Magical Venice will captivate you as soon as you arrive. With its unique canals, winding streets and stunning architecture, holidays here will capture your heart...
A UNESCO-protected city, it is often described as a marvel of engineering. Built on 118 islands and numerous deeply sunk wooden piles, Venice boasts 177 canals, of which the Grand Canal is the largest.
It is around 2.3 miles long and connects the Saint Mark Basin at one end to a lagoon near the Santa Lucia train station at the other. Sweeping under the beautiful Rialto Bridge, which is one of around 400 bridges in the city, a trip on this canal in a gondola or vaporetto is an experience not to be missed.
Other sights that can be seen from the Grand Canal include the impressive Palazzo Ducale, which has its origins in 9th-century Venice but has been rebuilt, altered and added to over the centuries. The building as it is today took shape in the 1300s with pink marble and limestone walls, but even today it still requires constant attention and renovation, as with so many other Venetian buildings.
Be sure not to miss the magnificent St Mark's Square and its Cathedral, which is a short hop from the Palazzo Ducale and the island of San Giorgio Maggiore lying in the lagoon terminus of the Grand Canal. Don't forget to treat yourself to some Murano glass, which was traditionally manufactured on the island of the same name because in the 1200s the city authorities, fearing fire in the densely packed wooden buildings, ordered the glassmakers to move their foundries there. They have been there ever since, producing some of the world's most exquisite glass pieces.
The Venice Carnival, Venice Biennale art festival and Venice Film festival are all wonderful experiences if you are in the city at the right time of year. But venture away from the beaten path and you will also find other gems awaiting you, such as unrivalled food cooked in small restaurants, red wine warmed by the evening sun and music drifting from houses.