Venice

Venice is a group of 118 islands in Italy which are linked by bridges and separated by a maze of canals. The original residents of Venice were Roman refugees who had fled from their own towns and villages. Today, the population of 270,000 swells each year with the influx of tourists wanting to see the beauty of the city.

Venice is a city of culture, art, history, architecture and lots of water. The majority of traffic is seen along the water corridors, including the police, fire and tradesmen delivering goods to the hotels, shops and eateries along the miles of canal walkways. Find accommodation and hotels in Venice: book_hotel_2 travel via italy

Venice, Veneto, Italy
Venice, Veneto, Italy by Dr. Savage

When to Visit Venice

To have the best of the weather, late spring and early summer means that you will have glorious sunshine but it won’t be too hot to visit all the attractions. It’s a busy time for tourism generally though so it is wise to book early.

The quietest time of the year is during the winter. The crowds are gone as are the queues for the museums, wrap up warm to ward off the winds that whip across the city and if you don’t mind the cold, this is a good time to visit.

Facade Mosaics at Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice, Veneto, Italy
Facade Mosaics at Saint Mark’s Basilica by Julius for Travel via Italy

If you do travel to Venice in the winter, be aware that the acqua alta – the floods – also happen and whilst it is part of daily life to Venetians, being prepared to possibly wade through knee high water is a necessity.

As with any trip, it’s important to take adequate protection. Getting good annual travel insurance is essential to ensuring that if anything occurs, it doesn’t spoil the experience of the stunning setting.

Acqua alta in Venice, Vento, Italy
Acqua alta in Venice by Anna Fox

What To See in Venice

For a great event which doesn’t cost a penny, visit the Carnevale Festival in February or March each year. It’s a lively two weeks of everyone wearing masquerade masks and dress up in costumes. Every other year sees the hosting of the Biennale for Art from June to November.

Venice is steeped in history and there are many attractions to visit. It’s worth planning each day to ensure the best use is made of the time and book ahead where possible for museum entry. This avoids the queues during the busy times of the year.

Grand Canal, Venice, Veneto, Italy
Grand Canal, Venice by Dennis Jarvis

The top ‘must see’ places to go include the Doge’s Palace, Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal.

The Doge’s Palace was built in Gothic style and is a building of grand opulence. It was completed in 1424 and was home of the Doge of Venice.

Piazza San Marco, also known as St. Mark’s Square is one of the most recognised landmarks in the world.

It has featured in dozens of films over the years and is edged with places to seat and eat whilst watching the world go by. For a real treat, take afternoon tea in Cafe Florian. It was established in 1720 and whilst very expensive is a real once in a lifetime experience.

Piazza San Marco, Venice, Veneto, Italy
Piazza San Marco, Venice, Veneto by Robert Montgomery

The Grand Canal is a major waterway for traffic through the city. The best way to explore is through a ride on a gondola.

Venice is an attack on all the senses; the colours, the noise, the smells of this historic city. It’s a truly different place to visit and for anyone who wants to experience all their travel on water and to watch hundreds of years of history as they sail along, it’s a must. Micheal is a writer and travel blogger. He loves Italian culture and is currently saving up to spend a year touring Italy.

Around Venice

Venice has indeed a great catalyzing power. Everybody agrees on that. It is not a coincidence that it is considered as one of the most beautiful and suggestive cities in the entire world. People come from every corner on the planet to visit Venice, almost as though it was a pilgrimage to a sacred place.

Today, I would like to distract your attention from the floating city and focus on something that is all the same beautiful and suggestive, but less famous: the Venetian lagoon and its islands.

Venice as seen from the top of St. Mark's Campanile, Veneto, Italy
Venice as seen from the top of St. Mark’s Campanile by Anna Fox

Venetian lagoon

The Venetian lagoon is a shallow and enclosed bay of the Adriatic sea that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a.k.a. UNESCO, recognized as a World Heritage Site. This water basin is filled with some characteristic islands where you can experience the authentic atmosphere of sea places and fishermen’ communities.

So, if you happen to be in Venice and you have enough time, I would recommend you to find some time just to take a tour in the lagoon and pay a visit to some islands.

Aerial view of Venetian lagoon, Venice, Veneto, Italy
Aerial view of Venetian lagoon by Francesco Rossi

North of Venice, you can find the 3 largest islands of the Venetian Lagoon: Murano, Burano and Torcello. Each of them has its own characteristics and therefore deserves a visit for different reasons.

Murano

Murano is famous throughout the world for the art of glass making which dates back to the 13th century, when the Venetian Republic decided to move all the foundries located in Venice to the island, although some historians believe that glassmaking started even in the 8th century.

The island hosts a museum entirely dedicated to this elegant material: it is the Murano Glass Museum, founded in the year 1861 and set up in the Palazzo Giustinian, once the residence of Torcello bishops. Visiting the museum you will take a walk along the most important stages of the history of glass, besides having the chance to admire some splendid examples of local production.

I was totally impressed by some magnificent Rezzonico chandeliers I saw while I was taking a stroll through the island. They are sublime masterpieces, extraordinary examples of a long-standing local tradition that the Seguso’s family is keeping alive. Please, do pay a visit to their foundry to discover the delicate beauty of the glass.

Murano - another island of Venice, Veneto, Italy
Murano – another island of Venice by Alois Staudacher

Burano

If you ask tourists what it is about the island that most intrigued them, you will get a unanimous answer: the colours. Indeed, Burano is an explosion of vivid colours that will inevitably strikes your eyes in a very pleasant way.

According to some local tales, houses were painted with bright colours so to be visible from the sea when fog was closing in. According to other rumours, it was due to boundary questions. In any case, the effect is no doubt very impressive.

Burano is well-known also for its lace work, a long-standing tradition that presumably goes back to the 15th century and is closely connected with the seafaring origin of the island’s inhabitants.

If you take a stroll through the village, you will easily spot some old ladies embroidering with their strange tools while having a chat: a true picture of local life.

Did you know that Burano has a leaning campanile? It won’t be famous like the tower of Pisa, but still it is worth seeing.

Last, but not least you must taste a typical local pastry, the so-called Bussolà Buranello.

If you need more information on Burano and its attraction take a look at this website.

Afternoon on Burano Island, Veneto, Italy
Afternoon on Burano Island, Veneto by O Palsson

Torcello

Almost completely uninhabited and covered with an untouched nature, Torcello is definitely the most mysterious and spiritual among the lagoon island, a reason more to visit it.

The main attractions here are the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, where some original Byzantine mosaics are still preserved, and the Church of Santa Fosca, where the skull of Saint Cecilia is resting.

If you dare, you can also cross the Devil’s bridge.

Torcello island, Venice, Veneto, Italy
Torcello island by Godromil

Where to sleep in or around Venice

I do believe the best way to find (and book) your accommodation in Venice or in the surrounding areas is using our hotels booking search with best prices: book here

Lido

Would you like to know where Venetians go to sunbathe and take a swim?

Then you need to go to the Lido, the long and narrow strip of sand that stretches for about 11 kilometres between the city of Venice and the Adriatic sea, right in the hearth of the lagoon.

Everybody knows it because of the Film Festival that every year from 1932 takes place there, a major event that attracts thousands of people from all over the world, both people belonging to the movie industry and fans.

Spending some days there means giving yourself the chance to relax and take a break from the frantic rhythms of everyday life. Then, you could say you have been to the beach in Venice, which is not properly correct, but then you will explain that the Venetians do consider the Lido as their own private beach.

Lido beach in Venice, Veneto, Italy
Lido beach in Venice by Craig Morey

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