General information about Venice

Venice

Venice is the most romantic place in Europe, located on the northern coast of the Adriatic Sea in Italy. Majestic architecture, inimitable atmosphere of freedom and lightness, lively labyrinthine streets – all this creates a unique ensemble that must be seen, heard, felt. Most of the “city on the water” is located on islands in the Venice lagoon, which are connected to each other by a huge number of bridges. The entire historic center of Venice is included in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage, which is not surprising, because here are preserved examples of architecture XIV-XVI centuries.

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Highlights

Venice gets its name from the group of tribes that inhabited the area in ancient times. The Venetians assimilated over time, and now their descendants can be seen in the local streets.

The first mention of the Venetian carnival dates back to 1094. Until XIII-XIV centuries, masks were not worn at the carnivals In 1162, in honor of the victory over the patriarch of Aquileia, a popular fiesta began in St. Mark’s Square

The peculiarities of the city’s location led to the peculiarities of its climate. The mild winter rarely sees snowfalls or frosts and the average temperature is around +5 C. In summer it is quite hot: the air heats up to +25 – 27 ° C. When visiting Venice, be prepared for high humidity and heavy rainfall. Recommended time to visit the “city on water” are in May and June. During these months it’s not too hot and at the same time the air is warm enough to walk comfortably.

From novels, stories and anecdotes, photographs, pictures and movies we already have an idea of Venice: it’s a star among other cities in the world, sparkling with incomparable brilliance. It seems to have been photographed and described a thousand times over, and yet the city still shocks us: despite the crowds of tourists, Venice is as beautiful as we imagined it to be.

The “pearl of the Adriatic”, the city on the lagoon, is more than a thousand years old. The sandbanks have always saved it from the fury of the Adriatic Sea, which, however, has repeatedly managed to break through to the city. It has inspired many generations of artists, painters and poets. About one hundred and sixty churches and numerous palaces testify to the special place Venice occupies in the world: as a maritime power, a commercial city and a capital of the arts.

Church of San Barnaba Theatre La Fenice in Venice

Today the city is an open-air architectural museum. International contemporary art biennials, film and music festivals, drama and opera theaters, including the newly opened La Fenice Theater, constantly keep Venice’s outstanding cultural achievements high.

An indispensable component of the urban myth has been the city’s threatened flooding. The houses here are built on stilts that sink deeper and deeper into the waterlogged ground each year, and the stonework of the houses is damaged by exhaust fumes. Rising ocean levels and more frequent flooding threaten even more.

History

  • 421: Approximate date of the founding of the city by refugees from Padua fleeing the Goths.
  • 828/829: Relics of one of the Evangelists, St. Mark, are brought to Venice from Alexandria. San Marco Basilica was built between 830 and 1094.
  • 1309-1442: The Doge’s Palace, the most magnificent public building in the city, is built.
  • 1453 г.: Venice occupies a prime position among Italian city-states. It controls virtually all trade with the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
  • May 12, 1797: Napoleon conquers Venice. The last Doge, Lodovico Manin, is deposed.
  • 1902: The church of San Marco collapses. It was rebuilt in 1903-1912.
  • 1987 г.: Venice is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Old City of Venice

The old city bears the imprint of centuries past. The old architecture, the tranquility of the canals, the crowds of people that are always present in commercial cities – all this transports vacationers back a few centuries. That outdoors is the XXI century, reminiscent only of modern signs and gadgets in the hands of passersby.

In the historical center of Venice are concentrated major attractions, which must see the rest. Start looking around the city with St. Mark’s Square. It is famous primarily for its pigeons, which feel it a real master.

Piazza San Marco Doge’s Palace in Venice

Around the square are some other sights worth seeing.

The Doge’s Palace is a beautiful Gothic building, which in the course of history has changed its purpose several times. So, it was the residence of the local rulers, and later the Senate and the hearings of the Supreme Court of the Republic were held here. From its balconies, where you can now take a walk on a tour, the powerful Doge once greeted their subordinates.

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Openwork galleries Arched entrance Bas-relief of the Doge’s Palace St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice

One of the most recognizable bridges in Venice, the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) connects the palace to the adjoining building that once housed the prison. Its name has nothing to do with romantic stories – it was used by prisoners who were no longer destined to see this beautiful city. The convict Casanova once looked out over the Grand Canal here as well.

St. Mark’s Cathedral – the heart of Venice, the temple, which is rightly considered its calling card. Built in the IX century, it still summons the faithful to mass. It attracts attention not only with amazing frescos and art objects, dating back to the IX – XV centuries AD, but also with the fact that here are the relics of St. Mark, the Saint Martyr Isidore, as well as the icon of Our Lady of Nicopeia.

