Venice, the ethereal city drifting on the dreams of romantic thoughts.
Situated on islands in the north-east of Italy, Venice is known for its maritime history, Carnavale and occasional flooding. A city packed with history and culture, it is suitable for the culture vulture or a couple's romantic get-away.
The Italian equivalent to Buckingham Palace the Palazzo Ducale offers works by Tintoretto, a Golden Staircase and access to the Bridge of Sighs. Walk over the bridge to the old prisons in the footsteps of the likes of Casanova.
Opening Hours: from April 1st to October 31st 8.30 am – 7 pm (last admission 6 pm)
from November 1st to March 31st 8.30 am – 5.30 pm (last admission 4.30 pm)
Closed on December 25th and January 1st
Piazza San Marco
Napoleon is attributed as saying that the piazza is the 'drawing room of Europe'. It is certainly beautiful with the Basilica, campanile and colonnaded arcades edging a space that has been at the heart of Venice's history.
The Jewish Quarter offers a pleasant stroll in one of the least touristy neighbourhood in Venice. It was here that the Jews were confined during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, only disbanded when Napoleon turned up in 1797. A diminishing Jewish community still resides in this area.
The Museum Pass is the cumulative ticket for the permanent collection of the Musei Civici of Venice currently open and for those connected (Palazzo Fortuny and Clock Tower not included). This ticket is valid for 6 months and grants one single admission to each museum.
The Museum Pass grants entrance to the following museums:
THE ST MARK’S SQUARE MUSEUM
Doge’s Palace; Museo Correr; Museo Archeologico Nazionale; Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana
OTHER CIVIC MUSEUMS OF VENICE
Ca’ Rezzonico – Museum of 18th-Century Venice; Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo*; Carlo Goldoni’s House; Ca’ Pesaro, International Gallery of Modern Art + Oriental Art Museum; Glass Museum – Murano; Lace Museum – Burano; Natural History Museum
Full price ‘Museum Pass’: 24,00 euros
Reduced ‘Museum Pass’ : 18,00 euros
St. Mark's Basilica
The jewel in Venice's crown, the Basilica fills one end of the Piazza San Marco. Originally the chapel for the dukes of Venice, after 1,000 years it became the city's cathedral in 1807. Filled with gold and silver treasures, the greatest of which is the golden high altar (Pala d'Oro), and artwork the basilica is more than a place of religious worship.
The opening hours to the different areas are numerous, as are the ticket prices - go to http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/eng/visite/orari.bsm?cat=6&subcat=3 for details.
Santa Maria della Salute
On entering the Grand Canal towards the Piazza San Marco the church of Santa Maria della Salute, known simply as Salute, greets the visitor. One of the plague churches built as thanks for deliverance from the plague, this Baroque church sits in the quieter area of Dorsoduro. A symbol of the city it houses many works of art, most of which relate to the Black Death.
To understand the Jewish existence in Venice the Jewish Museum is an excellent place to start. Guided tours of the synagogues start every hour from 10.30 until 17.30 (16.30 in winter). Clandestine buildings they do not look like places of worship from the outside whilst inside they are gems.
View Venice, Italy in a larger map
The term Lido originated from this 11km sandbar. For relaxation go to one of the 2 public beaches that face out into the Adriatic Ocean.
The sleek black boats with skilled gondolier at the helm are a wonderful way to explore Venice and its backwaters. For romantics there is the option of being serenaded!
Home to the Bellini, the bar is worth stopping at just to try the refreshing cocktail. Hemingway and others were known to drink here.
A dress codes exists - take heed before entering.
For out and out luxury the Hotel Cipriani is the place place to stay. Each room has its own private balcony from which you can stare towards the Piazza San Marco. With gardens, spa and pool it is Venetian opulence at its best.
Double rooms start at around €650 per night.
Centurion Palace Hotel
The Centurion Palace hotel in Venice is a former monastery right on the Grand Canal. The Gothic exterior belies the ultra-modern interior. Ideally placed for visitng the art museums.
Double rooms start at €252 per night in low season.
Locanda del Ghetto
Small, pleasant hotel in one of the less touristy areas of Venice. It is ideally situated for exploring the Jewish Quarter.
A standard double room starts at €65 per night in low season.
Plane, train or automobile all can get you to Venice.