Easily one of the most romantic cities in the world, Venice is Italy’s “sinking city”. Full of winding canals, historic landmarks and 18th century charm, a trip to Venice is like taking a step back in time.
Whether you want to soak up Venice’s Medieval past through its museums and attractions, take things easy on a gondola ride, or indulge in true Venetian cuisine, here’s some top things to do in and around Venice!
THE GRAND CANAL
You can take a private taxi ride along this wide stretch of canal, bordered by centuries-old palaces and churches. It’s worth a ride just for the photo opportunities alone, and to get an idea of how Venice’s major water-traffic corridor connects the city.
If you’ve heard of one café in Venice, it may well be Caffè Florian on Piazza San Marco. It’s not cheap, but this elegant 17th century building was a favourite with the likes of Casanova, and today is a thriving local institution where you can enjoy a coffee and cake or a light lunch.
THE JEWISH DISTRICT
The Ghetto of San Girolamo was the world’s first ghetto, established in 1516 when the Venetian Republic restricted Jews to this area of the city alone. It meant that until 1797 when the law was revoked, families were confined to just over an acre of land until the area was expanded a little.
With a heart wrenching yet interesting history, the Jewish quarter still retains scars of the past and a great insight into how the community once lived. There are synagogues and a Jewish Museum to visit too.
A true masterpiece of Gothic architecture, Doge’s Palace was used as the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice. It is comprised of three large blocks or ‘wings’ that have been renovated over time.
You’ll find grand reception rooms, council chambers, courtyard and former prison chambers. Much of the palace interiors feature work from artists including Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto. The site on St Mark’s Sqaure features a bookshop, café, restrooms and an information desk.
Another great recommendation for foodies that is famous among locals for its seasonal sweets and pastries, especially throughout Carnival. Pasticceria Tonolo make the best homemade cannoli, fresh fruit tarts, buttery biscuits and fluffy frittelle – their signature fried dough balls filled with chocolate, raisins, cream or custard.
ST. MARKS BASILICA
One of the most famous buildings in Venice stands proudly on St. Mark’s Square next to Doge’s Palace. Completed in the 10th century, it became the cathedral church of Venice in 1802 and is characterised by the hundreds of ornate domes, columns and sculptures. Inside, the ceilings are adorned with mosaic designs and colourful illustrations of a fascinating past.
Just over half an hour from Venice by vaporetto, Burano is a picture perfect fishing island of colourful houses and seafood restaurants. The remote island is also home to the old Church of San Martino, and the Venice Lace Museum which showcases the intricate work that went into lace making in the 16th and 17th centuries.