With it’s 150 canals, 400 bridges and magnificent 16th and 17th century palaces and piazzas, it is no surprise that Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Founded more than 1500 years ago on 117 different islands it’s gloriously romantic in spring, triumphant in summer, noble in autumn and seductive in winter.
Venice is not a big city and the best way to experience everything it has to offer is by walking through it’s streets and alleys looking at the beautiful canals and the little bridges. The cheapest form of public transport is the “Vaporetto” (water bus) and this is an experience in itself. Water taxis are also available, but be warned these can be expensive, on the plus side they are very fast and able to drive you everywhere you want, providing stunning views of the city.
The gondola, isn’t the most practical way to move around the city but they are undeniably romantic and it will provide an unforgettable experience.
Venice is gorgeous inside and out and the weather shouldn’t alter your travel plans. Bone-chilling weather in January and February can bring crystalline blue skies perfect to admire from Piazza San Marco. The heaviest rain falls are from December to March while July and August tend to be hot and muggy but to see it at it’s emptiest and most atmospheric, come in November, season of mists and tidal flooding. View Venice Tour
Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)
This famous bridge connects the Palazzo delle Prigioni and Palazzo Ducale. It is called Bridge of Sighs because convicits were forced to enter prison through this bridge and according to legend upon their last glimpse of Venice they would let out a sigh.
Campanile di San Marco
The St. Mark bell tower is the highest structure in the city at 97m tall and provides one of the best views of the city but also the most popular. The present structure is a replica, recreated brick for brick after the original which collapsed in 1902 (killing the custodian’s cat in the process). The tower affords breathtaking views over the whole city and the St. Mark Cathedral’s dome.
The Palazzo Mocenigo is a stunning palace built to house one of the most illustrious families in Venice. The paintings, craftsmanship, furniture and traditional clothes displayed are not to be missed.
Santa Maria della Salute
The church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was built in 1630 when the plague finally left the city. Inside the church there are many valuable paintings by Tiziano such as “Doctors of the Church and the Evangelists”, “David and Goliath, Abraham and Isaac”, “Petecost” and many others.
The Venice Ghetto refers to the district where the Venetian republic segregates the Jews to placate the Roman Catholic Church. This enclosed neighbourhood did not have a negative meaning, in fact the Turkish and German merchants also had separate areas to live.
Ponte di Rialto
The Rialto bridge was built in late 16th century as result of a competition held in Venice to replace the older version on the Canal Grande.
On the Canal Grande Ca’ Rezzonico is the 17th century building that houses the Museo del Settecento Veneziano. Erected in 1660 by Baldassarre Longhena it took until 1750 to be completed by Giorgio Massari.
Built in the 15th century this splendid gothic palace once had the façade covered by gold and for this reason the name of the building is Golden House, Ca’ D’Oro.
The palace now houses a fine collection of Byzantine art with paintings, sculptures and bronzes
Basilica di San Marco
This stunning church is one of the major attractions in Venice and is difficult to match. The cathedral houses many treasures such as the Pala d’oro, made of gold, statues, amazing glasses and carvings . The use of the lift here is very popular as it provides spectacular panoramic views over the lagoon.
Piazza San Marco
One of the finest piazzas in the world, San Marco square is surrounded by the Procuratie Nuove, Procuratie Vecchie and Ala Napoleonica.
Venetian cuisine, especially that in the city, is full of traditional dishes that are mostly made using all types of fish and vegetables, with only one limit: the seasons. Indeed it is hard to find dishes on the menus of the restaurants in Venice that have ingredients that are out of season.
We can begin our journey to discover Venetian food with cicchetti (hors d’oevres) that can be found in all the bacari (pubs) counters, that must be eaten with an ombra (glass) of wine. Typical Venetian cicchetti are: fried crab claws, meat balls,half boiler eggs with anchovies, fried vegetables, moscardini (tiny octopus) with polenta, soppressa with polenta and toasted bread with creamed cod, i.e. cooked in milk and then creamed. However, the best hors d’oeuvre by far are the sardee in saor: these are sardines cooked and marinated with onions and vinegar and flavored with raisins and pine nuts.
For pasta dishes, the Venetian cuisine has a lot of different specialties to offer. The risottos, made with scampi or cuttlefish, are famous, although the best known recipe is for risi e bisi, the risotto made with peas that the Doges ate on San Marco’s day. Pasta dishes included spaghetti with clams, spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, bigoli in sauce (bigoli are a sort of long thin pasta with a hole in the middle, with an anchovies and onions sauce), and the popular pasta e fagioli, a tasty winter pasta and bean soup that is served in both the pubs and in the best restaurants in Venice.
For main fish courses, we recommend you try the scampi alla busara, with tomato and chilli pepper, cooked in sauce and cuttlefish cooked in sauce, all accompanied by polenta. Fried moeche is also very popular; these are small crabs fished during the changeover period (spring and fall) when their shells are soft and edible. The most typical main meat course is fegato alla veneziana: this is soft veal liver stewed with a lot of onions.
An entire chapter is needed to talk of the castraure, the famous purple artichokes that are grown on the islands in the lagoon, especially on Sant’Erasmo. They are rare and precious, and were recently classified by Slow Food. They can be eaten in several different ways but only during the harvesting period , which runs from the end of April until the second half of June.
All these wonderful dishes must be accompanied by Venetian wines: Prosecco di Conegliano,Valpolicella, Bianco di Custoza and Amarone. Finally, after the meal we recommend you try a sgroppino (lemon sorbet and prosecco) or a small glass of Bassano Grappa. However, first you must try some typical Venetian sweets such as zaeti, biscuits prepared with polenta flour and raisins and bussolai buranelli, butter biscuits made in a round shape that are wonderful when dunked in sweet Vin Santo.
We can begin our journey to discover Venetian food with cicchetti (hors d’oevres) that can be found in all the bacari (pubs) counters, that must be eaten with an ombra (glass) of wine. Typical Venetian cicchetti are: fried crab claws, meat balls,half boiler eggs with anchovies, fried vegetables, moscardini (tiny octopus) with polenta, soppressa with polenta and toasted bread with creamed cod, i.e. cooked in milk and then creamed. However, the best hors d’oeuvre by far are the sardee in saor: these are sardines cooked and marinated with onions and vinegar and flavored with raisins and pine nuts. View Venice Tour