Venice is a world-renowned destination and wildly popular with travelers for good reason. This Iconic city is actually made up of 117 small islands. The islands are divided by canals and connected by many bridges. In the middle ages, the city was a powerful military stronghold but has since grown into a mecca of cultural and artistic development. It’s so very easy to get lost by the charm of this enchanting city that you may want to find a way to extend your vacation here. Here are just a few of our favorite sights and activities to enjoy in Venice.
How could one pass up the opportunity to take in the city’s picturesque waterways from the perspective of a gondola? While gondolas are fairly expensive, (roughly 80 euros for 40 minutes) we think it’s well worth the unique perspective and bragging rights. While prices are set by the city themselves, demand definitely plays a part. Special services like a crooner will boost the cost up considerably. That being said you can absolutely negotiate with the gondoliers or have your hotel concierge do it for you. Regardless of cost, most find the experience well worth it.
If your vacations timing is just right you may just be able to slip on a mask and join in the city’s famous Carnevale celebrations. Italy’s carnival boasts a huge winter festival inclusive of masquerade balls, parties, and parades. A common phrase "a Carnevale ogni scherzo vale" can be heard around this time. It translates to “anything goes at Carnevale” and is popularized due to a culture of mischief and pranks around the celebration.
The first thing to do in Venice is head straight to the Piazza San Marco. Here is where you can view three major landmarks in one place: St Marks Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Torre Dell’Orologio.
St Marks Basilica
St Marks Basilica is among the most visited sights in Venice, this cathedral has a history dating back to the 9th century and prominently displays enough mosaic to cover one and a half American football fields. You can get lost for hours in its architectural or artistic beauty. Inside the cathedral, you’ll find the Pala d’Ora, an altar screen of gold covered in hundreds of gems and precious stones. Truly a can't miss sight on any Italian traveler’s itinerary.
Doge’s Palace is a Venetian Gothic style Palace and was home to the supreme authority of the bygone Republic of Venice. Now a museum, the paintings inside the former palace are original to the building and intended to decorate the Doge’s palace. Attached is the Bridge of sighs, a bridge leading from the courtroom to the dungeons. As the story goes the bridge was named after the sighs made from prisoners as they are led across it on route to serve their punishment. The palace is easily recognizable as one of Italy’s most beautiful buildings making it another must-see attraction.
Torre Dell’Orologio or St. Marks Clocktower if you don’t speak Italian is a beautiful technological masterpiece dating back over 500 years. The Clock displays not only the time but the moon and dominant zodiac sign as well. As the Legend goes that on the day the clock was unveiled to the public, the Doge found it to be so beautiful that he had the clockmaker blinded so he could not create another to rival it.
Off The Beaten Path
If you have additional time in Venice take time to get lost and you will discover some fascinating sights. Here are some of our favorite attractions that fewer people discover.
Ponte de Chiodo
This unusual and small bridge that spans the Rio San Felice is one of two remaining in Venice. By far it is one of the most unique bridges in the city and one of the last of it's kind. Why is this bridge special? The tale goes that before the 17th century most of Venice's bridges most bridges did not have sides but after a night at the local watering hole Venetians used to fall into the canals. At some point in history, the city council decided all bridges must have sides so locals could make it home safely!
Burano & Murano Island
Burano Island can be reached by one of the public water buses (vaporetto) in 45-50 minutes. This tiny island is well known for its colourful houses and lace-making. Murano island is also worth a visit and features world renown glass-making.
Next time you book your vacation with CruisePlus ask any one of our talented travel experts about activities and excursions in your ports of call to be treated to some insider tips. 1-800-854-9664