Venice is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Surrounded by water, the city’s islands are joined by bridges. Venice is famous for its canals and is said to be sinking, although extremely slowly, so there’s nothing to worry about just yet. Visiting this Italian city is on almost every European traveller’s list and it’s well worth it. With so many things to do and see in Venice, it was hard to narrow it down, but here are the top five things you absolutely cannot miss out on when you’re there.
1.Ride Through The Canals In A Gondola
The popular mode of transport in Venice is by boat, so it’s only fitting that every tourist experiences a ride through the canals on a Venetian rowing boat: the gondola. Gondolas used to be the main means of transport back in the day; these days however, it is used predominantly to take tourists on sightseeing tours around the city.
The gondolas are rowed by gondoliers, who all hold a licence for it. They dress in the traditional uniform of black pants and a striped top, making the experience that much more authentic. The boats can hold up to six people, but many couples take the opportunity to go on a romantic boat ride for two. If you plan on visiting Venice you’ll need to save up for riding in a gondola as it will set you back about £68 (€80) in the day and £85 (£100) at night.
2.Explore Piazza San Marco
If you really want to experience the hustle and bustle of Venice, the best thing to do is visit the heart of it: Piazza San Marco, or St Mark’s Square. The huge square is a mix of culture, history and awe-inspiring architecture, dating as far back as the 9th century. The square is also home to many shops and little side street cafes, making it a popular hangout spot for tourists and locals alike. Get your dose of history by exploring the west side of the square (rebuilt by Napoleon no less), before discovering the Gothic architecture of Doge’s Palace, as well as Venice’s most famous church, St Mark’s Basilica. The Clock Tower is also in the square, where you can admire the large, unique clock of golden zodiac signs. Lastly, for the ultimate bird’s eye-view of the city, make your way to the top of the Campanile. This bell tower is a staggering 323 feet high and serves as the landmark of Venice.
3.Go On The Grand Canal Tour
When visiting any city, it’s usually a must-do to walk down its most famous street. You’ll experience something a little different in Venice though, with its most famous street being a canal over 2 miles long. The Grand Canal runs through the city and is always filled with traffic – of the boat kind. There are many places that organise tours of the Grand Canal, also giving tourists an opportunity to brush up on the histories of the buildings they ride past. If you want to save cash though, I would suggest going on a vaporetto, or water bus, as they are generally cheap and travel all along the canal. What better way to spend an hour of your day in Venice than sailing past the Gothic and Renaissance architecture along the banks of the canal.
4. Visit Murano Island
When you walk around the shops or souvenir stores of Venice, you’ll notice the beautifully delicate glass items for sale. Venice, or more specifically Murano, is renowned for their glass. Murano Island is a short boat trip off the shore of Venice (less than a mile) and it’s here where you can witness the breathtaking art of glass blowing. Dating all the way back to the days of the Roman Empire, glass blowers use an array of techniques to create some of the world’s most beautiful glass – which becomes actual glasses, jewelry, lamps, chandeliers, ornaments and plenty more. When you arrive at the island, the best would be to visit one of the glass factories before making your way to the Murano Glass Museum. Make sure to buy yourself an object made from this glass – they make it in many forms – multi-coloured, crystals and gems.
5. Eat Like The Locals Do
While most people think of Italian food being pizzas and pastas, Venetian food is a little different from the general stereotype. Along the coast, seafood dishes prove to be the staple diet in this city, while duck is also a very popular meat there. Traditional cuisine is polenta, a cornmeal porridge that can accompany a variety of dishes, and it can be fried and baked too. If you’re not too keen on eating like the locals do, and you would prefer to eat like a tourist in Italy, then of course you can indulge in amazing pizza, pasta, tiramisu and gelato until your heart’s content. Beware though, there are gelato stands on every corner and you will find yourself tempted to try out every flavour.
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