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Discover Venice  by Giuseppe Longo

Venice really needs no introduction the watery city thats unique and timeless home to gondoliers in stripey jerseys singing in front of the Bridge of Sighs, has been a fabled holiday destination for centuries. Venice is a stunning, decaying city with no wheels, a labyrinthe of mysterious streets and canals, surprise views, sublime buildings and particularly Piazza San Marco, “the finest drawing room in Europe” according to Napoleon. Venice's nature is dual: water and land, long history and doubtful future, airy delicacy and dim melancholy. When this precious place sinks, the world will be the poorer... 

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Venice - The Origins of the Sinking City   by Richard Monk
Andreina Apartment (Ref: 8168) Self catering apartment in Venice, Italy
Views of the Giudecca Canal from sitting room and kitchen. You are in a quiet neighborhood of Dorsoduro. Between the Accademia and Salute vaporetto stops and very near the Accademia Bridge. Wonderful shops and sightseeing attractions are nearby with a very non-touristy atmosphere. Apartment is composed by a spacious kitchen provided with table and 6 chairs, as well as a washing machine. From the entrance you can get to the large and comfortable living/sitting room with TV, to the double room with twin beds, to the second bedrooms with 1 king size bed and 1 single bed, and to the bathroom with shower. It can accommodate up to 5 people. Others small comforts, make easier life of our guests: the apartment is furnished of autonomous heating, you can also find the iron. Besides it is provided of fresh sheets and towels, and of books about Venice.  Sleeps 5.
Cà Rielo Apartment (Ref: 8203) self-catering apartment in Venice, Italy
Alessandro and Marina Zavagno will be happy to welcome you to Ca' Rielo, which they have just opened in one of the most interesting and characteristic areas of Venice. This Apartment offers a unique combination of elegance, style and friendliness. The rooms capture the essence of 18TH century Venice, while offering present-day visitors the comfort and convenience they have come to expect. However long you decide to stay in Venice, you will be sure to feel at home at Ca' Rielo. For your holidays in Venice I propose you a romantic apartment in the historical centre of Venice, in the district of Cannaregio, 5 minutes walking from the train station of Venice Santa Lucia and well connected to S. Marco Square.  Sleeps 4.
Charming and quiet apartment (Ref: 29198) Self catering apartment in Venice, Italy
5 people apartment few steps to Rialto bridge.  Living/dining room with kitchen , two bedrooms, bathroom (sitz-bath & shower), entrance. This is a chic and refined first floor apartment close to the famous Ca' d'Oro in Cannaregio, around ten minutes walk to Rialto and about 15 minutes to San Marco. The owners have gone to a great deal of trouble to equip it as well as possible and it really is very comfortable, incorporating the Italian style. It has the original features of beamed ceilings, and has been tastefully finished to a high standard in perfect taste. It has an open plan living/dining area, two bedrooms and an excellent bathroom. Bedrooms have double bed and single bed. A tranquil and peaceful bolthole in an interesting area of the city.   Sleeps 5.
Casa Castello, Venice (Ref: 26632) Self catering apartment in Venice, Italy
Fifteenth century palazzo. Unrivalled views from our sun terrace overlooking Salute Church, St.Marks and lagoon. 10 minutes walk from St.Mark's Square. Every facility. The apartment is situated in the district of Castello both in the midst of the Venetian community but also close to the major cultural and historical centre. Built around 1450, in the middle of a lively street of shops and restaurants, this is a charming and characterful third floor apartment ten minutes walk from St Marks Square. Unusually it has an altana/roof terrace giving fabulous panoramic views over the whole of Venice even to the snow capped Dolomites.
The apartment is easily accessible on foot over only one or two bridges from either the Arsenale or Giardini water stop. Three minutes from the waterstop for Lido beaches, it is one hour from Marco Polo airport and 30 minutes from the bus and train stations by waterbus.  Sleeps 4.
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Discover Venice  by Giuseppe Longo

Venice really needs no introduction the watery city thats unique and timeless home to gondoliers in stripey jerseys singing in front of the Bridge of Sighs, has been a fabled holiday destination for centuries. Venice is a stunning, decaying city with no wheels, a labyrinthe of mysterious streets and canals, surprise views, sublime buildings and particularly Piazza San Marco, “the finest drawing room in Europe” according to Napoleon. Venice's nature is dual: water and land, long history and doubtful future, airy delicacy and dim melancholy. When this precious place sinks, the world will be the poorer.

