One of my favorite cities in Italy is Venice. Although some may think Venice is overrated, we all come to an agreement that it is a remarkably beautiful city with characteristics like no other. The many canal waterways, bridges, and shops make Venice one of the most unique and picturesque cities on the planet. If you happen to be traveling in the north, Venice is a must see.
If you’re visiting Venice for the first time, I would highly recommend taking the train to Venezia Santa Lucia because you have the perfect sight of the Canale Grande as you exit the train station. This view will make you feel like you are entering a fairy tale. I was in complete awe as I exited the train station my first time visiting Venice, and it made me excited to see more of the stunning city!
Walking around Venice is an incredible experience because you have to constantly cross small bridges to get around, each boasting of romanticism. What amazes me about Venice is the local life that you witness while wondering. As I was walking around I saw water taxis, ambulances, and merchants unloading goods. I was completely fascinated how a place with such an intricate geography still manages to have locals and function like any other city.
The water bus and taxis are an efficient way of getting around Venice when you’re too tired to walk or if you’re afraid of getting lost in a maze of bridges. The water taxis are also a great way to visit the other Venetian islands, like the popular Murano and Burano. Murano is known for their glass making industry so you will find many glass blowing factories where you can watch as they make beautiful dishes, jewelry, and other decors. The other island, Burano, is filled with colorful houses and restaurants (another post about Burano will be coming soon!).
The most popular views in Venice are the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge), Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square), and Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs).
The Ponte Rialto is the most famous ponte or bridge in Venice because of it’s beautiful architecture. The bridge’s detail attracts many tourists who are normally posing for pictures in front of the breathtaking views at the highest point of the famous landmark.
Saint Mark’s Square is one of the most beautiful piazza’s in Italy, it is also the only piazza in Venice as the rest are all called campo. The Square is dominated by the stunning Basilica of Saint Mark. This remarkable cathedral exemplifies Italo-Byzantine architecture and was nicknamed as Chiesa D’Oro (Church of Gold) due to its gilded interior design and intricate exterior. Above the large central window is the Winged Lion, the symbol of Venice.
The other famous bridge in Venice is called Ponte dei Sospiri (the bridge of Sighs). The bridge got its name because it connected the interrogating rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the new prison and it was the last point from where prisoners could see the city before their sentence. It is not possible to walk across the bridge because it is part of a government facility, but it is visible from land or the canal.
If you’re in the mood for a drink, grab a Bellini (Prosecco and peach nectar) at Harry’s Bar, the Bellini’s famous birthplace! Of course, no trip to Venice would be complete without taking a Gondola ride! Gondola rides are pricey but this is the only one place in the world where you can ride an authentic gondola through the canals of a beautiful city more than 1200 years old. This is a once in a lifetime chance to feel what it would be like living as an upper class Venetian living in the old dominant naval city.