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Venice is situated across a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges, of which there are 400. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers (more exactly between the Brenta and the Sile). Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Venice is divided into six areas called sestieri: Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro (including the isla Giudecca and Sacca Fisola), Santa Croce, San Marco (including San Giorgio Maggiore) and Castello (including San Pietro di Castello and Sant’Elena). The six fingers or phalanges of the ferro on the bow of a gondola represent the six sestieri.
Tourism has been a major sector of Venetian industry since the 18th century, when it was a major center for the Grand Tour, with its beautiful cityscape, uniqueness, and rich musical and artistic cultural heritage. In the 19th century, it became a fashionable centre for the “rich and famous”, often staying or dining at luxury establishments such as the Danieli Hotel and the Caffè Florian. It continued being a fashionable city in vogue right into the early 20th century. In the 1980s, the Carnival of Venice was revived and the city has become a major centre of international conferences and festivals, such as the prestigious Venice Biennale and the Venice Film Festival, which attract visitors from all over the world for their theatrical, cultural, cinematic, artistic, and musical productions.
How to get here
It is easy to reach Venice by car with the following motorway and road connections: A4 from Trieste and from Turin, A27 from Belluno, A13 from Bologna, and the state roads SS.309 Romea from the Adriatic Coast, SS.14 from Trieste, SS.13 from Treviso, SS.11 from Padua.
Venice is always clearly sign posted.
Once you have arrived near the lagoon, get on to the Ponte della Libertà - a long straight line with two lanes linking Venice to the mainland -follow the signs for Venice and you will arrive at Piazzale Roma. Here you have to leave your car and start your adventure in Venice, on foot or by waterbus.
Three are the parking areas at Piazzle Roma: the Autorimessa Comunale, the Garage S.Marco and the small open air car park S.Andrea.
The only railway station in Venice is Santa Lucia. It is connected to the rest of Italy with Eurostar, Intercity, Iterregional and local trains. Luggage can be easily transported out of the station using the carts available and out through the appropriate exit ramp side. You can leave your luggage in the luggage left near platform 14), open daily from 06.00 to 24.00. You can, however, turn to the Cooperative Trasbagagli for transport in the city, far more problematic.
Venice is close to two airports, Marco Polo of Tessera/Venice and Sant’Angelo of Treviso. The first is 12 km from Venice and is well connected to the city and to the Mestre railway station both by land and by water. The Sant’Angelo Treviso airport, on the other hand, is about 30 km from Venice but is well connected by highway.
what to see....
Part of the mystery and allure of Venice is that this Italian lagoon sanctuary has remained remarkably intact and unchanged for many centuries. With its magical alleyways, romantic bridges, and golden domes, Venice seems to literally rise from the waters. This fairytale city is best known for its lagoon thoroughfare, the Grand Canal, flanked on both sides by stunning examples of Venetian architecture. Both the Basilica di San Marco and Palazzo Ducale stand in all their glory at the end of the canal.
The best way to see the canal and the tiny waterways that break off from it, is through the primary form of transportation in Venice since the 12th century - the gondola, preferably steered by a gondolier in traditional garb. Venice, however, is not all about water. Hiding behind the glorious palazzos that line the banks of the canal are charming backstreets, where each building seems to be a work of art unto itself. Intimate churches hug stone homes along cobbled walkways. In the heart of Venice, you will find one of the city’s six sestieri (boroughs), San Marco, home to some of the city’s famous sites, such as St Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and many famous churches.
what to visit....
The majestic Piazza San Marco with: the Basilica di San Marco, a Byzantine marvel, the Torre dell’Orologio, and the Doge’s Palace, a Gothic palace that was also the seat of the government under the Venetian Republic.
Bridge of Sighs situated near the Piazza San Marco, was part of the Doge’s Palace prison complex, convicts had to cross it to go from the Doge’s interrogation rooms to the New Prison.
The Jewish District was the world’s first ghetto, with numerous synagogues, Jewish restaurants, delicious bakeries and a museum.
Murano, Burano and Torcello, the three most famous islands near Venice. Murano is famous for its beautiful glass, Burano for its lace, and Torcello for its cathedral built in the 7th century, the ruins of its baptistery are a striking example of Byzantine art.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection houses the art of the most influential European and American artists of the 20th century.
The Grand Canal is a waterway that runs through the center of Venice, from the railway station to San Marco, on the sides stand the beautiful palazzi.
As one of the bridges that spans the impressive Grand Canal, the Ponte di Rialto is undoubtedly the most famous and iconic.
Gallerie Dell’Accademia hosts a fine collection of pre-19th century art and features works by artists such as Bellini, Canaletto and Titian.
what to eat....
Venetian cuisine is known especially because of the high quality of seafood that is served in the area. The lagoon is a local source of fish that are freshly caught each day and served in many restaurants. Baccalà Mantecato is one of the most typical fish dishes, consisting of dried, salted cod that is blended with garlic, parsley, potatoes and cream to make a delicious mousse.
Sarde in saor, fried sardine fillets marinated in vinegar, onions, raisins and pine nuts, a sweet-sour dish.
Risi e bisi, or Venetian-style rice and peas, is made with vialone nano rice, pancetta, onion, butter, parsley and surprisingly enough, pea-shell broth.
Bigoli in salsa are long, thick, whole-wheat strands of pasta resembling spaghetti. A salsa or sauce consisting of onions and salt-cured fish (sardines or anchovies) is then used to accompany the pasta.
Fegato alla veneziana, made with calf liver and stewed onions.It is often served on a creamy bed of polenta.
Mołéche, small green crabs, are a seasonal, springtime delicacy eaten after they shed their shells. Delightfully soft and tender, these crabs lend themselves well to fried dishes and salads.
Goose, meatballs and lobster are just a few of the other delicacies.
what to buy...
Shopping in Venice can be overwhelming for an abundance of choices .
Murano glass is world famous and there is only one place in the world where it is manufactured - the small island of Murano, where you’ll have the opportunity to watch the process of Murano glass creation (as well as to buy it) in many of the local factories open for visitors.
Burano lace - Lace has been manufactured there for over 400 years and is still exported nearly all over the world. The lace technique is very complicated and, therefore, one can say that it really is an artwork in its own right.
Fabrics - Precious brocade, damasks, pillows, Gobelins, curtains, drapes for your dining tables, chairs and more
Doorknockers, you can see them on many doors of the local historic buildings. Doorknockers, made of metal, often feature an animal head; for Venice, it is traditionally a lion’s head.
Bellini, a cocktail invented in Venice about 80 years ago by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of the world famous Harry’s Bar. The Bellini consists of peaches and Prosecco (Italian version of Champagne).
And...Handmade Shoes; The famous masks; Gondolier’s Hat: Handmade Boats, gondole and Ships; Baicoli, a typical Venetian biscuit; Handmade Paper; Venetian gondola kit; papusse venexiane: the famous velvet slippers; hand-made wooden creations....