The Dome of the Creation of the World Byzantine-style mosaics In the cathedral there are the relics of the Apostle Mark

The Columns of St. Mark and Theodore are some of the most recognizable symbols of the square. They are decorated with majestic statues. On the column of St. Mark stands a bronze winged lion. It was created in V century B.C. and brought to Venice by the participants of the Crusades. On the St. Theodore’s Column there is a sculptural group: the patron saint of Venice with a tame crocodile stretched out at his feet.

The panorama of Saint Mark’s Square

Canal Streets

Because of the location of the city, there are no roads. There are narrow stone-paved streets winding between the houses, but waterways are used for traveling long distances. The most famous of these is the Grand Canal, which divides Venice into two parts. Along it are the most beautiful buildings of the city, so water walk will not leave anyone indifferent. The best time to set sail is at sunset, when the soft lights enhance the architecture.

There are three types of transport by which you can travel through the canals. The most famous are the river streetcars, which in Venice are called “vaporettos”. Tourists are advised to buy a pass that is valid for all trips. River cabs are a little more expensive, but then you do not have to put up with a crowd of tourists, and the speed will be much faster. The last, most luxurious option is the gondola. They are rented for a certain time, an hour ride will cost about 80-100 euros depending on the time of day.

Gondola ride to the Rialto Bridge Canal San Barnaba Grand Canal of Venice

Nighttime fascination of the city

After sunset, when the heat dies down and most tourists retreat to their hotels, Venice seems to be reborn. The lights that shine in the waters of the canals create a festive ambiance. This impression is only intensified by the music that can be heard from everywhere: from the open doors of cafes and restaurants, and clubs. For those who are looking for a place where you can dance till morning to the inflammatory rhythms, the city offers not so many options, most of which are far from the center. First and foremost is Piccolo Mondo, located on the other side of the Grand Canal from Piazza San Marco. Jazz lovers will appreciate the cozy atmosphere of the Bacaro Jazz Club. The institution is open until 2 a.m. Here you can comfortably relax and dance to live music.

Lovers of romantic walks should definitely go on a trip to the city at night. All the sights that could be seen during the day, will appear in a new light. Until late at night, orchestras play classical and contemporary music in restaurants near the Palazzo Ducale.

Piazza San Marco at night. Dinner by the Rialto Bridge Gondoliers greet the sunrise.

Financial nuances

Italy, having joined the EU, has switched to a single European currency. You can change money in exchange offices, which are almost at every step. Venice is well-developed tourism business, so no problems with buying euros for any other European currency.

Arriving here it is advisable to stock up on some cash. The fact that most souvenir shops, stores with sweets, hostels do not accept credit cards. Pay with VISA and MasterCard is possible in large institutions and organizations, including the purchase of tickets for the train.

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To make purchases in Venice were profitable, do not forget to bargain. Thus you can reduce the price of any item by almost a third. Of course, this is appropriate only in small shops.

From Venice with gifts

Masks were also used in everyday life to hide the face, which served different purposes, from romantic dates to crime. This led to a ban on the wearing of masks outside of carnival shortly before the end of the Venetian Republic.

When you come to Venice, it’s hard to resist buying a variety of souvenirs and memorabilia depicting the main sights. Stores and stores with such goods are practically at every turn, and the huge range will confuse even the most experienced tourists.

Decorating a Venetian mask is painstaking work with paints, foil, beads, rhinestones and enamel

One of the must-have items on your shopping list is a Venetian mask. It is a constant attribute of carnival, for which the city is famous all over the world. These accessories are made by local craftsmen from leather, papier-mache, ceramics, porcelain and even glass. In addition to traditional painting, colorful feathers, rhinestones and sequins can be used as decorations. Here you can find images of the legendary Venetian Lady or the frightening Doctor Plague. There are also masks of Harlequin, Pierrot and many other theatrical characters.

Murano glass cello

The price of products directly depends on their size and the materials from which they are made. For example, a small papier-mâché mask can be bought for 10 euros, but the handmade leather goods can be estimated in tens of thousands.

Murano glass is the calling card of Venice. It is used to make jewelry, souvenirs, dishes, furnishings, and more. Products amaze with a wealth of colors and fancy designs created by glassblowers. Purchase such souvenirs is best combined with a trip to the island of Murano. Here you can see the process of creating these fragile masterpieces with your own eyes. After a sightseeing tour you can visit one of the many stores in the private workshops. Here, the prices are lower than in the historic city center, and the range is richer. Girls will love the jewelry sets of colorful glass beads, exquisite chandeliers and vases, and men can buy ashtrays or watches.

