Stories of Venice with its canals, gondolas and architectural gems, almost sound like a cliché. But if you visit it, you will see that every word is true. Built on an artificial island in the middle of the lagoon 48 long and 9.5 kilometers wide, Venice is an architectural wonder, not so much because it is located on the island, but because it is mainly on the water.
Palaces, churches and houses of Venice, have not changed since the 16th century, so everything in it is reminiscent of the past, the era in which it was the richest city in the world and was known as the Blessed Sacrament Venetian Republic. Today, some say it is dirty and overcrowded with tourists, but for others Venice is the most beautiful city in the world.
Paradise for pedestrians
Driving a car is allowed in Venice, but not in the old city. Those who arrive by car to the Roman market will have to leave them at one of the local giant parking lots, because the entire Venice is large pedestrian zone and a paradise for pedestrians.
The ends of the city
Two locations in this city that are recognized as its “ends” are the Train Station Santa Lucia and St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). In the maze of streets and alleys, some of which are so narrow that you have to turn sideways to pass, you can find signs everywhere which point you to these two destinations. There are no wide boulevards which are seen in other cities. The closest thing to a wide street is Strada Nova, which was once ordered by Napoleon himself, and the only thing at least somewhat resembles the boulevard itself is the Grand Canal.
Square and cathedral
Saint Mark is the patron saint of Venice. Its symbol, the winged lion, is everywhere. St. Mark’s Square lies in the center of town. Along three sides of the square, elegant mansions and hotels were built, while the fourth side is occupied by St. Mark Basilica. St Mark’s Basilica with a multitude of domes dates from the 11th century.
The interior is rich with gold and mosaics – reportedly it has 3,000 square meters of mosaics – whose aim was to demonstrate the richness of the Venetian Republic. Entrance to the cathedral is free, but for most sightseeing attractions you will have to pay. On the left side of the cathedral stands the tall clock tower from the 15th century.Today it has a dial that shows the hours, phases of the moon and zodiac sign in which the sun is currently in.
Doge’s Palace occupies one side of the square, and its elegant façade of pink and white marble looks down on square and the lagoon. The interior of the palace is elegantly furnished and decorated with Tintoretto’s and Veronese’s paintings and painted ceilings.
Bridge of Sighs
Perhaps the most famous bridge in Venice, connects the back of the Doge’s Palace to the prison. Prisoners were once upon given orders to walk over this bridge to go to prison to serve sentence or execution, and hence its name. Most can be covered during the tour of the palace, but it is best to look around outside.
It is believed that the current Grand Canal was originally a river that flowed through the lagoon with muddy islands on both sides. Islands have developed into today’s city, but the shape of the river, which meanders through the city, a huge upside-down letter S, remained the same.