Venice is a city of canals and amazing architecture that keeps attracting visitors from all over the world. What could be more romantic than a gondola ride on a Venice canal? Venice remained an independent city-state for more than 1000 years, until it was conquered by Napoleon in the end of the XVIII century. This city is home to a large number of historical sites and monuments of architecture and art. However, tourists are not recommended to limit their stay in Venice to visiting famous sightseeing attractions. Make sure you have enough time to wander in this amazing Italian city and discover its real charm. Make a walk to, for example, a quarter, where there are no or almost no tourists. Each quarter in Venice has its own character, and there’s nothing surprising in this when you remember that the city is built on 117 islands connected by more than 400 bridges and about 160 channels. Do not forget that riding a car is prohibited in the center of Venice. If you have a car, it would be better to leave it at the parking lot (map of parkings
) and get to the center by boat.
1. Tourists are recommended to travel the city on foot as this is the best way to explore all major attractions of Venice. The channels are full of small boats, which are more like public transport...
San Marco Square (Piazza San Marco) (show on map
) forms the center of Venice. This is also the lowest point in the city, and because of this the square is constantly flooded with water, especially in winter. San Marco Square is surrounded by beautiful buildings - the Basilica of San Marco
, the Palazzo Ducale di Venezia
, the Campanile belfry
and the Marciana Library
. To the right of the basilica you will find Piazetta Square that leads to the Grand Canal. The first San Marco Church was built in the IX century in order to store the relics of Saint Marcus that were stolen by Venetians from Alexandria. This church was burned in a fire, and then a new church was built on the same site. That church was destroyed in the XI century. The modern basilica is built on the foundation of that church. By the way, some historians believe that the relics stored in this church are the remains of Alexander the Great, and not St. Marcus – the relics of the great conqueror disappeared at the same time, when the relics of St. Marcus were found. The basilica has five domes and a large number of arches, turrets and other architectural decorations that have appeared over the centuries due to the treasures, brought by Venetian ships from the East. Therefore, today, one can see Byzantine silver, gold and utensils, captured during the Fourth Crusade in the XIII century, in the treasury of the basilica (Tresoro). The quadriga that adorns the pediment of the basilica was brought as a trophy at the same time. By the way, the horses on the front, which visitors see today, are a replica of the original that has been kept behind the glass since 1990.
The basilica itself has often been the victim of looting. Thus, during the capture of Venice by Napoleon, jewels that decorated the icons of the golden altar (Pala d'Oro) and the main altar of the church were stolen. However, these days the composition made of numerous medium-sized icons is in a fairly good condition. The Napoleon army also stole the front quadriga, but it was returned to Venice in 1815.
Venice is famous for its magnificent national holidays. Every year Carnival of Venice alone attracts thousands of enthusiastic visitors from all over the world. The carnival was held in 1296 for the...
Palazzo Ducale di Venezia
is located next to San Marco Basilica
. Many years ago the rulers of the Republic of Venice used to live there. The Dodge of Venice was elected by the aristocracy and performed his duties until his death. The Doge ruled Venice together with the Council of Ten. Initially, doge was granted a great power, which was, however, severely limited in the XIII century as the result of efforts of wealthy Venetian families who wanted to have a greater impact on the city. Since that time, doge could do almost nothing without consulting the Council of Ten. The palace in the gothic style was built between 1309 and 1424 on the foundation of the IX century. Its architecture clearly shows the influence of the East – one can clearly see this in the design of open arcades of the first and second floors. The palace has three wings built around the courtyard that is, in its turn, mostly famous thanks to a large staircase (Scala dei Giganti). In the past, the staircase was used during governmental visits and official ceremonies, such as the inauguration of a new doge. The interior of the palace is decorated with sculptures, paintings and gold leaves. The eastern wall of the hall of Sala del Maggior Consiglio is the location of a famous work of Tintoretto "Paradise". The most monumental work of the artist, the creation of which lasted ten years, is 7.45m in height and 24.65 meters in width!
The Doge's Palace was home to all the most important political institutions of the Republic of Venice. A part of the palace was occupied by offices of lawyers and naval officers, the chancellor and the censor of the city. There was even a separate room for people who wanted to make a complaint. The room was called Bussola. In Piazetta Square tourists will see a huge gate made in the late gothic style. This is Porta della Carta
, the main entrance to the palace. The gate was built by the renowned Venetian architects, brothers Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon. On the back, the Doge’s Palace, which also housed the court, is connected with the former prison by the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). Nowadays, this bridge has become a symbol of romantic Venice - a kiss in a gondola under the bridge promises the couple eternal love. However, it should be noted that sighs that gave the name to the bridge, were not caused by love, but by farewell - the convicted people sighed, looking at Venice for the last time.
In addition to cultural activities and excursions, Venice can offer its guests numerous ways of interesting pastime. Harry's Bar is one of the most popular nightlife destinations in the city. For...
By the way, a ride in gondola on Venice's canals is entertainment for romantic travelers with big wallets. Locals use gondolas only during weddings or funerals. However, one must admit that it is possible to get the best impression of Venice only during a ride in a gondola on Canal Grande
, the most beautiful of the 177 channels of the city. This canal is surrounded by beautiful palaces that stand on the both sides of it.
Speaking of Venice, it is impossible not to mention the famous Venetian Carnival, during which the canals and the streets of the city are filled with thousands of people in carnival costumes and masks. The holiday is usually finished by Venetian "Mardi Gras" and fireworks in Piazza San Marco.