There is just something so romantic about the idea of visiting a city built on water. Venice and its canals have provided a backdrop to many romantic movie scenes and its every bit as awesome in person. Venice is one of the stops on a planned GetAway Travel trip, but your travel advisors at GetAway can accommodate your wish to travel to the Floating City any time you wish!
Water, water everywhere
Venice, the capital of Northern Italy, is built on a series of more than 100 islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Since there is a finite surface area for building, residents continue to upgrade their homes and the classic palaces and estate homes — fabulous examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture — line the canals. There are no roads in Venice, so where ever you wander on foot, you will find something worth seeing since the city’s history goes back more than 1,000 years.
Enjoy elaborate architecture and stunning art-filled palaces. Use gondolas, water taxis and canal boats to get around. A pro tip: you can’t just hail a gondola like a taxi in New York. If you are interested in a family tour or a romantic couples’ trip, reservations are necessary.
There are things to see on every canal, but do plan a gondola ride on the Grand Canal.
If you are taking a boat tour, or touring on of the other famous sites, you may find yourself standing in line waiting to buy a ticket. However, Venice, like many European cities, has something called “skip the line.” Your travel advisor can book tours or entrances to venues in advance and you can just — skip the line and gain entrance without wasting your precious vacation time.
Palaces, paintings and piazzas
The city is divided into six sestieri districts, or neighborhoods with their own character, including San Marco which is the central district. The Piazza San Marco is a prime people watching spot and it’s where you will find St. Mark’s Basilica. It is decorated with art treasures seized during the fall of Constantinople. There are miles and miles of gold mosaics covering the domed ceilings and walls. The golden altar piece was put in the basilica in the early 12th century and eventually encrusted with 2,000 gems and precious stones. Walk across the Rialto Bridge to San Polo. The ornamental stone bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Venice and a great place to take photos.
Vendors at the Rialto Market sell fish, produce, spices and some artisan products, but the San Polo district has great artisan shopping options and find designer items in the Calle Delle Mercerie or Calle Larga XXII Marzo areas.
Other churches of note include Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Santa Maria Gloriosa was started by the Franciscan monks in 1340 and it has some spectacular art pieces including a wooden statue of St. John the Baptist. While palaces and churches in Venice feature ornate facades of limestone and marble with ornate architectural embellishments, Santa Maria dei Miracoli is an exception. Designed by architect Pietro Lombardo, the facade is entirely of matched colored marble which creates intricate more ethereal designs. The interior is just as lovely.
The Galleria dell’Accademia di Venezia, was founded in 1750 as a sort of artist incubator and now it houses works from Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto, Titan and Giambattista. The more than 800 paintings chronicle the evolution of Venetian art from the 14th to the 18th century.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a museum for modern art lovers. One of the first contemporary art museums in Italy, it has works by Pollock, Klee, Mondrian and de Chirico. It is located in a partially completed palace, the Palazzo Venir dei Leoni.
Don’t skip a water taxi ride to Murano and Burano
There are two great museums on lagoon islands a short distance from central Venice. Murano is home to the Museum of Glass. Glassmaking is a hot, fiery — and in the 13th century — potentially dangerous process. Especially dangerous to homes crowded together which was allegedly the reason why Murano was established as the area where all glassmakers were ordered to live. As a side note, it also meant the process was safeguarded in one area. Today, Murano glassmakers create everything from small items to huge, elaborate chandeliers. Watch a glass blowing demo at the museum and also learn the history of the art.
Burano is a Venetian lagoon island renowned for its striking, brightly painted houses and delicate, handmade lace. According to historians, the homes were brightly painted to help guide fishermen in through the mists that rise up from the lagoon waters.
From 1872 until the 1970s, the Lace School on Burano was in operation. The museum in the palace Podestá of Torcello has lovely pieces on display as well as videos about lacemaking and interviews with some of the school’s last students.
If you need help navigating the ins and outs of visiting Venice, want to join the group tour or want to design a vacation of your own with GetAway Travel, we’re here to help. We can be reached at: (262) 538-2140, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com