Venice - St. Mark's Square

Located in Northeast Italy, Venice is a city like no other.  Built on a series of islands along the coast of Italy, it creates a big city experience you will see in few locations around the world.  The main island contains some of Italy’s most historic structures.  There are many canals that wind their way around the island and no roads.  Therefore, the preferred modes of transportation around Venice are by foot or by boat.  This setting creates a great romantic atmosphere in the heart of the city.

Things you MUST see/do:

St Mark’s (San Marco) Basilica – Located at the end of St. Mark’s square is a very well decorated Cathedral.  It gets its name from the presence of the relics of St. Mark the Evangelist (stolen from Alexandria, Eygpt) inside the Basilica.  The current building was originally built in the Byzantine style along with the connected Doges Palace.  Over the centuries, the external facade has been added on to and now contains other styles such as gothic.  The additions have covered the outside with exquisitely detailed features.  Make sure to get a view of it from St Mark’s Square and try to take in all of its grandeur.  It is also a great church to enter, to see the elaborate detail inside the church.  It appears no expense has been spared in the decorating of this Basilica.

St. Mark’s (San Marco) Square – Due to the location outside St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s square is a hub activity in Venice.  It is framed by many interesting buildings (including the Basilica), which contain some nice cafes.  The square is full of activity of not only humans, but also pidgeons.  There are more pidgeons in this small square at any given time than we see in our city in a year!

St. Mark’s Campanile –  This is the Basilica’s bell tower.  It is a very neatly designed building to behold and for a fee the tower can be climbed for some fantastic views of Venice from above (a rare opportunity as Venice is quite flat with few tall buildings).

The Bridge of Sighs – A bridge built to join the Doges Palace to the prisons across the Rio di Palazzo Canal.  It is best viewed by boating along the canals.  Its name comes from the story that the windows of the bridge were the last chance convicts would have to see the outside world and they would let out a sigh upon realizing their fate.

Rialto Bridge – The Rialto Bridge was the first bridge built across the Grand Canal.  It is a historic structure lined with stores.  This is a great location to spend some time and do some souvenir shopping.

Travels4Couples highly recommended EXPERIENCES:

Fly into Venice Airport – There are very few places in the world with geography that can match Venice.  This geography is best viewed from above.  Therefore, we recommend getting to Venice by airplane and taking  in the views as you land.  It will take your breath away!  As an added bonus, take a water taxi to your hotel.

Lose yourself in Venice – As mentioned above, venice contains no roadways, so all of its “roads” are narrow.  Due to the requirement of walking throughout the city, there is a serious lack of street signs and the maps are very difficult to follow.  However, do not take this as a problem, instead, enjoy the walk.  On the buildings there are usually signs pointing to the two main tourist spots, St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge.  Follow these signs whenever you see them and you will eventually make your way there.  It makes for quite an enjoyable afternoon.

Watch Glass Blowing and Lace Making Demonstrations – Venice is world renowned for its glass work and lace.  There are many locations throughout Venice where you can see glass blowers at work making glass figures or lace makers at work.  It is amazing to see these demonstrations, as most of the work is still done by hand, not by machine.  While there, it is possible to pick up some lace or blown glass to take home.

Accommodation off the Main Island –  Although most of the action happens on the main island of Venice, we really enjoyed having our accommodation off island with views back on to the main island.  We stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky , a converted flourmill and granary, during our stay in Venice and we loved it there.  It was a wonderful location, with a rooftop bar that has views to the main island and the room was fabulous!

Travels4Couples #1 ROMANTIC thing to do in Venice:

Taking a Gondola Ride – There could be no other experience more romantic in Venice than a gondola ride.  Being pushed through the narrow canals of Venice, and serenaded by a gondolier, while sitting in each others arms watching the people walk by, there can be no more romantic setting.