Venice is the capital of the Veneto region in northeastern Italy. It is situated on a series of 118 tiny islands connected by over 400 bridges and divided by canals. Despite significant obstacles such as an overabundance of visitors, pollution, tidal peaks, and cruise ships sailing too near to structures, Venice remains a popular tourist destination, a major cultural center, and has been voted the most beautiful city in the world several times.
Venice is unique in its atmosphere, architecture, and history, and the city was once known as la Serenissima, which means “the most tranquil” or “sublime.” It is one of the world’s oldest tourist and cultural centers and a prominent Italian port on the northern Adriatic Sea. Arriving in Venice transports the visitor into another realm, one whose ambiance and beauty are unparalleled. The city’s location on islands has limited modern suburban expansion beyond the historic Centre; its canals and narrow streets have kept automobiles out; and its unrivaled wealth of fine buildings and monuments from the period of commercial dominance has ensured a strong and nearly universal desire for sensitive conservation.
Venice is a popular tourist destination for those interested in seeing the city’s famous art and architecture. According to estimates from 2017, the city receives up to 60,000 visitors every day. The yearly number of tourists is estimated to be between 22 and 30 million. Venice’s ecology suffers from overpopulation and environmental issues due to this “over-tourism.” The agency advises reducing the number of cruise ships and establishing a strategy for more eco-tourism to minimize the number of visitors inflicting permanent changes in Venice.
Venice isn’t renowned for having its own distinct cuisine; instead, it mixes local traditions with influences derived from long-ago interactions with other nations. Venetian food is known for its seafood, but it also contains garden items from the lagoon’s islands, mainland rice, game, and polenta. Venice is also known for its golden, oval-shaped cookies known as bacoli, as well as other sweets such as pan del pescaór, or fisherman’s bread; cookies with almonds and pistachio nuts; cookies with fried Venetian cream, or the bussolài, which are butter biscuits and shortbread made in the shape of a ring or an “S” from the island of Burano.
Brief History of Venice
Venice has created a romantic reputation based on numerous films and a darker vibe thanks to one startling horror film. The city has a long history reaching back to the sixth century, and for once, it was more than simply a little town inside a bigger state. Venice had been one of European history’s most powerful trading powers for a long time.
Venice has a legend that it was created by refugees escaping Troy. However, it was most likely founded in the sixth century C.E., when Italian refugees fleeing Lombard invasion camped on the Venice lagoon’s islands. The city has had an unmatched place in the Western imagination since the fall of the Venetian republic in 1797 and has been constantly depicted in prose and verse. The incandescent vision of magnificent marbled and frescoed palaces, bell towers, and domes reflected in the glittering waters of the lagoon beneath a blue Adriatic sky has been painted, photographed, and filmed to the point that it is impossible to tell the genuine city apart from its romantic renderings.
Incolae lacunae were fishermen who lived on the islands in the ancient marshy lagoons, according to certain late Roman sources. The dedication of the earliest church, that of San Giacomo on the islet of Rialto, is claimed to have occurred at noon on March 25, 421, according to legend “the Feast of the Annunciation.”
The new city’s prominence was boosted in 828 when relics claiming to be St Mark the Evangelist were acquired from Alexandria and deposited in the new basilica. The symbol of St Mark is a winged lion, which can be seen all across Venice. Rialto also became the patriarchal seat. As the community flourished and Byzantine influence declined, the group’s autonomy strengthened, eventually leading to independence.
Trading empire of Venice
Venice and the rest of the Byzantine Empire fought a series of trade wars in the twelfth century, before events in the early thirteenth century allowed Venice to establish a physical trading empire: Venice had agreed to transport a crusade to the “Holy Land,” but the Crusaders couldn’t pay, and the agreement became stuck when the Crusaders couldn’t pay. Then, if they installed him on the throne, the heir of an ousted Byzantine emperor offered to pay Venice and convert to Latin Christianity. When he was returned, unable to pay/unwilling to convert, ties with Venice worsened, and the reigning emperor was killed.
Others attacked Venice as well, necessitating the defense of the empire. Meanwhile, the nobility was eroding the Doges’ influence. After much debate, the Venetians attacked the Italian mainland in the fifteenth century, capturing Vicenza, Verona, Padua, and Udine. 1420–50, this period was probably the pinnacle of Venetian power and luxury. After the Black Death, which frequently migrated along trade routes, the population recovered. However, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Venice weakened as other maritime powers, such as Britain and the Dutch, acquired Atlantic and African trade routes. Venice’s maritime hegemony was shattered.
Venice became part of the new Kingdom of Italy in the 1860s, and it is still part of the new Italian state today, with debates about how best to manage Venice’s architecture and structures resulting in conservation efforts that preserve a tremendous sense of atmosphere. Even though the population has decreased by half since the 1950s, flooding continues to be an issue.
In one of Shakespeare’s novels, “The Merchant of Venice,” you may study the history of Venice. If you believe this book is ancient, consider that the history of Venice is older than this.
Sights and activities in Venice
St. Mark’s Basilica
St. Mark’s Basilica, unquestionably Venice’s most well-known cathedral and one of the most easily recognizable in the world, was once the Doge’s private chapel, embellished with Byzantine art treasures carried back by Venetian ships after the collapse of Constantinople. The Pala d’Oro, a stunning golden altarpiece that is one of Europe’s best, was begun by early 12th-century craftsmen and later embellished with approximately 2,000 diamonds and precious stones. Look down at the floor, a marble inlay masterpiece, if you can tear your gaze away from the mosaic domes and the number of elaborately painted altars. Also, take the time to look at the gold reliquaries and icons in the museum.
