Venice tours

Just like Paris, Venice is probably one of the most romantic cities in the world, at least that’s what you’ll hear from people who are in love. However, it’s well-known that Venice has an authentic beauty and charm, and for it - the city is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Guided tours visiting Venice

About Venice

Often called La Serenissima, this exquisite harbor is located in northeastern Italy. It’s built on 118 separate little islands that are rugged with 160 canals and connected with 400 bridges. The most famous bridge is Ponte Rialto. Venice is made on the foundation of wooden champs that are stuck for 9 meters in soft clay soil. This is the reason Venice is known as Queen of the Sea for some, although it could be easily be Queen of the Islands as well.

The myth of Venice as ‘Governor of Adriatic sea’ reflected the idealized image of the city, seen through the eyes of people that adored it. Venice, a trading mecca, is devoted to St. Marc, from the moment his remains were brought from Alexandria until the renaissance era. In the renaissance the remains were symbol of the idealized image of this city, as seen from those who worshipped him.

The power of Venice was determined with the doge Enrico Dandolo, conquering Constantinople in 1201. In 1364, Petrarka will see Venice as rich in gold but even more with its fame. Four centuries later, Goethe is writing how it’s impossible to compare it to any other city and Charles Dickens thought how the reality of Venice is surpassing even the wildest dreams’ imagination.

Interesting Facts About Venice

  • Venice is the only city in the world without cars
  • Venice is known as the City of Bridges - there are 417 bridges in total, 72 of them are privately owned.
  • Bridges don’t have the stairs because all until the 16th century horses were regularly passing here.
  • The narrowest street in Venice is only 53 centimetres wide and it’s called Caleta Varisco.
  • Lion is the most recognizable Venetian symbol. According to the legend, an angel appeared in front of the evangelist Mark in the shape of lion telling him how one day it will be celebrated.
  • Gondola is on average 11 meters long and it has almost 600 kg. In the city itself, there are around 350 gondolas.
  • Bridge of Sighs is built in order to connect the old jail in Doge palace with the new one, across the river. One of the rare prisoners that managed to escape this prison was famous womanizer Giacomo Casanova.
  • According to the Venetian tradition, every couple driving in a gondola has to kiss under each bridge and they’ll stay in love forever.
  • During the carnivals, laws that prohibited wearing expensive lace were suspended.
  • Each year, around 18 million of tourists visit Venice which is about 50, 000 every day. The biggest crowd is during the carnival, it brings around 3 millions of visitors.
  • There are three types of masks in Venice- bauta, moretta and volto (larva). Bauta is type of mask hiding only upper part of the face - to the cheeks so people can talk, eat and drink, while it still hides the identity. Moretta is oval mask with black velvet and veil, usually worn by women during their visits to monasteries. Volto (larva) is usually white and it’s often worn with hat with three corners and haystack.
  • In 1608, Council of Ten allowed wearing masks only during the carnival. The ones who were disobeying the law could expect terrifying punishments- from years in prison to public walloping and tying up the Pillar of Shame.

Where is Venice Located?

Venice is located in northeastern part of Italy, on the coast of Adriatic sea and it’s the capital city of the Veneto region and Venice county.

When to visit Venice?

Although Venice is amazing throughout the year, people have different preferences when it comes to visiting it in certain periods of year. However, if judging by the crowds, we’d say summer is the most popular time of the year. Just as in any other Italian city, if you don’t like waiting in lines or you’re not fond of colder weather, plan your visit in spring or fall. Some people are worried about the smell of canals, just know it’s a misconception. Canals in Venice don’t smell different than in any other seaside city.

Venice climate

Adriatic Sea has a crucial effect on weather in this beautiful city. Climatic differences during the year are large, and we can say that the proximity of the sea and high humidity reinforce each atmospheric state. That is why winters in Venice are somewhat colder than in other places of same temperature level. Temperatures can often go a bit below zero but rarely they are lower than -5 °C. Snowing is rare. Summers are quite hot, average temperature degree is around 27 °C.

Venice is well known for the regular floodings - Acqua Alta. It happens quite often during the autumn and fall. Residents of Venice are used to this so they have a system of informing people regularly when flooding is expected, at least 2 days in advance. In tourist information offices and on the stations you can get maps with marked routes- the ones that should remain dry and the ones with higher level of water. Acqua Alta usually lasts couple of hours.

How to get there?

The closest airport is Marco Polo, situated in Mestre city. 25 km away from Venice there is a small airport Treviso. As the airport usually has low budget flights, it gets more and more popular. Both airports have great bus connections with Venice. There is a small landing field on Lido usually used for small, private planes.

Trains to Venice go across Mestre. The main train station Santa Lucia is in the west part of Venice. From there you can take water buses and taxis taking you to your destination.

You can reach Venice by boat as well. The main port is Stazione Marittima on the west end of the main islands. From there you can take water buses and taxis. You can use your car to the west part of the city. After that, there are no roads for motor vehicles. Parking is very expensive here so better option is to leave your car before that and then catch the water rides to the centre of Venice. Highway A4 connects Venice to other Italian cities, such as Padova, Milan, Turin and Verona.

Public transport

The best way to explore Venice is by walking, as all the important sights are easy to reach. That is actually quite enjoyable way to meet the city, its history and see charming small streets and bridges. Water buses are commuting through the city but only through some bigger canals: The Grand Canal, Rio Nuovo, Canale di Cannaregio and Rio dell’Arsenale. There are also closed motorboats taking about 15 people at the time and you can catch them in the city centre. If you are not in a hurry, you have an option of taking famous gondolas that make transportation in the city a true pleasure. You can also rent a boat or bring your own :)

From the bus station Piazzale Roma, buses go to nearby places- Mestre, Kodiak, Margera, La Malcontenta etc. Padova bus is leaving every 30 minutes.

Regular taxi transportation is efficient but quite expensive.

What not to miss in Venice

  • Gondola ride. (okay, this one was easy! :) )
  • Walking around - Can you imagine how walking around the city without cars must be enjoyable experience? Venice is not that big anyways and you can walk all around it in a couple of hours only.
  • Except gondola, you can explore the canals by vaporetti (water buses) or water taxis.
  • You should definitely visit museums in Venice
  • Rialto market - The Rialto Bridge is 800 years old and is one of the most famous Venetian sights. Rialto market is situated in San Polo district and is a bit less expensive than the one in Piazza San Marco. Go to Rialto market if you are curious for farmer’s market, shops and small restaurants.

Places to visit in Venice

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Photos of Venice