venice City Breaks
Venice has to be one of the most enchanting cities in Europe. Although there are days in summer when tourists outnumber locals by two to one, it's important to remember that, even at peak visitor times, you are never more than a bridge and an alley away from a more secluded city. There's a reason why crowds come to Venice: the sheer loveliness of an exquisite city that seems miraculously built on water, full of secret piazzas, handsome Gothic palazzi and lively restaurants and bars.
St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs. Take a ride on a waterbus along the Grand Canal to experience the sights and sounds of Venice’s busiest waterway. Take any turning off one of the main thoroughfares and just lose yourself in the network of alleyways, relishing the serenity of a city devoid of cars.
Culture abounds in Venice. The Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in St Mark’s Square is a Gothic palace from where the Doges ruled the Venetian Empire. Inside the palace you’ll see wonderful art (paintings by Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese), majestic staircases and the Doge's apartments, while outside sits the famous Bridge of Sighs.
There are also a number of excellent museums in the area of St Mark’s Square including the Museo Correr and the Archaeological Museum. “Carnevale” - the famous Venice Carnival - takes place annually during the fortnight leading up to Shrove Tuesday. At this time masked balls and other special events take place throughout Venice and the city is filled with thousands of masked, cloaked and robed revellers.
Eat and Drink
Delicious seafood direct from the Rialto market, scrumptious risottos brimming with flavour or handmade pasta washed down with local wine. Try cichetti – small snacks and appetizers unique to Venice - at one of the small back street bacari bars frequented by locals and far away from the more expensive (and less typical) tourist traps.
For beautiful Murano glassware, handmade paper, Carnevale masks and lace from the Island of Burano in the Venice Lagoon (but watch out for cheap imitations imported from the far east). The Rialto Food Markets have been described as a “visual feast” and here you can mix with the locals as they buy their fresh fish from the “Pescheria” and vegetables from the wonderfully colourful “Erberia”. It’s best to arrive early if you want to experience the markets in full swing.
The lesser known area of Dorsoduro in the south of Venice Island, just a hop over the Grand Canal via the Accademia bridge. This area has as many great museums, galleries and churches, but a fraction of the crowds in the area around St Mark’s and prices are much cheaper. The area of Cannaregio in the northernmost part of the island retains a down-to-earth village feeling, where there are still butchers and bakers rather than mask and glass shops and you can still enjoy a real slice of genuine Venetian life. Highlights of this area are Santa Maria dei Miracoli, a Renaissance marble treasure, Fondamenta della Misericordia - an attractive canalside walk, with bars and restaurants, and the Jewish Ghetto - the origin of the term 'ghetto', home to Venice's Jewish population for centuries.
A standard ticket on the ACTV Vaporetto (waterbus) will take you to the island of Venice Lido which is Venice’s “seaside”. This is a narrow strip of land which separates the central part of the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. It was developed as a seaside resort at the beginning of the twentieth century, and has been popular for beach holidays ever since. There are leafy residential avenues, many hotels and ice-cream shops on every corner. Murano – famous for its glass factories, and the quieter island of Burano are fascinating island communities in their own right, another pleasant waterbus ride from the city centre.
Hot, humid summers with coldish winters (0 - 3ºC is common) with frequent winter fogs. Floods (“aqua alta”) occur most frequently from November to March. Raised boardwalks ensure you can still wander the streets and piazzas.
From November to March if you are looking to save money and avoid the crowds, excluding the time of Carnevale.
Goes well with
Florence and/or Rome, both easily reached by train
With so many memories of this magical city.
In Our Opinion
Slip away from the stripy shirts and strains of ‘O Sole Mio’ and you will be overawed by the beauty, elegance and grandeur of this most unique city.
Thank you to your office staff for their courteousness & helpfulness...Florence & Venice
Combining with a stay in Florence, Rome or Lake Garda