Venice CanalArrival By plane: Marco Polo Airport is 13km from Venice it is linked to Piazzale Roma in Venice by ATVO buses, a 20-minute trip that passes by Mestre train station. You can also catch ATVO city bus No 5. By boat, the Alilaguna hydrofoil runs from the airport to Venice or the Lido and Murano, or there are (more expensive) water taxis that can drop you at Piazzetta di San Marco. Land taxis are just as efficient and less costly.

San Guiseppe Airport Buses to/from Piazzale Roma take 1 hour and 15 minutes. If no buses appear, you can catch local bus No 6 to the main train station in Treviso and proceed to Venice by rail.

Treviso Airport is 30km away. You need to get a coach to Venice - this travels to Mestre, Venice's mainland industrial zone, then onwards to Piazzale Roma.

By train: If you come to Venice by train, you will arrive at the Stazione di Santa Lucia (known in Venice simply as the ferrovia) from Padua, Verona, Milan, Bologna, Switzerland and France, a large building located at the beginning of the Grand Canal in the Santa Croce area of the city. It is easy to reach the city center on foot walking down the Strada Nuova or by taking the water bus from one of the jetties that are opposite the station. The Stazione di Santa Lucia is in the northwest of town, at the end of the Ponte della Libertà. Paris-Venice takes 9.5 hours, including the change at Milan. If you're coming from the east (Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and beyond) you may need to change at Trieste, though there are direct trains from Budapest and Bucharest. The legendary Orient Express runs between Venice and London via Verona, Zurich and Paris twice weekly from March to November.

By bus: At the lower end of the luxury spectrum you can arrive in Venice by bus, deposited at Piazzale Roma. It's marginally cheaper than train, but much less comfortable. The bus station is on the southern side of the Grand Canal.

By car: The Ponte della Libertà bridge connects Venice to the mainland and ends at Piazzale Roma, the only part of the city where cars can enter. There are several indoor and outdoor car parks in Piazzale Roma that vary in the parking fees asked: find the fees they apply and choose one that is most convenient for you. You can also park at the Tronchetto, which you reach by turning right immediately at the end of the Ponte della Libertà bridge, just before you get to Piazzale Roma. At the Tronchetto there are some indoor and outdoor car parks. You can get to the city center easily from both these points by vaporetto (the Venice water buses), water taxi or on foot.

History and Culture 

Back in the 5th and 6th centuries was the first human settlements on the Venice Lagoon islands during the barbarian invasions when the people of the Veneto mainland sought refuge in the marshy region that followed the fall of the Roman Empire. The refugees built watery villages on rafts of wooden posts driven into the subsoil, laying the foundations for the floating palaces of today fighting as hard as they could to survive: little by little this group of pieces of land surrounded by water took on the semblance of a real town, a town that was so unique and special that it would become the only one of its kind in the world. The traditional date of Venice's birth is given as 25 March 421, but there is little evidence to support this belief.

Settlement became focused on the Rivo Alto (later known as Rialto, the highest point in the lagoon), and Venice slowly grew a big enough population to deserve the title of city, it was then annexed to the Byzantine Empire, formerly the Eastern branch of the Roman Empire while maintaining its own independence. The first of Venice's eventual 118 doges (chief magistrates) was elected in 697 giving life to a new government: the Dogado (Maritime Empire). Venice's name became inextricably linked with that of St Mark when the apostle's earthly remains were spirited out of Alexandria by merchants in 828. The holy relics were eventually brought to rest in the purpose-built St Mark's Basilica, which was consecrated in 1094.

