Venice is a true city on the water and what this means to the people who live here can only be understood after a visit to this incredible city. Everything travels by boat – the police, the postman, the rubbish collectors, the delivery people, ambulances, school buses, public buses. Everything is built on a lagoon with 117 islands making up this city on water. Why build a city on a swamp? Venice was formerly a rich, powerful Republic. How did Venice get so rich and powerful?
St Mark’s Square - this is the hub and centre of Venice – Napoleon called it the largest drawing room in the World. It truly is magnificent and the atmosphere great, but watch out for the prices in the cafes on the square. All roads lead to Rome, but in Venice all roads lead to St Mark’s so if you lose yourself on the backstreets and alleyways of Venice then on just about every street corner you will see a yellow sign with an arrow pointing to St mark’s (per St Marco). Don’t miss St mark’s at night when the whole square is illuminated and classical music is played. Magical!
St Mark’s Basilica – Built to house the relic – the bones of St Mark. Get there early to avoid long queues. Tip – no back packs allowed in the Basilica so if you are carrying one, check it in before standing in the queue.
Campanile – Take the elevator to the top of this bell tower where you can see for miles.
Doges Palace – home of the former ruler of the Venetian republic. See how the Doge lived.
Music – lovely classical music is played at the cafes around St Marks Square, but you will pay for it if you sit down at one of those cafes – you are not paying for what is in the cup or glass but for the music and ambience. It is a great experience, but if you are strapped for cash just sit on the steps and enjoy the atmosphere.
Rialto Bridge – one of 3 bridges over the Grand canal. There is a market on this covered bridge.
Murano – for glass blowing.
Burano – lace and lovely coloured houses.
Torcello – only 50 people live here and just a stone’s throw from Burano.
Get accommodation on the Lido Island, it’s away from the crowds, eating and drinking is reasonable and it is only 10 minutes by Vaporetto to St Marks.
Get into St Marks early – before 11 it is much less crowded with shorter queues.
Don’t miss – Campanile. Burano and Torcello.
Eating and Drinking – away from the main sights.
Shopping Rialto Bridge.