THE CITY OF CANALS AND BRIDGES!
Venice is an island city built on the lagoons along the Adriatic Sea in northeast of Italy. 170 channels separate and 400 bridges connecting the 118 islands of Venice. Venice has many names to choose from: “City of Lovers,” “Queen of Adriatic,” “Floating City,” and “City of Canals and Bridges” and beyond this makes its visitors feel as if they’re in a land of fairytales.
Marco Polo airport is on the mainland and 13 km away from the city center. If you want to get to the city center via land, you can use the ACTV or ATVO buses (one-way €6, return ticket €11). These buses go all the way to Rome Square which is at the end of highway passing over the 4 km long Ponte Della Liberta connecting the city with the mainland. If you want enter this city of fairy tales taking the scenic route, you can catch the Alilaguna ferryboats from the terminal 10 minutes walking distance from the airport (one-way €15, return ticket €27) or a water taxi (maximum 10 people at a price of €100-150 depending on the final destination) to your hotel. One of the most important characteristics of Venice is that motor vehicles are not allowed. As a result, the best way to explore the city is to walk around it. You can hop on a gondola if you wish to take a romantic journey on the canals. You can get on special gondolas called “traghetto” to cross over the Grand Canal. For transportation within the city water taxis and sea buses called “vaporetto” are other options. Vaporettos have 15 different routes. Take a vaporetto along the Grand Canal or go to one of many islands like Murano, Burano or Lido. Ticket fees change depending on the time you spend too (€7 for a ticket valid for 75 minutes, €18 for a ticket with 12 hour validity, €20 for a 24 hour valid ticket, €25 for a 36 hour valid ticket, €30 for a 48 hour valid ticket, €35 for a 72 hour valid ticket, and €50 for a 7 day valid ticket. Unlimited use for 3 days for passengers of between the ages of 14 and 29 is €18, but you have to buy a Rolling Venice discount card first for €4 to get the discount).
Accommodation fees are high in Venice, which hosts approximately 22 million people every year. Because it is always crowded, it may be difficult to find a decent hotel. If you travel to Venice especially during the Carnival, you’d better make your reservation months ahead of time. Most hotels are close to San Marco Square. If you are on a tight budget you may want to choose one of the hostels in Guidecca district or Mestre or Lido di Jesolo Hotels on the mainland. If you are planning to stay in Venice longer than a week, subletting an apartment may be a reasonable idea too. Some of the luxury hotels in the city are Hotel Cipriani and Palazzo Vendramin by Orient-Express, Hotel Gritti Palace, Bauer Il Palazzo, Corte Di Gabriela, Palazzina G, Hilton Molino Stucky Venice Hotel, San Clemente Palace Hotel & Resort, IQs Charming House, Ca' Maria Adele, Centurion Palace etc. Some of the middle range hotels are as follows: AD Place Venice, Hotel Palazzo Abadessa, Hotel Le Isole, Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo, Oltre Il Giardino and Al Ponte Antico Hotel. If you are looking for a low budget place you may want to try Bed & Venice, Ca’Venezia or Generator Venice.
Your first stop should be San Marco Square where the beat of the city is. Around San Marco Square you have to see San Marco Basilica, the Campanile (Bell Tower), the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), St Mark’s Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio), the bronze horse statue representing San Marco and statue of Byzantine Empress Theodora right next to it and the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). Enjoy the grand street of Venice which is the Grand Canal (Canal Grande) and its 4 bridges of which the most famous is the Ponte di Rialto (the others are called the Ponte degli Scalzi, the Ponte dell’Accademia and the Ponte della Constituzione), Ca’ D’Oro Palace, Grand School (Scuola Grande di San Rocco), Santa Maria della Salute, the Venetian ghetto in the Cannaregio district, Galleria dell’Accademia and Collezione Peggy Guggenheim. If you have the time don’t miss Frari Basilica, Correr Museum, Sansoviniana Library, Zaccaria Church, Riva degli Schiavoni, La Pieta Church, Venetian Arsenal (Arsenale di Venezia), Palazzo Mocenigo, Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ Pesaro, Ca’ Goldoni, Naval History Museum (Museo Storico Navale), Church of Madonna dell’Orto, Church of Campo San Polo and The Turks Inn (Fondaco dei Turchi). You can also visit San Giorgio Maggiore Island and Church visible from San Marco Square, the famous island of Murano with houses handmade glass workshops, Burano Island full of pastel colored houses and crochet works, Torcello Island and Lido Island are summer excursion spots for local Venetians.
The narrow streets of Venice are full of souvenir shops and elegant boutiques and stores selling glass, crystal, leather and traditional crochet works, interesting masks and costumes, and puppets. The shopping districts stem from San Marco Square and its environs, Rialto Bridge, Mercerie and Frezzeria districts. Larza XXII is a well-known street full of luxury fashion stores. At the historical Rialto Market you can find all kinds of products from local cheeses to leather products. To buy traditional Venetian masks, stores like Mondo Novo, Ca’ Macana, Magie de Carnevale, Ca’del Sol where to go, glass workshops on Murano Island for glass products, and Burano Island for crochet works. If you can’t find the chance to go to the Venetian Islands, you can also find quality hand craft products at the Alice in Wonderland Fine Arts Gallery.
Of course, the most entertaining activity in an island city associated with gondolas would be taking a gondola ride. Arias sung by your gondolier will be a bonus to your trip. San Marco Square is always fun and vivid… I guarantee that you’ll never get bored even if you hang out at the cafes all day long. It’s such a pleasure to be lost in the narrow streets of this lovely town. Go up on top of the Bell Tower if you want to city from up on high. Take a boat tour along the Grand Canal which goes through Venice like an S or the Venetian Lagoon. Soak in the sun in the summer at the Lido beaches or enjoy water sports of all sorts. Venice is a culturally fulfilling city. Italy is the homeland of opera, so enjoy your night at a show at La Fenice, one of the most beautiful buildings in the country. For some it is a must to listen to works by Vivaldi in Venice. Try to catch one of many festivals and activities organized all year around. Some of the most important events are as follows: the Carnival of Venice (February or March), Venetian Film Festival (August), the Biennale of Venice (between June and September held every other year), Venetian Gondola Races (September), Venetian Marathon (October) etc. The average age of Venetians is comparatively high. As a result, there’s not much of a night life in the city because there’s not a particularly young population. If you want to have a drink and listen to music you can try the bars around San Marco Square or Campo Santa Margherita and Cannaregio districts. Harry’s is one of the best where some authors like Orson Welles have been regulars. For house music you can go to Orange, Palazzo delle Prigioni for jazz, and Antico Martini for dancing.