by Janis on 21st June 2022 / 0 comments

So this post is our light-hearted view of Venice in Italy.

It has some of the interesting stuff, a few trivial facts, and our thoughts on this captivating city of weaving waterways.
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The Location

The Three C's
Continent
Europe
Country
Italy
Capital
Rome

The magnificent city of Venice was founded in the 5th – century. Its years of ancient history can be found along every narrow alleyway and around every hidden corner.

Venice and its Lagoon was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Venice is still monitored closely by UNESCO, especially around the concerns of over-tourism, which is causing severe damage to the city.

Incredibly Venice is built on a group of 118 small islands and has over 400 bridges linking them together. It felt like we wandered over most of them after three days.

During the Middle Ages, Venice became a vast influential power within the maritime industry.

Venice’s main cemetery lies on its own island, ‘Isola di San Michele’, located between Venice and Murano. You can hop off the Vaporetto and make a visit.

Fra Mauro, a Venetian Camaldolese monk and cartographer, created one of the most significant historical maps of the world in the mid-15th - century. Marking the end of Bible-based geography.

The beautiful island of Murano is world-renowned for its production of glassmaking. Venetian glassmakers moved to Murano in 1291, and their legacy ensures that glassmakers have continued to create the most spectacular pieces of work to this day.

Where's Venice in the world?

Venice Up Close

Venice is the perfect location for an Italian mini-break, especially in spring. There are so many delightful piazzas to discover, meandering canals to stroll along and incredible architecture to admire.

There is much to love about Venice, the “City of Bridges”.

Venice is incredibly easy to explore on foot as long as you don’t mind criss-crossing the maze of charming bridges and getting lost in the labyrinth of enchanting lanes. But hey, that’s the fun of Venice.

National Flag

Italian Flag

Regional Flag

Flag of Venice
It’s good to talk
Language
Language: Italian (English is widely spoken)
International Dialling Code
+39-6
Currency
Euro (EUR)
Timezone
Central European Time (CET)
Difference from UTC
+1 Hour

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Did you know?

  • Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, invented the bubbly cocktail the Bellini. The delectable drink is served in a Champagne glass, made up of 2 parts Prosecco and one part peach puree.
  • From 2023, day-trippers to Venice will have to pay €10 a ‘tourist tax’ to enter the historical city. You will be required to book in advance; in other words, “if your name’s not down, you’re not coming in”.
  • That Venice’s world-famous annual masked carnival finishes at midnight on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday.
  • The remarkable explorer and merchant Marco Polo was born in Venice in 1254. Also, the Italian adventurer, author philanderer Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice in April 1725.
  • Ponte dei Pungi, the Bridge of Fists, is where for many centuries, rival Venetian clans would come knuckle to knuckle with each other and typically end up in the canal. This unusual tradition ended in 1705 when, unfortunately, one confrontation ended in a bloodbath.
  • You thought there were a lot of gondolas today; well, in the 1500s, there were around 10,000 different types of gondolas. Towards the end of the 19th – century, there were an estimated 4,000; now there are roughly 400.
  • The family-run Domenico Tramontin & Figli gondola boatyard, founded in 1884, is still building and repairing gondolas today. It’s fascinating to watch.
  • There are beaches in Venice. Head to the Lido di Venezia where the Venice Film Festival is held annually, and you’ll be topping up your tan with sand beneath your feet

Food and drink

Prawn risotto
One of our culinary memories from our trip to Venice was visiting the island of Burano. Amongst the colourful lanes of Burano, we spotted a lovely restaurant, took a seat outside in the sunshine and had the most delicious prawn risotto I’ve ever tasted.
Gelato
When I think of Italy, I think of gelato. Nobody quite does ice-cream like the Italians, so why wouldn’t you sample an abundance of flavours.
Pasta
Oh yes, the simplicity of pasta. Mouthwatering fresh pasta, drizzled with olive oil or adorned with a simple sauce, and you have a winner on your hands.
Aperol Spritz
You can’t visit Venice and not indulge in an Aperol Spritz. I know it sounds corny, but I remember sitting by the Grand Canal overlooking the Rialto Bridge and savouring an Aperol Spritz. Such lovely memories.

If you're lured by beautiful architecture and meandering waterways I urge you to visit Venice. I found this DK Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide invaluable, they're extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into a voyage of discovery.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our wanderings around Venice, now you can grab the revised copy.