Murano glass fish candy Murano glass Burano lace

Another popular option for a gift from Venice is Burano lace. It is best to buy it in specialized stores, because only then you can be sure of high quality products, and the risk of buying a fake is reduced to zero. Those who are interested in the process of making lace should go to the island of Burano and visit the workshop. There you can see the fine openwork, amazing with its beautiful patterns.

Pasta with cuttlefish ink

Lovers of gastronomic discoveries should definitely buy black pasta. The pasta is dyed in a distinctive color with cuttlefish ink.

As a supplement you can buy a bottle or two of white sparkling wine “Prosecco”, which was also invented in Venice. That said, if the return trip is planned by plane, it is worth taking care of the secure packaging of the drink so that the bottle is not damaged.

Holidays

  • February 6: Regatta delle Befans and the Lido races.
  • February-March: Carnival.
  • April 25: Festa di San Marco, a gondolier regatta on the Canal Grande.
  • Sunday after Ascension Day (celebrated on the 40th day after Easter): Festa della Sensa, a celebration of the Doge’s betrothal to the sea.

Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art

If you are interested in contemporary art, you should plan a trip to Venice between June and October. Every two odd-numbered years, the city on the lagoon is transformed into an “art space.” The festival’s official website is www.labiennale.org.

Single ticket

A single ticket (from 21.50 euros, www.venicecard.it) can be purchased for one, three or seven days. It gives you access to public transportation and free access to state museums and important churches.

Sunset over Venice

Where to Stay

Even with the large influx of tourists, finding an overnight stay in Venice is easy. It’s easy to find hotels of any star rating, as well as budget options – hostels.

View from Hotel Palazzetto Pisani

In order to spend as little time as possible on the way to the sights, it is advisable to choose institutions located in the center. For example, the Hotel A La Commedia, which is a ten minute walk from Piazza San Marco, offers cozy rooms equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay. The price for a room ranges from 400 euros per night. In the immediate vicinity of the Doge’s Palace is the popular four-star hotel Palazzetto Pisani. It offers rooms with views of the Grand Canal and some apartments have a balcony.

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The mid-range Domina Home Giudecca, on Giudecca Island, has also earned positive reviews from guests. It offers rooms with windows overlooking the canal, and the buffet, which is included in the room rate, will save you money on food. There are regular public transportation services to Piazza San Marco.

Hotel Principe on the Grand Canal Hotel Villa Laguna on the Lido overlooking the Venice Lagoon Hostel A Venice Fish

Travellers who have traveled to Italy with a small amount of money can stay in hostels. There are many of these hotels in Venice, and in most cases they are located in ordinary apartments, equipped with appropriate technology. If you choose this option, tourists can count on interesting new acquaintances and fun company of people from different parts of the world. For example, A Venice Fish is located in the heart of the city in the Cannaregio district. Spacious rooms with bunk beds, shared bathrooms and toilets, free kitchen – all this, as well as evening feasts with pasta and wine to the sound of the guitar, you can get for only 20 euros per night.

Come to Venice!

A selection of hotels from hotellook

The way to Venice

Since the city is located on islands, to get to the historic center tourists will have to make several transfers, whichever mode of transport is chosen. The most convenient option is by air. From Moscow, there are direct flights from Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo to Tessera (Marco Polo airport) on Fridays and Saturdays respectively. The trip takes only three hours, and the early departure allows you to be in Italy by noon.

You can also choose a flight to Milan (from Vnukovo to Malpensa on Fridays and Saturdays or from Sheremetyevo on Fridays) or Rome (from Domodedo to Fiumicino on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). You can get to Venice itself by train or train. Transport runs regularly and almost without delay. Given that the cars in most cases are equipped with seats, it is better not to choose night flights. The arrival station is called “Santa Lucia”.

Piazza San Marco, top view Taxi in Venetian style Venetian gondolas – the most beautiful boats in the world

Regular bus services depart from Marco Polo Airport for Venice. In just half an hour the ATVO and ACTV routes take vacationers to Piazzale Roma (Piazzale Roma). You can take bus number 15 to the train station. Ticket costs on average 5-6 euros.

There are also river streetcars and cabs from the airport. The fare is more expensive than the bus, but on the way you can enjoy views of canals and key tourist sites of the city. This mode of transport is suitable for those who are not tired on the way and are willing to spend more than an hour on the road.

Travelers who don’t want to wait for public transportation can order a cab, but this option will be the most expensive.

