Venice is one of Italy’s must-see cities and its attractions are one-of-a-kind. Here are some of the top things to do and see that you shouldn’t miss on a visit to Venice.Lined by cafes, shops, and a number of museums, here is the place to get a glimpse of the Venice’s glorious architecture and the sea.
Venice’s smallest but prime district named after the city’s patron saint is bounded by the Grand Canal on all but one side, which explains the number of stately palaces in the area. The Cityrevolves around piazza san Marco and the majestic doge’s palace, the political and legal core of the city until the 18th century. Running off the square are the mercerie and calle larga xxii marzo, offering wall-to-wall designer shopping. But beyond that san Marco has a residential air, with a great range of places to eat. Don’t hesitate to wander down minor alleyways: surprises include unusual wellheads and many craft workshops.
Long the political and religious heart of Venice, it’s hard to believe Piazza San Marco was once little more than a monastery garden crossed by a stream. The glittering basilica and Doge’s Palace command the east side of the square, while other stately buildings along its borders have been the backdrop for magnificent processions celebrating victorious commanders, visiting dignitaries and festivals. The western end was remodeled by Napoleon, who wished to construct a royal palace here. Today the piazza continues to bustle, with a museum complex, elegant cafés, live orchestras, costumed Carnival crowds – not to mention duck-boards when it floods. Venice’s majestic “highway”, the Canal Grande, is only one of the 177 canals flowing through the city, but at some 4 km (2.5 miles) in length, 30–70 m (98–230 ft) in width and averaging 4.5 m (15 ft)in depth, it certainly earns its name. Snaking its way through the city with a double curve, its bank sare lined with exquisite palaces, while on its waters colour ful flotillas of gondolas, ferries, taxi launches, high-speed police boats and barges groaning under loads of fresh produce, provide endless fascination. In 1818, when the water was cleaner, Lord Byron swam all the way down the Grand Canal from the Lido.
The commercial hub of Venice is as bustling today as it has always been – records tell of marketshere since 1097. The area is also the city’s historical heart and took its name from Rivoaltus, the high consolidated terrain that guaranteed early settlers flood-free premises. The majority of buildings, however, date from the 16th century, due to a fire which swept through Rialto in 1514. During Carnival the stall-holders don medieval costume to vie with each other for custom and only the new awnings and electronic cash registers let slip the modern world.