See & Do in Venice

Strolling the Grand Canal
If there’s water to be explored, then I’m there, and luckily Venice is surrounded by it. The Grand Canal is really quite special; wend your way to the Ponte dell'Accademia, and you’ll catch one of the most amazing views in Italy.
St Mark’s Square
The Piazza San Marco is enchanting; you’re encircled by so many stylish and elegant buildings it is breath-taking. The Campanile is so iconic to Venice, along with Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Gothic-style Doges’ Palace.
Murano and Burano
If you have the time, you must visit the colourful islands of Murano and Burano. Both islands are incredibly picturesque. Burano, with its vibrantly painted homes, will bring a smile to your face. Perhaps like me, you’ll pick up some Murano glass earrings.
Take a gondola ride
I have to be honest, I wasn’t going to take a gondola trip; however, when we arrived, I was easily won over. You gain such a stunning perspective of the Italian city and appreciate how vulnerable and delicate Venice is.
Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is only one of four bridges spanning the Grand Canal; however, it is the oldest. The present-day bridge dates from 1591 and is a magnificent piece of architecture. The attractive central portico is lined with shops on either side.
Venice’s historic lanes
There is nothing Gary and I love more than just strolling around a historic town or city. Exploring new districts and discovering quirky and interesting facts along the way.
Bridge of Sighs
The enclosed limestone ‘Bridge of Sighs’ crosses the Rio di Palazzo and connects the interrogation rooms at Doge’s Palace with the New Prison. The view from the tiny windows would have been the prisoner’s last sight of Venice.
Venice’s mix of architecture
The architecture throughout Venice is stunning, from the simple shop fronts to the stylish Rococo designs. The prominent styling is Gothic and Venetian Gothic. For a striking example, stroll past the Rialto Market and on the opposite side of the Grand Canal is Ca' d'Oro.
Don’t forget to have a peek at our post '16 very good excuses to visit Venice.'

In the movies

Casino Royal
James Bond is on the trail of Le Chiffre, a banker to terrorists. Although 007 movies are shot at various locations around the globe, I always remember the closing scenes of Casino Royal when Bond and Vesper Lynd sail into the Grand Canal in Venice.
The Tourist
The 2010 movie The Tourist stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Angelina’s character is on the run with her disguised husband (Steven Berkoff). As a decoy, Angelina befriends Johnny Depp, and twisting tales ensue.
Death in Venice
The novel by German author Thomas Mann and the 1971 movie adaptation starring Dirk Bogarde. Bogarde plays an avant-garde composer who travels to Venice to seek relaxation. However, he develops a disconcerting infatuation with an adolescent on holiday with his family. The story unfolds…..no spoilers here.
William Shakespeare
Oh, yes, the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare. Two of Shakespeare’s works were set around Venice, the first ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and the tales of the moneylender Shylock. The second is the tragedy ‘Othello’ set within the Ottoman-Venetian War. The life of Othello and his wife Desdemona unravels with devastating consequences.

Where we stayed in Venice

- While we were in Venice our accommodation while we were in Venice, was at the wonderful Al Ponte Antico Hotel, with a great view of the Rialto Bridge. It was our bit of luxury for the break, we had a room that overlooked the Grand Canal & it even had its own pontoon.

Find your accommodation

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Return-a-bility

or What are the chances of us revisiting?
95%
(0% - You'll have to drag us over hot coals to go back 100% - Why am I not there now?)

Notes

Venice is a magnificent city, and although it is incredible visiting the main tourist sights, we love heading to the quieter and less-visited spots. There’s always more to discover.

Value for Money

Our value for money index.
Don't forget we're Londoners, and that means our baseline is quite high.

70%
(0% - How much? I wanted to buy a drink, not the bar 100% - How much? I'll take two.)

Notes

It is Venice, after all. The city is incredibly captivating, and to experience the vibrant Italian culture, you may need to splash out a little bit. Although if you’re on a budget, seek out the lanes further away from the hotspots, and there are some delightful local restaurants to be found.

What to experience in Venice

  •  Venice is somewhat unique in the fact that you have to walk everywhere, although, to be perfectly honest, it’s the best way to discover the beating heart of a location. Don your comfy shoes and wend your way aimlessly through the narrow winding streets.
  • Ensure you visit the Rialto food market, on the banks of the magnificent Grand Canal. The bustling market can also boast of having the astounding backdrop of the Rialto Bridge; food shopping doesn’t get much better.

Venice Visitor Info

Getting around town

What's it like discovering the city?
Is it walkable? do you need to use public transport? did we leave with weary feet?

95%
(0% - It's mountainous and public transport's a joke 100% - I'm in paradise.)

Notes

As you would expect, the streets amongst the lagoon islands of Venice are pedestrian-only. To experience Venice from a different perspective, enjoy a Gondola ride through the captivating canals.

To visit Venice’s outer island, hop aboard a Vaporetto. I highly recommend planning your journey earlier in the morning as these convenient waterbuses can get pretty busy if you are heading to Murano and Burano.

Janis's Hi's & Lo's

Highlights

Visiting Saint Mark’s Square will always remain in my memory; it truly needs to be seen to be believed. However, I loved exploring the quieter parts of Venice; you gain a greater understanding of a location and especially how unique Venice is.

Lowlights

Venice can get extremely busy and hot; I would personally avoid the summer months. We visited in springtime, and it was perfect. My little bugbear was a noticeable lack of seating around the piazzas and streets. Sometimes you just want to rest for a few minutes and watch the world pass by.

Gary's Hi's & Lo's

Highlights

It has to be the sense of mystery; as you discover the city, you wander, get a little lost, and then stumble across something unsuspected. It's fabulous. I also liked finding out that the Venetians gave the English language words like 'Arsenal', 'Lido' & ' Ghetto'.

Lowlights

I'm with Janis on this, public seating - how difficult is it? I know you want the tourist to pop into the cafes & bars, but we don't always want to.

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