ENJOY SOME DOWN TIME IN PIAZZA SAN MARCO
Piazza San Marco is the political and religious center of the city. To truly experience Venice, be sure to spend some time relaxing in the coffee houses overlooking the square. These are long established centers of cultural exchange, where great artists and writers would meet to discuss literature, poetry, and politics. In fact, many famous personalities can still be found in and around the cafes.
ENJOY SOME GREAT SHOPPING
The area of Le Mercerie, which is located in the San Marco District, includes some of Venice’s most famous shopping streets. Between the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco, you will find stores selling fine jewelry, designer apparel, as well as traditional Venetian costumes and souvenirs. On Calle Larga XXII Marzo, you’ll find some of the most recognized names of Italian and international fashion.
EXPLORE THE VENETIAN CANALS
One of the unique things about Venice is that you can go anywhere in this city through its iconic canals, and with 150 of them, you can spend days trying to see them all. Take a Vaporetto or a water taxi to move through the canals in a more contemporary fashion or take a traditional gondola for a romantic and slow paced exploration of the magnificent city of Venice.
WATCH AN OPERA IN TEATRO LA FENICE
The famous ‘La Fenice’ theater was constructed during the 18th century and remains one of Italy’s most striking theaters. The original building was destroyed by a fire in 1836 and then again in 1996. The Fenice was rebuilt according to its 19th century design and reopened in 2003. It has a capacity of over one thousand people and is renowned for its remarkable acoustics.
EXPERIENCE THE VENICE CARNIVAL
Between February and March, the narrow streets and piazzas of Venice are in continuous celebration with theatrical joy and playfulness. The Carnival lasts for approximately ten days and coincides with pre-Easter festivities. If you’re in Venice midday on the first Saturday of Carnival, you’ll witness the ‘Volo dell’Angelo’ (flight of the angel). Since 2001, the role of the angel is performed by an artist who ‘flies’ from San Marco’s bell tower toward Palazzo Ducale to announce the beginning of Carnival celebrations.
EXPERIENCE THE VENICE FILM FESTIVAL
Founded in 1932, the Venice Film Festival is the oldest international film festival in the world. It is held in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on Lido island and attracts a stream of famous actors and directors aspiring for a much-coveted Golden Lion or Coppa Volpi. The festival is part of the Biennale di Venezia, one of the most prestigious cultural exhibitions in the world.
VISIT THE JEWISH GHETTO
Venice’s Jewish Ghetto is the oldest in Europe; it dates back to 1516 when the city’s Jewish community was confined in the Ghetto from sunset until sunrise. Over the centuries, the population grew to such an extent that the only way the ghetto could expand further was upwards. Hence a series of soaring tower houses were constructed, many of which were eight stories tall. Visit Venice’s Jewish Museum and make sure to pop into the museum’s bookshop–the only bookshop in Italy that specializes in Judaica.
EXPLORE MURANO ISLANDS
Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon; it is best known for its production of artistic glassware, a tradition that boasts a centuries-old history. The most precious works, including the Barovier Cup created in blue glass and dating back to the 15th century are conserved in the Glass Museum. Along the small lanes of Murano, you will find numerous artist studios and shops selling the island’s famous glass creations.
EXPLORE BURANO ISLAND
Burano is an island with an ancient fishing tradition, but it’s most famous worldwide for its lace-making tradition that dates to the 14th century. As part of its fishing tradition, the wives would paint their houses in bright colors in order to indicate that their sailors were at home. Today, the village still offers a vibrant display of yellow, green, blue, and red buildings. At the Lace Museum in the piazzetta, visitors can learn about the history of the island’s lace making tradition and observe lace makers at work. From the bridge of Terranova, you can enjoy a fabulous view of the 17th century Church of San Martino, complete with a leaning tower!
EXPLORE TORCELLO ISLAND
Torcello was once a flourishing little island and its prosperity is evidenced through its numerous important works of architecture, including the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, the Ponte del Diavolo, and the Trono di Attila – an ancient stone throne standing in the courtyard just outside the Basilica. It is a great place to explore by bike. As you pedal along the tree lined Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, you’ll pass the island’s many parks and the elegant buildings of the San Nicolo Riviera. Be sure to visit the island’s long fortifications called the Ridotto del Lido and admire the ancient church dating back to the 16th century.