Venice can be described as “haunting” just as easily as “magical.” After dark, the romance factor has a tendency to become potentially eerie — in ways both good and bad. It should surprise no one, therefore, that Venice has more than its fair share of ghost stories.
The story of Venice dates back to the time of Attila the Hun, but it wasn’t until the Renaissance that the canal city became one of only a few powerful city-states at the time. A tour highlighting the Renaissance era in Venice will give you a better understanding of how this small city rose to such power.
If you’ve heard of any opera house in Venice, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Teatro La Fenice, the famous theater that has burned down twice. There’s another opera house in Venice, however – Teatro Malibran – and it became a critical part of La Fenice’s second rebuilding process, when performances scheduled for La Fenice were held instead at Teatro Malibran. This 17th century theater, like Teatro La Fenice, is relatively unassuming from the outside and a jewel-box of a theater inside.
Probably the most popular place in Venice – the place for which day-trippers make a beeline upon disembarking from cruise ships or trains – is St. Mark’s Square. It’s not at the physical center of the islands, but it’s certainly the heart of the city. Most visitors will head for St. Mark’s Basilica, and rightly so – but did you know you can also climb up into the great church’s bell tower, too?
A city like Venice, built on the water and made up of hundreds of islands, is sure to have plenty of bridges – and it does. There are four famous bridges that cross the Grand Canal, but one of the city’s most famous bridges was once not open to the public. The short arch of the Bridge of Sighs was once, in effect, Venice’s prison bridge. Today, it’s one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
You will regularly read that one thing you should not do in Venice is relegate it to just a day trip. Spend at least one night in the city if you possibly can – that’s the best advice you’ll get that will help you see what makes Venice truly special. But of course not everyone can spend a night in Venice. Whether you’ve only got a day because you’re on a cruise or you’ve got too much else on your itinerary to afford more than one precious day in the canal city, it comes down to having only a day. So let’s make sure you have a fantastic day in Venice, shall we?
Venice is a city where just wandering aimlessly can be the best way to spend your time – but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see. There are hundreds of churches in Venice, many of which contain beautiful art and yet never make it onto visitor to-do lists. In general, it’s a good idea to peek your head into any church you pass on your wanderings. If it’s open and there isn’t a service going on, take a look around. Some churches charge an entry fee, but most don’t (although they always appreciate donations for upkeep), and churches in Venice as well as elsewhere in Italy offer us a chance to see art in situ. Having said that, there are some famous churches in Venice you should make a point of seeking out, if you can find your way through the maze of Venice’s streets.
Italy’s busiest and biggest passenger airports are in Rome and Milan, but of course those aren’t the only cities with international airports in Italy. Plenty of people have Rome on their must-see list, but most people who fly into Milan end up getting a train out of the city immediately upon arrival – which just means your time in transit is longer. Why not fly directly into a city where you actually want to spend time? Why not fly into Venice?
The canal city of Venice is almost synonymous with the iconic gondola, but that’s not the only way to get around. You have a few options for a sunset sightseeing cruise in Venice, from traditional boats to something a bit more modern.