Unique, breathtaking, and stunning – these are words that best describe the northern Italian city of Venice – a ‘must-do’ life experience of beauty, art, and unparalleled charm. Venice is the cultural bridge between east and west; it is the city of Marco Polo, it carries the most intriguing carnival tradition, and also offers a fine example of 16th century avant-garde art. A city surrounded by water with incredible highlights such as St. Mark’s (San Marco) Square, the Bridge of Sighs, art museums, gondolas, and of course lace from Burano and glass from Murano.
From the moment you set foot in Venice, you know you are in a place like no other in the world, a city so enchanting, so extravagant, so daring that it can seem quite unreal. This is not just a first impression: during your stay you will constantly need to remind yourself that you are indeed in a real city! Several other cities in the world have canals, but no other city can boast such an extensive network lined with such grand buildings, great churches, magnificent private palazzi, public and commercial buildings, sculptures and other monuments.
• Romantic aura
• Historical landmarks
• Exquisite museums
• Venetian Carnival
• Unique infrastructure
Initially populated by refugees from neighboring provinces and cities fleeing the invasions of the Germanic tribes and the Huns, Venice slowly grew from a few small fishing settlements around the lagoon, to a consortium of islands vying in unison for their survival and economic prominence in the region. During the Middle Ages, Venice expanded its riches and influence in the region and developed into a major financial power. With its new found riches and importance in the region as trading crossroads between east and west, Venice began to commemorate its affluence by “showing off” its wealth to the rest of the world. An explosion of architectural and artistic splendor lead to exquisite buildings such as the Basilca di San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale, the Piazza San Marco and the Church Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.
Venice’s decline began in the 15th century with the rise of the Ottoman Empire. The ensuing conflict between the two powers crippled Venice’s finances and assets in the Mediterranean and with the opening of new trade routes by Portugal and Spain, Venice’s power dwindled in comparison to its past glories. Conquered in 1797 by Napoleon, Venice matured through time into an elegant and sophisticated city using its architecture, art, and literature to attract visitors. Today Venice is probably the most visited city in Europe, boasting a vibrant economy and rich cultural scene. Venice’s troubles are however not over, as the never ending battle against the tides and floods that are trying to consume this historic city continues.