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)
The beautiful homogeneity of its architecture on three sides brings the immense expanse of Venice’s greatest plaza together and makes it appear almost intimate. St. Mark’s Square is loved as Venice’s living room, where everyone gathers, strolls, takes coffee, pauses to speak, meets friends and tour guides, or simply passes by on their way to work or play.
Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and Bridge of Sighs
Visitors arriving in Venice used to alight beneath the magnificent façade of this magnificent mansion. They couldn’t help but be awestruck, both by its magnitude and the elegance with which it was built.
If they were welcomed inside by the Doges, the impression would only grow stronger as they passed through the Porta Della Carta, a prime example of Venetian Gothic at its pinnacle, and ascended the monumental Scala dei Giganti and the gold-vaulted Scala d’Oro to be received in the Sala del Collegio, widely regarded as the palace’s most magnificent chamber.
Canale Grande (Grand Canal)
The Grand Canal, which runs through the heart of Venice in a large reverse S curve, is the city’s primary thoroughfare, linking Piazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge, and the mainland rail station and bridge arrival sites. Only four bridges span its 3.8-kilometer length, although traghetti, or stripped-down gondolas, shuttle between them at many spots. For anyone with any clout in Venice, the Grand Canal was the place to be. All of the major families’ palaces face the canal, with their ostentatious Venetian Gothic and Early Renaissance façade facing the water, which is how guests come.
Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) and San Polo
Rialto Bridge, formerly the sole bridge spanning the Grand Canal, represents the site of the island’s earliest colony, Rivus Altus (high bank). This stone arch was built in 1588, 150 years after a previous wooden bridge collapsed, and it supports two bustling streets and a double group of stores.
It’s a popular vantage point for tourists taking – or posing for – pictures, as well as for seeing the variety of vessels that pass beneath it.
Near the San Marco end of the bridge, San Bartolomeo was the church of the German merchants who resided in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (German Commodity Exchange) on the canal’s edge. The old exchange is now a famous retail destination. The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, by Palma the Younger, is a superb altarpiece.
How to get around in Venice Italy
Vaporetto The major mode of public transportation in Venice is the tiny passenger boats. Single rides cost €7.50; acquire a timed pass for unlimited travel within a given period for €20/30/40/60 (one-, two-, three-, or seven-day passes cost €20/30/40/60). ACTV ticket kiosks and ticket vending machines, as well as tobacconists, sell tickets and passes dockside.
Gondola Daytime charges are €80 for 40 minutes (limit six passengers) or €100 for 40 minutes from 7 pm to 8 am, except for songs (arranged separately) and gratuities.
Locals in the Traghetto utilize this public gondola service (€2 for visitors €0,70 for locals – if you buy Venezia Unica you pay as a local) to cross the Grand Canal between bridges during the day.
Taxi on the water Taxi services is available in sleek teak boats for €15 + €2 every minute, plus €5 for pre-booked services and additional fees for night-time, baggage, and big parties. When boarding, make sure the meter is turned on.
Cycling is prohibited in the city center of Venice. Cycling is a wonderful method to travel around or visit distant beaches on the bigger islands of Lido and Palestrina. Both Lido on Bike and Venice Rental Services are close to the vaporetto stop; rental requires identification. Bike Sharing Venezia, an electronic, self-service bike-sharing program, is located on the Lido. To utilize it, you must first register online.
Rent a Boat
Aspiring sea captains can tackle the lagoon (rather than the Grand Canal or the canals in the old center). You won’t need a license, but you’ll be given a test drive to see whether you can maneuver and park; and if you’re heading out for the day, make sure you know where the four boat-petrol stations are located around Venice.
Only the mainland of Mestre and the islands of Lido and Palestrina have bus services.
When is the best time to visit Venice?
The finest time to visit Venice is in the middle of spring, especially in the first half of May. The winter chill has dissipated, and the sun now shines regularly, with pleasant temperatures. Tourist services are available. However, you are unlikely to encounter significant crowds. Unless you plan on spending your days on the beach, there are a few drawbacks to traveling in May. If you can’t go in May, the second part of September is your best opportunity since the summer crowds are starting to dwindle and the temps are dropping down.
August is perhaps the worst month to visit Venice because of the oppressive heat and excessive humidity, as well as the abundance of mosquitoes and sweaty people. The optimum time to see the most popular sights in Venice, such as St. Mark’s Square, is early in the morning, regardless of the season. Not only will you have the best opportunity of getting to the front of the line for attractions like the Basilica and the Campanile, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of the wonderful early morning light.
Tips for a trip to Venice
Stay on the Venice Islet
If you’re only in Venice for a short time, we recommend staying in one of the city’s six major districts to optimize your time. Otherwise, you’ll spend half your time going from one islet to the next on ACTV buses!
Water taxis and ferries don’t often drop you off directly outside your hotel. It’s very possible that you’ll have to walk a long distance to get to your accommodation. So pack light and anticipate doing some walking throughout your commute.
Make use of the Crowd Prediction Tool
If there is one unavoidable disadvantage to Venice, it is the never-ending crowd. As a result, the city has launched an app that can roughly predict the amount of traffic you’ll encounter on any given day.