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Venice

Italy has many interesting cities, towns, and places for tourists. But Venice is a very special, unique, magnificent, one-of-a-kind city. There is no other city like Venice anywhere in the world. Most tourists arriving in Italy include a visit to Venice in their travel plan. You definitely need to visit Venice.

Where is Venice located?

Venice is located on the shores of the Adriatic (Mediterranean) Sea, in the northeastern part of Italy (Veneto region). The distance from Venice to Rome is approximately 530 kilometers, to Florence - 265 kilometers (by road).

The islands on which Venice was built are located on the territory of the “Venetian Lagoon”. The Venetian Lagoon is a bay of the Adriatic Sea, separated from the sea by the islands of Lido and Pellestrina and the Cavallino Peninsula. The distance from the historical part of Venice to the mainland is about 3.5 kilometers. The length of the historical part of Venice from east to west is about 4.5 km, from north to south about 2.8 km (excluding the island of Murano).

The secret of the charm of Venice

The historic center of Venice is located on islands that are separated by 150 canals. (It would probably be more correct to call them straits). About 400 bridges connect the banks of the canals.

There are a lot of old houses preserved in the historical center of Venice. Some houses are built on stilts directly into the sea. This is a very special architecture. The entire city is imbued with history, beauty and art.

In Venice there are almost no streets that are familiar to us. Tourists and locals move around the city either on foot or on boats. (There are sidewalks, so we can walk.

The secret of the charm of Venice is hidden somewhere in this unique combination of sea, water, history and art.

Venice's possibilities for receiving tourists are not limitless. Approximately 3.2 million people stayed overnight in hotels in the historic center in 2022. But Venice is visited by many more tourists. Many people book accommodation in mainland Venice. Most tourists come to Venice for only one day. It is believed that around 30 million people visit Venice every year. At the same time, only about 50 thousand people permanently live in the historical center of the city. It is unlikely that local residents feel comfortable with so many tourists.

Attractions & Places

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What places to visit in Venice? The entire historical part of Venice is of interest to tourists. Piazza San Marco is the main tourist center of the city and a must-see place. A boat trip along the Grand Canal should also be included in the travel program. Be sure to take a stroll through the surrounding streets of Piazza San Marco. We have prepared recommendations for you based on personal experience and tourists reviews.

St. Mark's Square. St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) is the most famous and most visited place in Venice. The square consists of two parts: the main part of the square (Piazza) and Piazzetta, a small square connecting the square and the Grand Canal.
Must see: St. Mark's Basilica, bell tower, Doge's Palace, Clock Tower, St. Mark's and St. Theodore's Columns.

St. Mark's Basilica. St. Mark's Basilica is (probably) the most photographed and most visited building in Venice's central square. Take a closer look at the ancient mosaics decorating the church outside and inside. Find the Golden Lion on the facade. (The golden lion is the symbol of Venice.) The abundance of gold speaks of the wealth of the Venetian Republic (in the past).

Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is located in the center of the city, on Piazza San Marco in Venice. The palace was built in the Venetian Gothic style and has two main facades: one overlooking the Piazza San Marco, the other overlooking the waterfront “Riva degli Schiavoni”. There is a museum in the palace now. According to statistics, palace was visited by about 1.36 million people in 2010.

St. Mark and St. Theodore columns. There are two columns located on the Piazzetta, near the waterfront. Bronze statue of a winged lion is located on the east tower (tower of St. Mark). A marble sculpture depicting St. Theodore is on the west tower. In the Middle Ages, criminals were executed on the square between the columns. Until now, the Venetians are trying not to pass between the columns (it is considered as a bad omen).

St. Mark's bell tower (Campanile di San Marco) is the tallest building in the square. The current bell tower was built (restored) at the beginning of the 20th century. The height of the bell tower is 98.6 meters.

Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) is the most famous bridge in Venice. The bridge was built in 1591 and until 1854 was the only bridge across the Grand Canal. The total bridge length is 48 meters; the length of the span (arch) 28 meters, width of the bridge is 22.1 meters.

The Grand Canal (Canal Grande) is the most famous canal in Venice, one of the most important transport routes in the city. Water transport follows the canal from Santa Lucia Station and Piazzale Roma to Piazza San Marco. A boat trip along the canal can be recommended to all tourists. The length of the Grand Canal is about 3800 meters. The channel width is from 30 to 90 meters, the depth is about 5 meters.

Piazzale Roma. Piazzale Roma is located next to Santa Lucia Station. This square is very important for tourists. This square serves as the Venice bus station and there are bus stops there. Tourist buses, buses from other cities and from the airport arrive at the square. (Buses and cars travel to the islands via the Ponte della Libertà bridge.) Then tourists travel on foot or by boat.

Venice train station. Venice Santa Lucia Railway Station (Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia) is the only train station in the historical center of the city. Then tourists move on foot or by water.

You can see the location of these and other places on the Venice map.