Venice

Venice – a unique historical city in Italy, literally permeated with romance and a unique atmosphere of mystery. Almost every house in Venice is an architectural creation of the past centuries, the endless narrow streets captivate with their charm.

Venice

Photo: Don Mammoser / Shutterstock.com

Throughout the city there is a feeling of love and happiness, the splash of water adds a special charm, and the numerous carnivals, exhibitions and film festivals, held annually in Venice and gathering the most famous representatives of world art and culture, leave a perfectly tangible air of eternal feast.

Venice is a real museum city and is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are a huge number of historical monuments of culture, mostly created in the 14th-16th centuries.

Grand Canal

Photo: Mistervlad / Shutterstock.com

The history of the founding of Venice dates back to ancient times, when the city was inhabited by the Venetians, who gave the city its name. As an island city Venice was formed by the 9th century, and in the Middle Ages it was already the center of the Venetian Republic – at that time the city literally flourished architecturally and culturally.

Today Venice is a central place in the cultural and tourist life of Italy. Millions of tourists come here every year.

If you have not yet been to this impressive city, it is worth putting a trip to Venice in your nearest travel plan, as this architectural marvel is more and more immersed in the surrounding water space forever.

St. Mark's Cathedral

Photo: DILOCOM / Shutterstock.com

Location and population of the city

Venice covers 118 islands on the eastern side of the Apennine Peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The space between the islands is made up of numerous streams and canals that form the unique topography of Venice.

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400 bridges connect the parts of the city divided by water, while the road bridge, 4 km long, connects Venice to the mainland.

All houses in Venice have a special foundation, without which it would be impossible to imagine the construction of this city in conditions of muddy soil. Meanwhile the lowest layer of houses is fully immersed in water, and the houses themselves are built of lightweight materials, which keeps them on the surface of the water.

Venice is the administrative center of the province of Venice and forms a commune consisting of 6 independent districts.

The city has a population of about 265,000 people.

Grand Canal

Photo: PaPicasso / Shutterstock.com

Climate

To travel to Venice, you should choose the time of year carefully. This is due to the peculiarities of the local climate. The fact is that in summer there is a very intense heat, reaching +30 degrees, which is quite uncomfortable for visiting museums and long walks around the city.

Venice

Photo: Kite_rin / Shutterstock.com

This is typical of most Italian cities, so traditionally the peak tourist season in Venice is considered to be the intermediate seasons: spring and autumn. The temperature is quite acceptable and there is not much rain.

In winter time because of the island climate in Venice often rains and the weather is foggy, and the streets and canals are submerged in a mysterious haze. High winds are not uncommon at this time of year.

How to get to Venice

The most popular and easiest way to travel to Venice is by plane. To learn the latest information on flights to Venice airports from different cities, as well as to buy a ticket at a bargain price you can on the Aviasales.ru website.

You can also reach Venice from almost any European capital by train, arriving to the railway station of Santa Lucia. For example, from Milan the trip to Venice by train takes about 2.5 hours, from Paris – about 9 hours.

If you want, the train can be replaced by a bus. Thus, you can organize your own unforgettable trip to Venice with visits to other European cities.

A romantic way to reach Venice is of course the alternative, for example from Greece, by ferry or by the farthest boat on the waters of the Adriatic, with a stop at San Basilio, the port of Venice.

Venice airports

Venice currently has 2 airports – Marco Polo, located 12 km from Venice, and Treviso, which is 30 km away from the sea city.

Most airlines fly to Marco Polo airport, while Treviso is an economical option and receives planes of such low-cost carriers as Ryanair.

The most convenient way to get to Venice from Marco Polo airport is to take a bus, travel time is about half an hour. You can also make a more interesting journey to the city by boat Vaporetto, spending unforgettable 60 minutes in anticipation of the fabulous Venice.

There are also bus lines between Treviso airport and Venice, which have regular timetables with the airlines, so it is easy to reach Venice from the airport.

For more information on how to travel from airports to Venice, see the Marco Polo Airport and Treviso Airport pages.

How to travel from Venice to other cities

Read in our articles about how to get to other cities from Venice:

City transportation

The central part of Venice is famous for virtually the only way to get around is by water transport, which is represented here by various types. These include vaporettos, gondolas, and traghettos.

Routes, schedules, and ticket prices are current as of 2022. Check the official websites of the carriers.

Venice

Photo: sandyroul / Shutterstock.com

Water transport

The Vaporettos run along all the central canals, and the journey on them is spectacular and colorful. A purchased ticket for this mode of transport is valid for 75 minutes and costs €7.50.

