Venice lends itself to idle wandering, and possibly the best way
to enjoy its captivating charms is to let yourself get lost in the
myriad of winding alleys and twisting lanes that make up the city
Basilica di San Marco
This unique landmark is renowned for its magnificent exterior and
interior covered in spectacular encrusted mosaic marble carvings.
St Mark's Basilica dominates the Piazza and is a symbol of Venetian
glory. Embellished and enriched over the centuries from the East,
it is a huge, complex and mysterious edifice - as much a museum as
a church. For those who prefer a bird's-eye view, take the
opportunity to climb the Campanile di San Marco, which offers
incredible vistas over the buildings clustered around the centre,
and shimmering lagoons further out.
St Mark's Square
Wander through the bustling square and soak up the atmosphere
and entertainment; Piazza San Marco has undoubtedly been the
heart and soul of the city for centuries with its blend of
One of the highlights of any escorted Italy tour to
Venice is a ride along the canals on board one of the city's famous
gondolas. However, gondola rides can be expensive, and it is
essential that you negotiate the price. The 'official' fare for a
gondola ride is €80 for a 40 minute tour. However, gondoliers will
always try to charge considerably more, usually for less time. For
the best price, avoid gondolas waiting in the busiest areas of
Venice, such as St Mark's Square. Also worth noting is that, while
many consider a gondola ride to be about romance, the gondoliers
will actually perform the role of a tour guide, pointing out famous
houses along the way. Up to six people are permitted in a gondola
for the standard fare (or whatever you have negotiated), making it
a considerably cheaper option.
Doge's Palace overlooks St Mark's Square and the Venice Lagoon and
is the former residence of the Doge of Venice - the supreme
authority for the once hugely powerful Republic of Venice. The
palace was constructed over the course of more than a century, from
1309 to 1424, and was used to house the main political institutions
for the Republic, as well as being the residence of the leader.
Today the palace is preserved as a museum.
Bridge of Sighs
Connecting the old prisons with the interrogation rooms in the
Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs is a raised, enclosed bridge
which was often the last sight for convicts prior to their
imprisonment. The name 'Bridge of Sighs' was coined by Lord Byron,
describing the reaction of prisoners on seeing beautiful Venice for
the final time.
San Giorgio Maggiore
Visit the nearby island of San Giorgio Maggiore, south of the main
island, with its lovely basilica. The basilica's bell-tower offers
unbeatable views of Venice.
Dining in Venice
Venice presents an enticing selection of dining options, with most
restaurants offering a mouth-watering array of Mediterranean dishes
and seafood. The Venetians even have their own version of tapas
called Cicchetti - delicious snacks which they wash down with a
glass of wine.
No visit to Venice would be complete without a trip to the
world-famous Gallerie dell'Accademia. The art gallery, originally
created as an art school, is home to some of the world's greatest
pre-19th century art.
Famous for glassmaking, Murano is an island (actually a series of
connected islands) in the Venice Lagoon. The island has produced
highly regarded glass, particularly lampwork, since the foundries
were moved from Venice in 1291 - Venetian authorities feared the
risk of fire, as most of the buildings were wooden constructions.
The 'Museo Vetraio' is Murano's glass museum, which is certainly
worth a visit (closed on Wednesdays).
The island of Burano is famous for both the brightly painted
fishermen's houses and for lace-making. The island is hugely
popular with photographers, thanks to its picturesque, colourful
buildings. The island has a lace-making museum (Museo del Merletto)
and it is certainly worth enjoying a relaxed stroll to find the
perfect photo opportunity; the streets in Burano are as narrow and
winding as they are in Venice.