Venice is a city like no other. It is nicknamed the “Floating City,” because is situated on 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of two rivers.
The city of Venice is located in the Veneto region of Italy, in the north west part of the Italian peninsula, one of the richest regions of the country.
Instead of roads, Venice relies on a series of waterways and canals, instead of normal buses, you can move around Venice using water buses, or vaporetti and motonavi. It is an interesting experience if you never had it. It may be a little uncomfortable when Venice is full of tourists, like during the summer or the Carnival and those water buses are packet with people, otherwise it is fun!
Venice is small enough that you can walk through it in a few hours. A little more than 250,000 people reside in Comune di Venezia, of whom only around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice.
I love the city of Venice because is where my grand parents lived, and because there are no cars in Venice, so even when I was a child, I could move around the city safely, even alone sometimes. I really loved to explore Venice, walking through the many narrow “calli” (streets), going up and down from the bridges, sometimes aimlessly, sometimes trying to reach Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) or il Ponte di Rialto (the Rialto Bridge). I could not have done the same, so safely, in any other city.
I would suggest trying to do the same. Just wander around. Don’t limit your visit to the popular sites, but also enjoy the quiet of the smaller canals off of the main tourist trails. For me, that’s one of the best things I can do in Venice. At night, when the weather is good, is even better. It may be incredibly peaceful, because the are no cars, and that quiet is only interrupted temporarily when other people pass by.
Because of its rich history, if you accept to face the crowds, there are numerous great things to see in Venice. One of the most famous areas of the city is the world-renowned Grand Canal thoroughfare, which was a major centre of the Renaissance.
Another very famous area is the central and biggest public square in Venice, called the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). It’s the social, public and religious centre of the city, and a stunning place. It is so beautiful that has been said that Napoleon once referred to it as the ‘Drawing Room of Europe’.
This is where you’ll find the amazing St. Mark’s Basilica, the Campanile (bell tower) and the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), and Byzantine mosaics.
In the old days you could feed the pigeons in Piazza San Marco, but in 2008 the sellers of pigeon food were legally banned, and those trying to feed the pigeons now may be fined.
Another famous place is the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge), Venice’s most popular bridge. From the top of the bridge, you can enjoy an amazing view of the city. It is probably one of the most crowded spots in Venice, but it is worthwhile to spend some time there, especially at sunrise or sunset. From the bridge you can enjoy watching the gondolas, vaporettos, and motoscafi moving up and down the Grand Canal.
IF you want to spend a little bit of money, You may also consider a gondola ride through the canals. It is a little cliché, but it is worthwhile, once in a lifetime.