Since the very beginning, Venice showed strong inclinations towards trade. This increased to the point that at the end of the 11th century, the city set up close trading connections with Byzantium. This was the start of the Republic of Venice, which was finally consecrated in 1202 through the 4th crusade that saw the conquering of Byzantium and then the islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. The eastern city was sacked and the booty was taken to Venice, where it was used to decorate churches and palaces. The four bronze horses that still adorn the main facade of the Basilica of San Marco were also part of that booty.

Venice now commanded a thriving and expanding commercial empire, and had gained a strong political role due to the fact that it now controlled a large part of the Mediterranean and it also increased its military power and its trading. The city's historical rivalry with Genoa exploded under the form of four wars that were fought one after the other until a truce was finally agreed at the end of 1381, when Venice beat Genoa in the famous Battle of Chioggia (1380). Venice then realized that it was necessary for the city to have bases on the mainland too and began to expand towards Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Brescia and Bergamo. Venice's prestige grew at the same rate as the increase in the land it controlled and was thus given the name of Serenissima. However, danger was round the corner: the Serenissima was so busy expanding on the mainland that it did not realize that the Turks'power was expanding rapidly, to the point where they took over Constantinople (Byzantium) and some cities on the Greek and Albanian coastlines.

The Austrians were not accepted by the Venetians, and in 1848 the city joined the long list of rebels who rose up against the established order across Europe. The Austrians were run out of the city by a group led by Daniele Manin, and the second Republic of Venice was proclaimed: in 1848, This new republic did not last for long, however, as Venice was annexed to the new Kingdom of Italy in 1866. The city was a hive of activity during the last decades of the 19th century: increased port traffic was coupled with growing industry; a railway bridge linking Venice with the mainland was built, permanently erasing the lagoon city's island status; canals were widened and deepened; pedestrian zones were laid out in the city centre, and tourism began to take off.

City Transport 

Venice has two interlocking street systems - the canals and the pavements Venice and the surrounding islands are well-served by waterbuses, the workaday vaporetti and the faster motoscafi. Buy tickets in advance at landing stages or tabacchi. Away from the large canals, travel is on foot, so be prepared to do some walking when exploring the smaller alleys and canals. In many cases the speediest way of getting around is on foot . Distances between major sights are sometimes tortuous but extremely short (you can cross the whole city in an hour), and once you've got your general bearings you'll find that navigation is not as daunting as it seems at first. The old city center is divided into six areas known as sestieri: Castello, Cannaregio, San Marco, Santa Croce, Dorsoduro, San Polo. Some islands are also part of the city: Giudecca and San Giorgio, that can be seen from Piazza San Marco, the islands of Murano, Burano, Torcello and the Lido, home to Venice's beaches and where it is possible to go by car, taking the ferry from the Tronchetto. There are many water buses and motorboats to take you quickly to any place in Venice. The vaporetto lines 1 and 82 travel along the Grand Canal from Piazzale Roma to the Lido, allowing passengers to view the wonderful buildings that stand alongside the Canal until it reaches the San Marco Basilica, where it is possible to catch a glimpse of the wonderful, majestic Piazza San Marco. An interesting way to cross the Grand Canal from one side to the other is by using the gondola ferry. These ferries can be found at various points on the Grand Canal: from Santa Maria del Giglio to the Salute and vice versa (until 1 pm); from Ca'Rezzonico to Palazzo Grassi and vice versa (until 1 pm); from Riva del Vin to the Town Hall and vice versa (until 1 pm); from the Rialto Market to Strada Nova and vice versa (up to 7.45 pm); from San Marcuola to Fontego dei Turchi and vice versa (until 1 pm); from the train station to San Simeone and Giuda and vice versa (until 1 pm).

