Venice has long been a trendsetting destination, but that doesnt mean that you will not find a plethora of history and traditional cultures when you visit. Once one of the worlds greatest powers, the Venetians left behind a city to rival most museums. Its a huge tourist destination, packed with historic gems and charming plazas lined with cafes. When you add in the delectable cuisine on offer, you may find that you simply cannot live without regular visits to this spectacular city. Visitors can add to their experience by using a car to travel around the region, where a slew of other attractions await.
One of the first things that you should do when you arrive in Venice is visit St. Marks Basilica. This magnificent building was constructed back in 1092 and it is considered the most religious building in the entire country. Pay close attention to the ornate details, works of art, and the gorgeous sculptures and frescoes on the inside, before venturing out to discover the wonders of the rest of the city.
Right outside the basilica, you will find St. Marks Square, which is the most famous piazza in Venice. You will find quite a few historical buildings around the square, including Doges Palace, Torre dellOrologio, and St. Marks Campanile.
You might spend an entire day in this part of Venice, but make sure that you take time the following day to wander around the Canale Grande. This massive canal creates an S throughout the city, and you will see more than one hundred and seventy buildings that have been built all over the shoreline. There are only four bridges that cross the canals, so if you are looking to get to any specific destination, you might want to travel on the water instead. Make sure you take the time to cross the Ponte de Rialto though, as there are a number of shops on that bridge and you will find all types of souvenirs within them.
Art lovers will want to take the time to explore the gorgeous works of art inside the Gallerie dellAccademia. The museum was established inside an old convent back in the late 1700s and it has pieces by Titian, Bellini, Tintoretto, and Veronese. The most famous piece though is the Vitruvian Man, which was created by da Vinci.
One of the main attractions that you must have on your itinerary for Venice is the Bridge of Sighs. This bridge connects Doges Palace to the Prigioni Nuove and it goes over the Rio de Palazzo. You might hear the sighs of the people who were convicted of a crime when you visit this bridge, because according to legend, this is the bridge that convicted felons walked over as they were going to prison to serve their life sentence.
Car rental will prove useful for exploring the many sights surrounding Venice. There are plenty of historic towns, seaside resorts and natural parks nearby offering a fun day out away from the watery world of Venice. Heres a few drives we thoroughly recommend and where you can escape the crowds of Venice:
Lake Garda- This is Italys largest lake, easily accessible from Venice via smooth, fat motorways. There is a wonderful road that hugs the entire circumference of this beautiful body of water surrounded by the Italian Alps foothills. Several beaches and a handful of quaint towns like Gargnano provide places to stop and rest along the way.
Padua- This is an ancient Italian city, set just 40kms from Venice. It is packed to the gills with historic landmarks that include churches, plazas, Roman ruins and botanical gardens. Padua is a dreamy place, with incredible food and a timeless atmosphere - like Venice but without all the water.
Cortina dAmpezzo- Located just three hours by a very scenic road along the coast, is one of the easiest alpine resorts to reach from Venice. Park your car at the edge of the village and enjoy the mountain peaks, gondola rides and plenty of outdoor recreation, from winter skiing to summer hikes
There is so much to see and do in and around Venice. We advise you to plan ahead and make this stunning city part of a wonderful Italian adventure.
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