Forget Paris and Rome, if there was ever a city to fall in love with, it is Venice. Situated in the north of Italy, the city is precariously built on top of small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. The city has no roads but instead is home to a large number of winding canals, all leading off the famous Grand Canal.
Take a boat across the Adriatic sea arriving at the coast of Venice and your breath will be taken away by the beauty of the city. The Venetian gothic and renaissance architecture looms out of the aquamarine waters to stand proudly over your head, and with building facades made of marble and stone you can see why it is easy to fall in love with the city. Take just a short walk away from the dock and you will be at Piazza San Marco, bustling with tourists from all over the world, where you will be standing at the feet of the magnificent Saint Marc’s Basilica.
The main attractions of Venice are world-famous and draw in large numbers of tourists each year, but once you get to soak up the atmosphere of the city you can see why. The Rialto Bridge, the first bridge to be built over the Grand Canal, is a unique market place filled with shops offering a variety of gifts from designer items, to Murano glass and masquerade masks and is arguably one of the most visited attractions in Venice.
The Ponte dei Sospiri, or Bridge of Sighs, was originally used to offer convicts their last views of Venice before sentencing but the outside of the bridge is itself a sight to behold. The white limestone exterior makes the bridge stand out from the water beneath it and is covered in beautifully carved features. It has become a popular photo spot with people standing on the opposite bridge trying to take a selfie with the famous prison connection in the background.
The Saint Marc’s Basilica towers over the square littered with tour groups all learning the story of the architecture and the bronze horses that guard the front of the cathedral. The building is covered in marble sculptures and glittering mosaics that depict biblical stories and the life of Christ. It is a breath-taking example of the gothic architecture that is on show.
I highly recommend visiting these famous attractions and taking time to soak up their beauty and wonder. But don’t just stop there.
If you have time, allow yourself to forget directions and maps and to get lost within the streets of the city, I guarantee that you will not regret it. At every turn there is something new to discover, from ornate bridges decorated with flowers, to high-end shops filled with designer Italian leather handbags and purses. Small pizzeria’s fill the streets with mouth-watering aromas.
The winding streets and canals that you will cross each ooze charm. There is something so simply romantic and magical about standing on a bridge over-looking a quiet canal and watching as the gondolas gently glide beneath you.
One thing that you must do when in Venice is to take to the blue-green waters on a traditional gondola ride. Here you can sit back and relax as you glide peacefully through the water and experience Venice as it should be seen. The small canals that branch off from the Grand Canal offer a huge contrast to the main thoroughfare and allow you to get a glimpse of the real Venice and what life would be like to live in this unique city.
The gondoliers are filled with knowledge of the city and can tell you things about Venice that a guide book could not, pointing out sites that you wouldn’t normally think to see. For example, the first palace built on the Grand Canal, the water line from the highest ever tide and even the house that Casanova once stayed in. Just getting the chance to sit on one of the decorated boats and glide under some of the 400 bridges that connect the individual islands of Venice is something that you will never forget.
One thing for certain is that Venice is definitely a city that enriches all the senses. No matter how long you visit, whether it is for just a couple of hours or for a few days, its magic will always stay with you. Afterall, how could you forget the city that can make you fall in love?