Walk on the cobblestone streets and arched bridges of this pedestrian-friendly island city in northeastern Italy and let your senses guide you. Hear the water lap against the gondolas in the canals. Breathe in the aroma of fresh Italian food and taste quality wine on the restaurant terraces. Feel the sun warm your skin as you wander through St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) and listen to street musicians perform serenades to lovers.
Even in the cooler winter months, Venice is bustling. Summer days can get hot and crowded, while autumn and spring are usually the most pleasant times to visit. It is easy to visit all premier attractions in just a few days. St. Mark’s Square is magnificent and a good place to start. Two of Venice’s most spectacular buildings, St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) and the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), rub shoulders at the east end of the square. Find the best example of Venice’s Byzantine influence in the basilica, with its ornate golden mosaics and elaborate domes. The palace impresses with ostentatious displays of wealth and power.
The S-shaped Grand Canal brings you to most attractions. You could spend hours just watching gondolas and vaporettos (water buses), or hop on one yourself for a romantic boat ride. Glide past buildings such as the Gothic-style palace Ca’ d’Oro, the Basilica of St. Mary of Health (Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute) and beneath the iconic Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto). Stop for a plate of risi e bise (rice and peas) at a traditional osterie (a bar serving food).
Don’t miss treasures such as the Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli, a 15th-century marble church. Take a ferry ride to the islands of Murano and Burano. Both are known for their artisans who work with glass and lace respectively. The islands make for a peaceful day trip away from the chaotic but irresistible heart of Venice.
Savor your days in the Floating City and enjoy the Italian passion for food, romance and style.