• The Grand Canal is the "main highway" of Venice, often bustling with maritime traffic.

    Grand Canal

    The Grand Canal is the "main highway" of Venice, often bustling with maritime traffic.

  • Canal roads and pedestrian walkways are the only means of traveling in Venice.

    Narrow streets

    Canal roads and pedestrian walkways are the only means of traveling in Venice.

  • Gondoliers carry on a centuries-old tradition of ferrying passengers along the canals and under bridges, offering historical tidbits and sometimes singing a tune.

    Gondoliering

    Gondoliers carry on a centuries-old tradition of ferrying passengers along the canals and under bridges, offering historical tidbits and sometimes singing a tune.

  • Venetian Gothic, an architectural style that is unique to the city of Venice, is represented in many of the archways and facades along the Grand Canal.

    Grand Gothic

    Venetian Gothic, an architectural style that is unique to the city of Venice, is represented in many of the archways and facades along the Grand Canal.

  • Venetians and tourists explore the shops along the pedestrian alleyways.

    Walk this way

    Venetians and tourists explore the shops along the pedestrian alleyways.

  • Local artisans capture the spirit of Venice and echoes of Carnevale in the faces of handcrafted masks.

    Masquerades

    Local artisans capture the spirit of Venice and echoes of Carnevale in the faces of handcrafted masks.

VENICE, Italy -- An enchanting gem of a city, Venice is suitable for the traveler looking forward to a long weekend getaway or one who enjoys delving into history for weeks on end. Families, couples and single travelers alike can find themselves swept up in the city and lost in the feeling of timelessness found in the village campos, the grand piazzas and inside of the many churches in the city center.

Visitors are invited to explore canals, stroll over bridges and through walkways, and stir the mind with ideas of wonder over the grand sights and sounds of this enchanting city.

Getting around
Upon entering Venice, there is a sense of awe and timelessness floating along the entangled canals. Melodic sounds can be heard echoing under the bridges and along the waterways with the tunes of the men ferrying travelers in the iconic gondola.

Tourists are often willing to pay the hefty price (up to 100 euros or more) to enjoy a gondola tour of the city, and these water taxies happily oblige. They are luxurious with seating for 10 -- but a word of advice, approach a taxi on your own as you may be able to negotiate a price. Additionally, make sure the prices are posted, or agreed upon before you enter the boat or accept a ride.

For another view of the city, the thrifty or adventurous tourist can choose to take the pedestrian route or purchase a pass for the vaporetto (water bus). A 24-hour pass runs 18 euros and allows for flexibility. Maps and schedules can be found at www.actv.it.

Merchants of Venice
With every turn, there is a discovery to make, a song to hear, a sight to see or a flavor to taste in the city that thrives on tourism.

Walking the pedestrian alleyways allows visitors to window shop and explore the campos (village squares). Campos are tucked away throughout the city, featuring weekday open markets and a quaint look into the Venetian lifestyle. One of the lesser known is the Campo Santa Margherita -- a large village square, speckled with shade trees and park benches.

Surrounded by cafes, bars and buildings that date to the 1300s, this village square is a quiet relaxation point for travelers looking to take a rest from the more crowded tourist spots.
Venice is also well known for its masks, fine leather goods and Murano glass. Many of the smaller souvenir shops may offer more personable service and lower prices over those near the main tourist traps.

Dining in Venice can be just as luxurious as a boat ride on the canal, and the specialty is seafood in this maritime city. There are many restaurants from which diners may choose, and often with daily dining specials for two. Restaurants will cater to guests' every need (which can include special dietary restrictions) and many of the wait staff at cafes and restaurants speak several languages.

For the weekend or wandering tourist, Venice is rich with a variety of architectural treasures, including Gothic, Neoclassical and Baroque styles. One of the notable Gothic architectural examples is the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, which houses Monteverdi's tomb and a wooden carving of St. John the Baptist carved by the Renaissance master, Donatello.

With the multitude of museums, churches, islands and restaurants, the relatively small island of Venice is packed with opportunities for travelers to immerse themselves in history, culture, shopping and dining.

To get lost in Venice is to get lost in an adventure for the senses, and an experience that should not be missed.

Page last updated Fri April 6th, 2012 at 00:00