Churches and Museums 

St Mark's Basilica St Mark's is one of the most spectacular houses of worship in the world built in 829 it is said to contain the remains of Saint Mark, The basilica was modelled on Constantinople's Church of the Twelve Apostles and consecrated in 1094. It is famous for its golden mosaics, particularly those above the doorways in the facade and decorating the interior domes. If you can wrench your eyes away from their glitter, take time to admire the 12th-century marble pavement. It has been renovated and decorated several time over the centuries and the Basilica is most certainly the most spectacular church in the city. Its main façade is unique. It has five arched doorways, a long terrace that are home to four bronze horses that came from the booty from the 4th crusade of the infidels. Its bas-relief work is in Byzantine style. The interior is just as sumptuous as the outside. The marble floor has a striking geometric pattern and there are splendid mosaics on the walls that tell stories from the New Testament. Take the lift to the top for some fabulous views over the rooftops and lagoon. The dress code requires knees, shoulders and upper arms be covered.

San Marco Bell Tower 

The San Marco Bell Tower was built in the 9th century. It was originally used as a lookout tower and as a lighthouse. It was rebuilt in 1100 and it was then completed in the 16th century under the guidance of the architect Bon. It was rebuilt in a Renaissance style while maintaining the original structure. In 1902, the bell tower fell down but fortunately there were no tragic consequences. Venice decided to rebuild it "as it was and where it was" and 10 years later the new bell tower, an exact copy of the original, was ready: the tower is square, built in brick. It is 12 meters wide and 98.6 meters high and is closed on top with a pyramid-shaped point. On the top there is a golden angel about 2 meters high. The bell tower has played an essential role in the political and social life of the city for centuries. The bells were rung to inform the city's inhabitants of all the main events organized in Venice. At the foot of the bell tower there were popular wine sellers who moved around to stay under the bell tower's shade depending on the time of day. This ancient custom is where the term that the Venetians use for a glass of wine comes from: ombra (shade in Italian).

Church of San Giorgio Dei Greci 

The Church of San Giorgio dei Greci was built starting from 1539, as soon as the Greeks obtained permission to build a church and a school from the Republic. The Church of San Giorgio dei Greci was completed by Chianantonio and was consecrated in 1561. The church’s interior is truly magnificent: the hemispherical dome is worthy of note, with its center covered in frescoes by G. di Cipro.

Church of the Pietà 

The church was built in the 15th century according to a design by Giorgio Massari and was consecrated in 1760. The building is one of the elegant and striking from the 7th century. There is a wonderful fresco by Tiepolo on the ceiling of the main entrance: Fortitudine e Pace, one of this greatest masterpieces. The frescoes that adorn the choir ceiling, which make up the Trionfo della Fede, are also worthy of note. Here Tiepolo has excelled himself, painting the Glory of Paradiso.

Church of the Santissimi Apostoli

The ancient Church of the Santissimi Apostoli stands in Campo dei Santi Apostoli, where it was built in the 9th century. The current building is the result of lots of renovation work carried out during the 18th century. Legend has it that the spot on which the Church stands was one of the first places in Venice where refugees from the mainland came to live. There are several wonderful frescoes inside the church: The “Comunione di Santa Lucia” by Tiepolo and the large panel painted by Francesco Canal that is on the ceiling, showing the Communion of the Apostles, the Celebration of the Eucharist and four ovals to the side showing the Evangelists.

The best Museums Venice has to offer Peggy Guggenheim Museum. The Peggy Guggenheim Museum is a foundation that is housed inside Palazzo Venier dai Leoni, a typical building with just one floor that looks out onto the Grand Canal. In 1954 Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979), a collector and patron of many modern artists, bought the building to live in, transferring her own collection of sculptures and paintings by artists such as Mirò, Magritte, Boccioni, Picasso, Chagall, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Ernst, Dalì. Today these works of art can be visited at the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, the best Museum of Modern Art in Venice: 400 works of art, including paintings and sculptures.



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Latest update: May 10, 2010