The most famous events in Venice

Venice Carnival, Venice Biennale and the Venice Film Festival are the the most well-known events in Venice.

carnival

  • The Carnival of Venice (Carnevale di Venezia) is a large, costumed festival, which is held annually in Venice in the early months of the year (usually in February). Various colorful events are organized at the time of carnival. Especially lots of tourists come to Venice during the carnival. Live music from different countries is performing these days on the streets of Venice. These days’ carnival masks are often bought and worn also by coming to Venice tourists.
  • The Venice Biennale is one of the most popular in the world forum of contemporary art. The Venice Biennale covers a variety of topics, and consists of a large number of events that are held at different times in different places of the city. Contemporary art exhibition are held every two years (in odd years). Specific components of the Biennale Venice are Film Festival and the Venice Architecture Biennale (held in even-numbered years). The themes of the Venice Biennale are also art, theater, music and dance. The main Biennale office is located in Ca Giustinian, at San Marco 1364 / A - 30124 Venice. Events are also held in the Biennale park (to east of Piazza San Marco) (Giardini), Arsenal territory (Arsenale) and in other places.
  • Venice International Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica) is the oldest international film festival in the world. Venice Film Festival is held since 1932. The festival takes place in several cinemas on the Lido Island in the second half of the year (usually in August and September). The main prize of the festival is "Golden Lion".

What time of the year is the best to visit Venice? It may be a little cool weather in winter, and a bit too hot in the summer. It is believed that the worst time to visit Venice is in a flood and during the carnival. The fact is that there may be too many tourists in the days of the main events of the carnival in the city that you can not quietly to see the sights and take a walk around the city.

  • Biennale Arte. April 20 - November 24, 2024. Venues: Giardini / Arsenale / Forte Marghera.
  • Biennale Danza. July 18 - August 3, 2024. Venues: Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, Teatro Alle Teste, Tese Dei Soppalchi, Sale D'armi.
  • Biennale Teatro. June 15-30, 2024. Venues: Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, Teatro Alle Teste, Tese Dei Soppalchi, Sale D'armi.
  • Biennale Cinema - Venice International Film Festival. August 28 - September 7, 2024. Palazzo del Cinema on Lido di Venezia is the main headquarters of the Venice International Film Festival.
  • Biennale Musica. (International Festival of Contemporary Music). September 26 - October 10, 2024.

Historical information

History of Venice begins after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Barbarian invasions forced people to look for a safe place to live and therefore they began to populate the islands. Islands of the Venetian lagoon began actively populate in the second half of the 6th century. There was not enough the place on the islands soon, and houses began to build on stilts, right on the water. In the VII century, the islands were united under the rule of a single ruler - the doge.

In the middle ages, Venice managed to conclude agreements with all surrounding it counties to ensure the independence of the city and freedom to trade. Venice was the most important mediator between East and West, between the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe. Venetian merchants were able to make good money on the trade. For a long time Venice was perhaps the most powerful country on the shores of the Mediterranean. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the power of Venice began to decrease gradually. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world now.

The population of the municipality of Venice is about 250 thousand people, but approximately 50 thousand people live in the historical center (on the islands in the lagoon) (2024).

Tourists in Venice

Transportation

Venice is the largest pedestrian area in the world! Cars and buses have to stop in the western part of Venice, on the Tronchetto Island or on the Piazzale Roma square (near the train station). It is said that walking on foot is the best way to move around Venice. But quite often tourists also have to use public transport.

The main form of public transport in Venice is a water bus (vaporetti, water buses) and water taxis. Tickets for the water buses can be purchased at the office Hellovenezia, ticket machines in many other places in the city or on the quay at the company's staff.

Piazzale Roma square. A station for long-distance buses is located on the Piazzale Roma square. You can reach Marco Polo and Treviso airports from here by bus. The square is located at a distance approximately 300 meters from the railway station of Venice (across the Bridge of the Constitution).

If you come to Venice by car, you have to park your car in the parking area at the Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto. The alternative is to park your car on the mainland in Mestre and get to the historic center by bus, by train or by water bus.

Venice has rail links with major cities of Italy and Western Europe. Venice can be reached by train from Rome in 3.5 hours (intermediate station Florence), from Milan in 2.5 hours. Santa Lucia railway station (Venezia Santa Lucia railway station) is located in the western part of Venice. Railway trains and cars drive to Venice over the bridge “Ponte della Libertà”.

Marco Polo International Airport is the main airport of Venice. The airport is located about 8 kilometers to north of the city center, close to the Mestre district (mainland district of Venice). In 2015, the airport handled over 8,751 million passengers.

Treviso airport (Treviso-Sant Angelo Airport) is located at a distance about 20 kilometers from Venice, near the Treviso town. The airport serves aircraft of budget airlines.

It is possible to buy a ticket to Venice online. (Find the cheapest flights from London to Venice.)

Hotels in Venice

There are a lot of hotels in Venice but nevertheless, places in hotels may not be enough. This is especially true in high season and during popular events (such as Carnival). This is due to the fact that hotels in Venice, as a rule, are small and with a small number of rooms, as well as because the fact that Venice is one of the most visited cities in Italy. Read more about accommodation in Venice.

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