Venice is quite possibly one of the most unique cities in Europe. It has a wealth of history and is home to some of the most beautiful Gothic and Renaissance architecture, including 141 churches in total. Venice, which is made up of 100 small islands is the perfect destination for anyone who loves architecture, good food, incredible art, and picturesque views.
If you are planning on visiting Venice, here are the top five things to see and do around the city.
When most people think of Venice, the first thing that comes to mind is gondola rides. The ancient city is built on a massive lagoon in the Adriatic Sea and since there are no roads, gondolas are the main form of transport for many Venetians and tourists alike. Canale Grande, which is one of the largest canals and the city’s main water “highway,” is lined with over 170 buildings that date back to the 13th century. Some of the historic buildings that can be seen from this waterway include the Ca’ d’Oro, a palace that was designed and built for the prominent Contarini family back in the 15th century. The Baroque marble palace, Ca’ Pesaro can also be seen while sailing along the Canale Grande waterway.
St. Mark’s Basilica
The St. Mark’s Basilica, which is one of the most acclaimed buildings in Venice is a must for anyone visiting the city. The byzantine cathedral was built in the 9th century and houses some of the most sacred relics in Northern Italy. Many tourists come from far and wide to see this beautiful cathedral because of its phenomenal architecture and art pieces. There are over 85,000 square feet of mosaics that have been laid over a period of eight centuries and more than 500 columns that hold up the magnificent domed ceiling.
St Mark’s Campanile
The St Mark’s Campanile bell tower is one of the best places to go for a spectacular bird’s eye view of the city. The tower was built in 1912 and stands at 98.6 meters tall, making it one of the tallest, and oldest buildings in Venice. Tourists can take the elevator to the top of the tower and marvel at the view of the city and the Dolomites mountain range in the distance.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Art lovers are in for a treat! The Peggy Guggenheim Collection museum houses several art pieces from some of the most renowned artists of the 20th century. The palace was originally built in the 18th century and was home to the American heiress, Peggy Guggenheim, who began displaying her vast art collection to the public in 1951. Some of the art pieces housed within the palace include works from Picasso, Braque, Brâncuși, and many more.
The Acqua Alta or “high water” occurs when the Adriatic Sea rises. The high tides temporarily flood the streets of Venice usually as a result of high winds, low-pressure systems, and lunar cycles. While many tourists may not be used to this natural occurrence, the locals have grown accustomed to the water-filled walkways. The best place to experience this natural phenomenon is at the Piazza San Marco, which is the lowest point in Venice.
The only way to truly explore this ancient city is to leave your map book at home and get lost in the magic of the city.