Visitors Guide to Venice
One of the jewels of Italy, Venice is known throughout the world for its stunning architecture and miles of canals. Consisting of 117 separate islands linked by a series of historic bridges, canals and pavements, Venice is visited each year by many thousands of tourists. Home to some of the world most stunning buildings, impressive museums and art galleries, and a large selection of top restaurants, Venice has much to offer and rarely disappoints.
Central Venice consists of six main regions, Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, San Polo and San Marco, each full of local charm and appeal. One of the most famous landmarks in the city, San Marco Square is the only public square in Venice and offers a rich heritage, with the magnificent buildings of Doge’s Palace and the Basilica San Marco nearby. Castello is the most historical area of the city and is known for its Arsenale ship-building yard.
On the northern side of Venice, Cannaregio contains the Santa Lucia Railway Station, with nearby Santa Croce linking the city to Italy’s mainland. The smallest area of the city is the San Polo district, which offers many local eateries and inns. On Venice’s southern side you will find the district of Dorsoduro, which contains the notable 17th-century Dogana da Mar.
Transport in Venice:
Central Venice is easy to traverse on food, being generally well pedestrianized. Popular methods of transport include inexpensive water buses and more pricey motorboat taxis, both of which offer a convenient and extremely scenic way to travel around the canals. Connected by rail to many large cities in both Italy and Europe, Venice stands on the A4 Autostrada.
The city is home to a large and busy airport, which is located around 8 miles / 13 km from the centre and caters for many international airlines. Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport is easy to reach by a range of transportation, such as buses, cars, taxis, boats and rail.
No trip to Venice would be complete without a trip in a traditional gondola and the city is geared up towards the tourist trade, with many must-see sights and attractions. Some of the most popular things to see in Venice include the numerous palaces and historic structures, such as the Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto), the Palazzo Mocenigo, the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and a host of churches. The city is also home to countless trendy shopping areas, which are lined with local boutiques and specialist shops, together with a number of colourful markets.
Some of the most outstanding art galleries and museums in the city include the Marciano Museum, the Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico), the Accademia Gallery and the Contini Gallery. The watery city of Venice is also home to a surprising number of green spaces and parklands, such as the Royal Gardens (Giardinetti Reali) and the Giardino Giusti. Nearby Venice you will find a many interesting and appealing towns worth a visit, such as Burano, which is just a short trip by ferry and is known for its lace making.
Throughout the year, many major events are held in the Venice area and consist of religious festivals, cultural events and sports. Events not to be missed include seasonal carnival in Venice, the Festa di San Marco at the end of April, the Festa Medioevale del Vino Soave Bianco Soave each May, the Vogalonga rowing regatta in May, the Venice International Film Festival at the end of August, and also the New Year’s Eve masses in the city’s Catholic churches.
Full of elegant and trendy boutiques, independent shops and vibrant markets, the city could be called a ‘shopper’s paradise’ and offers plenty of genuine bargains. The best shopping areas in Venice are around the San Marco region, the Mercerie and also close to the Calle dei Fabbri. Also, regular fish markets are held alongside the Grand Canal and are popular with both locals and visitors to the city.
With a vast selection of restaurants, cafes and eateries for dining in Venice, there is a great variety of traditional Italian dishes, which include freshly made pizzas, pastas, paninis, cheeses and salads. Many other types of cuisine are also available aimed at tourists visiting the city, such as fast-food outlets and bars. Al fresco dining is particularly popular in the city and around the San Marco area, known locally as the ‘Piazza San Marco’.
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