Venice is one of the most unique and picturesque cities in the world. Instead of streets there are canals, and instead of cars there are boats and gondolas. The winding pedestrian streets on the islands are a labyrinth, and heaven knows that I got lost more than I could count. Although it was never a bad lost, it was always a good lost because I was surrounded by old Italian architecture, and there were surprises around each corner.
We were renting a flat in the middle of Venice, and it gave us the opportunity to of live like a local, even if it was for several days. Our flat was in a typical old Venetian style building in the San Polo district, and next to the Church of the Friars. It was a bit of a distance from the busy St Mark’s square, and all the tourists. That was fine because it was a quiet neighborhood, and it was exactly what we wanted while staying in Venice.
Although no matter how many times I tried to mentally mark my path along the winding streets, I never took the same route back. Did anything look familiar yet, Trixie? Nope. It did give me the opportunity to get lost, and have the confidence enough to know that I would always make it back home.
Venice is beyond impressive, and will leave lasting memories that will last a lifetime or two. It is unique in that it was constructed on 118 small islands, separated by water canals that are all linked with over 400 bridges. The easiest and most popular way to view these bridges is by gondola, and the only way to explore the city streets are getting lost on foot.
With my studies on food history, the evolution of Venice has always fascinated me especially with its major roll in the spice trade. Venice was Europe’s gateway to the East (Orient), and if Europe wanted foreign spices or commodities they would have to buy it from Venice. The city became a major powerhouse during the old Spice and Silk trade route of the Orient, which was a contributor of Venice’s wealth and influence. This in turn helped build Venice’s ornate palaces, grand mansions, and remarkable city structure.
Depending on how much time you have in Venice, there are major historical key points to the city that should not be missed. There are many tourists who come here per year, and the Venice can get packed. All sorts of visitors come here from organized tours, cruise excursions, those who stay at one of the local hotels, to others who stay awhile and rent a flat in one of the old Venetians buildings.
However you visit Venice and however long you stay, it will surely be an unforgettable lifetime experience.
For inspiration and recommendations of places to see and things to do, please read on. I have included several additional blogs with my personal favorites of Venice, and inspirational photos from my trip. Enjoy Venice, my friends!
Venice’s Top Museums
Venice has produced several Italian Renaissance Venetian Masters, including Titan and Tintoretto. It is a remarkable experience to walk through Venice’s palaces with their ornate architectural details, containing art works from Masters of the Renaissance era up to the Modern art movement.
Visiting Venice allowed me an opportunity to view the art world of Venice through its architecture, its cathedral, palaces, and the fine art collections displayed. I found myself immersed in several of the city’s best museums, which I am personally recommending to you. Enjoy!
⭐ For my museum blog and info – Venice’s First Class Museums | Discovering Italy
Cathedrals and Churches
Venice has deep roots within the Catholic religion, and the city is not short of containing its share of churches and cathedrals throughout its 118 little Islands. The centuries old churches were mostly constructed during Venice’s years of profound wealth, and is the reason why the architecture and artwork can be breathtaking.
While I was in Venice, I had originally planed on visiting five churches and cathedrals, a pretty lofty goal. In reality, due to everything that I did from museums to island hopping, I only achieved three. The three I did visit were extraordinary with their high vaulted ceilings, giant columns, ornate altars, significant sculptures, and impressive artworks that were concealed inside their walls. The wealth and power of Venice’s past are showcased in every inch of the city’s churches and cathedrals.
⭐ For more information – Cathedrals and Churches of Venice | Discovering Italy
Doge’s Palace & the Bridge of Sighs
Crossing the Bridge of Sighs over the Rio de Palazzo canal, which is connected to Doge’s Palace and looking through the stone lattice windows, I had comprehended why its name came to be. The Bridge of Sighs was not named after a romantic sentiment of gazing at the white limestone covered bridge watching gondolas breeze by, and taking in a big sigh of its beauty.
This bridge was named for the prisoners who would walk across the bridge from the Doge’s Palace (left) onto the prison cells (right), look out the window and sigh at their last glimpse of the beauty of Venice. Sorry to break it to you romantics, but do not let that stop you from sighing over the beauty of the bridge while the gondolas pass underneath. It is a magnificent site.
The Doge’s Palace was the residence for the Doge of Venice, the chief magistrate who was the supreme authority of the city during the medieval, and renaissance periods. The palace was constructed in 1340 in the Venetian Gothic style, and is considered a significant landmark of the city of Venice. Over the centuries the place had been modified and extended, and had become a museum in 1923 being one of 11 museums that are run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
⭐ For more information – Doge’s Palace & the Bridge of Sighs | Discovering Venice, Italy
Basilica di San Marco
The magnificent Basilica di San Marco, commonly known as St. Mark’s Basilica, is one of Venice’s most beautiful historical landmarks. It was my favorite cathedrals or churches that I had visited in the city, due its ornate interior and its rich history. The cathedral is located on the eastern end of the famous Saint Mark’s Square and is attached to the Doge’s Palace, which are two of my other favorite locations in Venice. The whole picture of the three together, is one of the city’s more popular view points.
Today, St. Mark’s Basilica is one of the most important and popular tourist attractions in Venice and it is strongly recommended to purchase your tickets online, prior to your visit. It is also an active Catholic church, so there is mass service on Sunday mornings. All are welcome to mass, but there is no wandering around the cathedral during services.
⭐ For more information – Basilica Di San Marco – St. Mark’s Basilica | Discovering Venice, Italy
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection was a favorite of mine while visiting Venice, I enjoyed everything about it. The collection of modern art was marvelous, as well as its location along the Grand Canal. The museum is housed inside the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which was an 18th century palace, and the home of American heiress Peggy Guggenheim for three decades. I truly appreciated the whole museum scene- how the renovations made the palazzo look modern and open, that Peggy Guggenheim had lived her for decades and is filled with her impressive art collection.
The collections inside are Peggy Guggenheim’s personal art collection, as well as of the former wife of artists Max Ernst, and Solomon Guggenheim’s niece. Peggy Guggenheim started collecting a large amount of artworks in Europe, between 1936 – 1946, as World War II began. Then while in America, Peggy discovered many impressive talents, including Jackson Pollock. Her Palazzo on the Grand Canal has been noted as a well-respected collection, with an impressive selection of modern art.
⭐ For more information – The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice | Discovering Italy
Murano, Burano and Torcello
The little islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello were a sensational way to extend our trip in Venice, Italy. They are all picturesque and unique in their own way- One is famous for glass blowing, another has colorful buildings and small canals, while the other has an impressive archaeological heritage. These islands of Venice are quite special, and would be a shame to overlook on your visit to Venezia.
Getting to the islands is very easy and can be done on your own by water taxi, or by a group tour. When I had visited the three islands, my then teenage daughter and I took a vaporetto (water taxi) since we were renting a flat in Venice. If you are looking to visit the islands on your own and need travel information, please click – City Pass Venezia or Venice Vaporetto
⭐ For my blog on the islands – Murano, Burano and Torcello | The Islands of Venice, Italy
Italy Food Blog
DELIZIOSO! While in Italy, I had a quick taste-test of the food offered in the Northern cities of Venice, Milan and Verona. I understand there is more to true Italian food than what I ate and have listed. That is why I am looking forward to more noshing throughout the whole country of Italy- just waiting for my revisit!
As for now here is my ‘Taste Test’- From pasta to gelato,”What I ate in ITALY – Noshing in Venice, Milan and Verona’
Never loose your sense of wonder…
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre