Venice, together with Rome and Florence, is the most beautiful city in Italy. The city is located on the Adriatic coast and is actually more of a large (118) collection of islands than a real city. The most characteristic feature of Venice is that there are no cars and that all traffic takes place over water.
All about Venice City Guide
Tourist information Venice
Province: Venice. Region: Veneto. Prefix: +39 041. Postal code: 30100. In Italian: Venezia. Tourist office: APT della Provincia di Venezia – San Marco 2637 – 30124 Venezia (tel. +39 0415298711).
Venice Airports and railway stations
Venice has its own Marco Polo Airport, which has direct connections to the city center. RyanAir and Transavia use the smaller Canova Airport in Treviso for budget flights to the city.
The main railway station is called Venezia Santa Lucia and is located right by the city center. There are some vaporetto stops, but often it is just as easy to walk to the center. There is another railway station called Venezia Mestre, but this is not in the city itself. It is however useful for tourists who cannot afford Venice’s high hotel rates and are forced to stay in Mestre.
Public transport in a city with hardly any roads or streets and consisting of no more than a large number of islands is of course by water. The vaporetto is the Venetian equivalent of the bus or metro. For tourists who stay a bit longer in the city, it is soon advisable to buy a multi-day public transport ticket. These Tourist Travel Cards have different durations and can save the traveler a lot of money.
Once the city’s most important means of public transport, the graceful gondolas are nowadays used almost exclusively by tourists in search of an “authentic” experience.
In 1170, the city was divided into 6 sestieri: Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, San Marco and Castello. These were in turn divided into 70 parishes, a number that Napoleon reduced to 38. The other islands in the lagoon do not belong to a sestiere. There are 177 canals and some 400 bridges in Venice.
Cannaregio is the norternmost sestiere of the mainland. It is home to both the central railway station and to the Strada Nuova shopping street. Its main attractions are the Ghetto, the Madonna dell’Orto Church, the Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church and the Ca d’Oro.
The annual film festival is held on the island of Lido, which is also one of the few islands with an accessible beach.
Burano is famous because of its colorful houses and Murano for its glassblowing. The island of Torcello, near Murano, has a beautiful cathedral.
The Venice Museum Card is a very good investment for people who stay in the city a little longer. Compared to, for example, the Roma Pass, the card is very cheap (24 Euro) and valid for an extremely long time (6 months). There is also a second pass which includes the most important churches of the city.
The biggest attraction of the city is the water. Along the Grand Canal there are countless magnificent palaces and this canal itself is navigated by the famous picturesque gondolas. There are four famous bridges over the canal, the most famous one being the Rialto Bridge.
The Piazza San Marco is the only piazza in Venice, since all other squares are called campo. It is recommended to visit in the morning, before it is taken over by the unrelenting tourist crowds. It is lined by famous buildings, such as the Basilica of San Marco, the Campanile, the Torre dell’Orologio, the Palazzo Ducale, the Café Florian and the Museo Correr. Another nearby attraction is the Bridge of Sighs.
World famous is the Venetian carnival celebration. During the days that this celebration takes place, it is impossible to find accommodation in the city.
A second important festival is the Biennale, while the annual Venice Film Festival is one of the most prestigious in the world. A more traditional, local festival is the Festa del Redentore.
Venice currently has about 270,000 inhabitants. However, the majority live on the mainland and not on the islands themselves. It is one of the most touristic cities in the world and has become so expensive that there are hardly any original inhabitants of the city left.