There are many things about Venice that seem unreal, even today. This incredibly touristed city somehow seems both a theme park for grown-ups and the perfect setting for a spy story or mysterious meeting. It may not surprise you, then, to learn that in the 15th-16th centuries many of Venice’s most famous citizens were courtesans.
For as small as the historic city of Venice is, it is home to a long list of churches. Some are larger and more important than others, but only one is the centerpiece of its very own annual festival. The Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, known as Il Redentore, is that church.
While you could be forgiven for simply wandering aimlessly through Venice without setting foot inside any of the buildings (other than your hotel, perhaps), there is something to be said for learning more about a city’s history – especially when that city is so fascinating. Venice’s civic museum, the Museo Correr, is just the history museum you’re looking for.
When it comes to the Venetian Lagoon, we’re familiar with only a small number of the lagoon’s many islands. The large collection of islands that makes up central Venice are the most visited, followed by the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. But there are far more islands in the Venetian Lagoon than those few, many of which you can actually visit.
Venice is a city on and closely tied to the water, so there are few better ways to experience the place as it’s been seen since its beginnings – from the canals. Specifically, a leisurely tour along the Grand Canal as it snakes through the city will give you a sense of what merchants arriving by ship might have seen hundreds of years ago. Today, you don’t need to be a merchant or even to have your own ship. You simply need to hop on the #1 vaporetto near the Venice train station for a tour of the Grand Canal via public transportation.
You could certainly wander around in Venice without knowing the names of any of the neighborhoods through which you’re walking. It is, after all, a tiny city of more than 100 islands, so keeping track of neighborhood borders can be a challenge. If you’re looking for a place to stay, however, or the best places to seek out quiet squares, it’s helpful to know something about the sestieri of Venice.
Although you may not be aware of the boundaries that separate one Venetian neighborhood from the next, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll set foot in the Cannaregio neighborhood in Venice at some point. Why? Because that’s where Venice’s train station is. There’s more to the Cannaregio, however, than simply the railroad.
Venice is made up of more than 100 islands, but that doesn’t even count the islands of the Venetian lagoon that lie separated from the historic center. One of the small islands not far from the center, but sometimes feeling like a world away, is Burano. A famous lace-making center for hundreds of years, this island is immediately identifiable for another reason – Burano’s multicolored houses.
Art lovers who visit Venice are often keen on a trip to Murano, one of the islands in the Venetian lagoon. Murano has been synonymous with glassmaking since the 13th century, and there are still glass factories on the island today creating exquisite works of glass art. The history of glass making in Venice is, however, more complicated than modern visitors might think.
Antonio Vivaldi’s music belongs, in many ways, to the entire world. The Baroque composer’s work remains some of the most loved classical music of all time. Vivaldi was, however, a Venetian – and much of his music was composed in Venice. Luckily for any classical music lovers visiting the canal city, Vivaldi’s musical legacy in Venice is easy to find.
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- Secrets of Venice: Venetian Courtesans August 22, 2014
- Il Redentore Church in Venice August 15, 2014
- Museo Civico Correr: Venice’s Civic Museum August 8, 2014
- Lesser-Known Islands of the Venice Lagoon July 25, 2014
- #1 Vaporetto Tour of Venice’s Grand Canal July 11, 2014
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