venice. While Palazzo Grassis bold restoration
and artworks are the perfect reflection of a city that
cherishes its past, and embraces the new. Venice has a way of capturing hearts.
In the 1940s, American heiress, Peggy Guggenheim, made her home on the Grand Canal. Today her
passion for Venice lives on, through her incredible collection of modern
art, which brings joy to the hundreds of art lovers
who visit each day. Venice is known as The City Of Bridges, many of which are works of art too. The Accademia Bridge links the San Marco district
to the Accademia Gallery, and offers some of the Grand Canals finest
The oldest of the Grand Canals four crossings, is The Rialto Bridge. For over three hundred years this was the
only way to cross the canal on foot, and today still stands as the grand gateway
to the Rialto Markets. Away from the Grand Canal there are hundreds
more bridges to explore, from the purely functional, to the breathtaking. The most famous of all, connects Doges Palace to the historic prison.
From the enclosed walkway, the condemned would capture one last look
at their beloved city, and sigh,hence the name, the Bridge of
Venice is a city to get lost in, so put away your map and let her surprise
you. Follow winding alleyways that suddenly emerge
into quiet piazzas and onto the steps of ancient churches. In the central area of San Marco, discover cultural treasures like the Teatro
La Fenice, which despite being destroyed three times
by fire, arose from the ashes each time, just like
its namesake. The further you roam, the fewer travellers
youll see and the more locals youll meet.
These are the places, where the city surrenders
its most intimate pleasures When the citys embrace becomes too tight, there are places to catch your breath, like the waterfront promenades or the sleepy canals and spacious piazzas
of Castello. Venice was long the epicenter of European
glassmaking. Fearing an inferno, in the 13th century Venice relocated all her
glassmakers to the island of Murano. 700 Years later, the decedents of these artisans still create
works of incredible delicacy and color.
Further across the lagoon, is another island famed for its color, the tiny island of Burano. Legend has it, that fishermen painted their houses in distinctive
colors so they could find their way home through
the lagoons fogs. While here, shop for some of the islands
exquisite lace, just as Leonardo da Vinci did when he visited
in 1481. From the adventures of Marco Polo and Casanova, to the artistry of Vivaldi and Bellini, Venice has shone her light into the
far corners of the world for over one and a half
And now, the world comes to her. Just remember, Venice smiles upon those who linger. So stay
for a few nights, or stay for a month, and savor every sweet moment she has to offer..