Lesser Known Locations of the Italian Lakes
By Joel Draba-Mann
6 November 2015
The lesser known facts and locations of the Italian Lake District and where else to go to escape the fast-growing crowds around the more famous lakes.Read more
Venice, the capital of north-east Italy's Veneto region, is remarkable from the outset. The 'city' is actually 118 small islands which sit in a marshy lagoon and are linked by canals and bridges. Venice's buildings stand on piles made from the sturdy and water-resistant trunks of Alder trees that were sunk into the lagoon centuries ago. This miraculous, feat of civil engineering alone justifies the entire city's status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Founded in the ninth century, Venice has enjoyed a colourful and prosperous history. By the seventeenth century the city was one of the wealthiest Adriatic Sea ports and a powerhouse of trade and industry. The legacy of this commercial importance is Venice's abundance of breath-taking architecture and a longstanding reputation as one of the world's most beautiful cities.
Venice is entirely car-free, which ensures that exploration on foot or by gondola is a thoroughly pleasurable experience. And there is much to discover: Venice is steeped in architectural wonder and artistic beauty at every turn, from the Gothic magnificence of the Doge's Palace to the Tintoretto-decorated Scuola Grande di San Rocco.Add in a rich profusion of churches, art galleries, museums, and cultural attractions, fine shops and restaurants and a relaxed, cosmopolitan atmosphere and it's easy to see why romantic and remarkable Venice is one of the most visited cities on earth.
Venice's geographical spread, dictated by its individual islands, means that navigating the city's labyrinthine network of alleyways, bridges and canals can be tricky, and getting lost among the city's treasures isn't particularly difficult. However, all of Venice's many major attractions are helpfully signposted throughout the city and a trail from one to the next can be followed at a leisurely pace over as many or as few hours as desired.
To fully experience all of Venice's cultural, historic and artistic highlights could take weeks if not months, but some attractions can be deemed truly unmissable; a gondola ride on the Grand Canal is not only an unforgettable way to view the city but is almost obligatory.
The Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) is a
masterpiece of Gothic architecture and features internal decoration
by Italian masters including Tintoretto and Veronese.
Further outstanding architecture can be witnessed at the ninth-century Basilica di San Marco, which is notable for its marble columns, arched portals, onion-domes and elaborate sculptures.
Close to the Rialto Bridge - one of Venice's most instantly-recognisable landmarks, the Rialto Market offers perhaps the city's most memorable shopping experience. This colourful daily fish and fresh produce market has been in operation for almost a thousand years and is the perfect place to pick up Italian delicacies and souvenirs.