Venice was built on 118 islands in the middle of the Venetian Lagoon and is one of the most extraordinary cities in the world. The city is criss-crossed by 117 canals and connected by some 360 bridges. The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world's greatest artists such as Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and others.
The main artery of Venice is the Grand Canal; the longest canal in the city. Along the Grand Canal the richest Venetian families built about a hundred marble palaces with their front doors looking onto the water; their style is influenced by Byzantine, Gothic and Lombardesque. A boat trip on a vaporetto or a tour with a gondola along the Grand Canal is the best way to discover the beauty of the city.
Where to stay in Venice
Our pick of the best places to stay in Venice is a wide-ranging mix with plenty to suit all tastes and budgets, just don't forget to book well ahead: The 10 Best Hotels in Venice.
How to reach Venice (Venezia)
By plane: There are several airlines that fly directly to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport from the United States, but most of them just fly during the high season. from May until September, like Delta Airlines and US Airways.
From Venice Airport take a taxi to Piazzale Roma in Venice. The journey takes normally about 20 minutes and costs appr. 40 euros. To continue your trip after you arrive at Piazzale Roma you can either walk or take a water taxi, the ferry, to your hotel.
There is also a shuttle bus, the ATVO express bus, every 20 minutes to Piazzale Roma in just 20 minutes. One-way ticket: 8 euros. The tickets can be purchased at the ATVO machines at the airport or online.
By train: There are two train stations in Venice, Venezia Santa Lucia and Venezia Mestre. Trains from the major Italian cities all terminate at Venezia Santa Lucia which is located in central Venice right on the Grand Canal.
By car: If you are doing a round trip around Italy, renting a car can be a great alternative to relying on public transportation. The easiest way is to rent a car directly at the airport upon arrival. Car rental in Italy.
Itinerary by car: You can easily get to Venice by car through highway A4 from Trieste and Turin, A27 from Belluno, and A13 from Bologna. You will have to leave the car in one of the parking areas outside the historic center.
Where to park in Venice
The most convenient car parking in Venice is at Piazzale Roma. There are many parking garages near Piazzale Roma and from here you can either walk or take a water taxi, vaporetto, to your hotel. To park the car in Venice costs appr. 25-35 euros/24 hours.
What to see in Venice
Piazza San Marco, the grandest square in Venice, and the only which is actually called a piazza, this is dominated by the St. Mark's Basilica and the Duke's Palace. The most conspicuous feature of the city is the 91m high Campanile San Marco which was built between 874 and 1150 and reconstructed after it collapsed in 1902. To the rear of the Dukes's Palace is the famous Bridge of Sighs, which connects the palace with public prisons and was the route by which prisoners were taken to and from the judgement hall.
St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) was built to house the reliquary of St. Mark and the saint's tomb is the focus of the cathedral. It has one of the most unique architectures of any church in Italy. Various of its elements were contributed from Byzantine, Romanesque or Arabesque styles of architecture and combined into an extremely pleasant and harmonious presentation.
The Duke's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) contains numerous treasures of the art world. The decorations are extraordinary and include works by the master artists of the Venetian Republica. Be sure to examine the works of Tintoretto and Veronese. The Museo dell'Opera on the ground floor includes the original capitals from the columns of the building, as well as other interesting items.
The largest canal in the city, the Grand Canal (Canal Grande) is almost 4 km long and up to 70 metres wide. Many famous buildings are situated on its banks, including the baroque Church of Santa Maria Della Salute, the Accademia Gallery, the Corner-Spinelli and Grimani Palaces. It is crossed by three bridges: the Accademia, Rialto and Scalzi.
Basilica of Saints Giovanni and Paolo (Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo) is the largest Venetian gothic church and contains the burial monuments of Doges and other important citizens.
Visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (La Collezione di Guggenheim Peggy), it is filled with European and American art from the first half of the 20th century and includes the personal collection of Guggenheim. The museum is housed in Peggy Guggenheim's former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal.
The Gallerie dell'Accademia houses an incredible art collection that chronicles the history of Venetian artists, including works by the major Venetian Masters. The Museum is very popular and we recommend that you reserve your tickets online in advance.