Where do you start? You could spend a year in Venice and still only see a fraction of what is there. Here are a few things you really shouldn't miss:
Piazza San Marco
The grandest square in Venice, and the only which is actually called a piazza, this is dominated by the Basilica of San Marco and the Doge's Palace. Other buildings include the Procuratie Vecchie (Old Law Courts) and Procuratie Nuove (New Law Courts).
The most conspicuous feature of the city is the 91m high Campanile San Marco which was built between 874 and 1150 and reconstructed after it collapsed in 1902.
To the rear of the Doge's Palace is the famous Bridge of Sighs, which connects the palace with public prisons and was the route by which prisoners were taken to and from the judgement hall.
The largest canal in the city, the Grand Canal is almost 3 km long and up to 70 metres wide. Many famous buildings are situated on its banks, including the baroque church of Santa Maria Della Salute, the Accademia Gallery, the Ca'd'Oro and the Grassi, Corner-Spinelli and Grimani Palaces. It is crossed by three bridges: the Accademia, Rialto and Scalzi. The most famous of these is the Rialto (1588), lined with a double row of shops.
Basilica of Saints Giovanni and Paolo
Facing the Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo, this is the largest Venetian gothic church and contains the burial monuments of Doges and other important citizens.
Santa Maria dei Frari
A monumental church in gothic style containing numerous works of art, including the altarpiece of the Assumption by Titian and a wooden statue by Donatello.
A Grand Canal palazzo which houses a museum of 18th century Venice - a truly wonderful experience!
The Venier dei Leoni Palace is the headquarters of the famous Peggy Guggenheim art collection and contains works by Picasso, Klee and Kandinskij. The Accademia Gallery holds a vast collection of Venetian painters from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The Ca'd'Oro, one of the most beautiful monuments of Venice, is now the seat of the Franchetti Gallery.
Burano: a small island ten kilometres from the city, famous for its artistic handmade lace.
Giudecca: opposite the Zattere shore and across the 400m wide Giudecca Canal. Rising among small streets and green spaces is the huge Church of the Redeemer, planned by Palladio and finished only after his death, at the end of the sixteenth century.
Lido de Venezia: an exclusive tourist and residential centre located on an island southeast of Venice, 12 minutes by waterbus from San Marco. This island has bathing establishments, the casino, and the cinema palace where the International Film Festival takes place each year.
Murano: this group of five islands, accessible by motoscafo routes 41 and 42, is famous for its glass industry. Here one can visit the Glassworks Museum and the Romanesque church of SS. Maria and Donato.
San Giorgio Maggiore Island: this island is beside the Giudecca, opposite the Schiavoni, and is the location of the S. Giorgio Church.
Torcello: this little island has a seventh-century cathedral, the Romanesque church of S. Fosca.
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