The main route passes through the Grand Canal. We recommend that you take the vaporetto, even if you prefer to travel on your feet, because it is a unique way to get around in such an incomparable place!

Traghetto are small ferries that can be used to get from one shore to the other where there are no bridges. The cost of a standard ticket for a traghetto is 5 euros.

You can also use the services of a water cab, which is more expensive than public water transport, but may be more convenient in many cases. The cost of water cab starts at 15 Euros per boarding and adds 2 Euros for each minute as you travel.

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Venice’s most expensive means of transportation for traveling by water are the famous gondolas. For romantic gondola ride you will have to pay about 100 Euros for a maximum of 6 people. So be sure to gather a group of gondola lovers and travel by gondola because it is not very profitable to travel by yourself.

Minimetro

Perhaps everything in Venice is special and remarkable. Even the peculiar subway (People Mover), which is a monorail with 3 stations (Tronchetto, Sea Station, Piazzale Roma) and the only train with 2 cars.

The ticket price is 1.50 Euro – valid for 75 minutes including buses and streetcars.

Tickets for public transport

As usual, tickets for all transport can be purchased at newspaper and tobacconist’s kiosks, ticket booths and vending machines located at all main bus stops and the train station.

The standard ticket (Biglietto Ordinario Automobilistico 75 Minuti) is valid for 75 minutes from the moment of validation: suitable for travel on the subway, buses and streetcars. It costs 1.5 Euros.

Important: it’s better to buy tickets in advance, as the standard ticket will cost 3 Euros if purchased from the driver on board.

You can also buy the Carnet 10 Corse Automobilistico 75 Minuti: includes 10 single tickets of 75 minutes for buses, streetcars and minimetros. It costs 14 Euros.

In addition, there are 1, 2, 3 and 7-day passes valid for all Actv transport, including water transport (exceptions are routes 16 and 19, as well as Alilaguna and Casinò). Their cost is:

  • For 1 day – 20 Euro;
  • For 2 days 30 Euros;
  • For 3 days 40 euros;
  • For 7 days 60 Euros.

If you plan to stay in Venice for a long time, a monthly pass for the People Mover will cost about 20 euros.

Do not forget that all tickets and passes must be composted in special yellow devices before each trip. This feature is characteristic of all Italy.

For more information, see the official website of the carrier actv.avmspa.it/en/content/venice-urban-services-0.

Car rental

Around Venice itself by car is of course problematic: especially considering that the historic part is completely pedestrianized. This option is suitable if you want to see not only Venice, but also cities located on the mainland. For example, from Venice you want to go to Bologna or Milan.

Compare prices and rent a car on the Discovercars.com website.

Venice sights

The most popular tourist spots to visit:

If you’re planning to stay in this city for a short time, read a separate article on what to see in Venice in 1 day.

Cafes and Restaurants

Of course, Venice as a seaside city is first and foremost famous for its seafood. Any restaurant will serve excellent fish or deliciously cooked shrimp with a minimum of seasoning, but this is a peculiarity of Venetian cuisine compared to that of the traditional Italian one.

The category of local delights includes an appetizer in the form of sardines seasoned with white marinade, artichokes, risotto with seafood, omelette with vegetables and potatoes, spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, traditional pasta bigoli with anchovy sauce. And fish soup, of course!

As for salads and vegetables in general, this is not a priority food in Venice. It is better to give preference to fish dishes.

As usual in Italy, for lunch or dinner it is better to choose a restaurant not in the center, but a little farther away, where the noise of tourists subsides and the food is prepared more carefully and tastily, in contrast to the same restaurants on San Marco. You can try the local delicacies in the so-called bacari, paying up to 5 euros for a panino or tramezzino.

The only cafe in Piazza San Marco that you should definitely visit is the ancient Café Florian. A place where Hemingway, Byron, Casanova, Rousseau, Brodsky spent their time! It is impossible to imagine a visit to Venice without a cup of coffee in this legendary cafe.

Shopping

Venice is not the kind of place where you come to shop and buy brand-name clothes or shoes. Here tourists are encouraged to take souvenirs – traditional carnival masks or numerous products of the unique glass Murano, which is also produced here – as a memento of the unique city.

How to save on hotel in Venice

Booking a hotel in advance at a low price is easy on the Russian-speaking site Ostrovok.ru. The system presents more than 900 thousand hotels, there are also hostels, apartments, guest houses and others.

The service works with many accommodation facilities directly, so it offers great deals. It is easy to find a suitable hotel using filters and location on the map.

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