Venice is located in the Province of Venice, in the northeastern region of the Veneto Italy. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers and flanked by the Adriatic Sea. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture, and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.
The historical city is divided into six areas or "sestiere" (while the whole comune (municipality) is divided into 6 boroughs of which one is composed of all 6 sestiere). These are Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro (including the Giudecca and Isola Sacca Fisola), Santa Croce, San Marco (including San Giorgio Maggiore) and Castello (including San Pietro di Castello and Sant'Elena). Each sestiere was administered by a and his staff. Nowadays each sestiere is a statistic and historical area without any degree of autonomy. These districts consist of parishes. initially seventy in 1033, but reduced under Napoleon and now numbering just thirty-eight. These parishes predate the sestieri, which were created in about 1170. Other islands of the Venetian Lagoon do not form part of any of the sestieri, having historically enjoyed a considerable degree of autonomy. Each sestiere has its own house numbering system. Each house has a unique number in the district, from one to several thousand, generally numbered from one corner of the area to another, but not usually in a readily understandable manner.
The name Venice is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city historically was the capital of the Republic of Venice. Venice has been known as the "La Dominante", "Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals". Venice has also been described as being one of Europe's most romantic cities.
The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.
Venice is built on an archipelago of 117 islands formed by 177 canals in a shallow lagoon, connected by 409 bridges. In the old centre, the canals serve the function of roads, and almost every form of transport is on water or on foot. In the 19th century, a causeway to the mainland brought the Venezia Santa Lucia railway station to Venice, and the Ponte della Libertà road causeway and parking facilities (in Tronchetto island and in Piazzale Roma) were built during the 20th century.
Beyond the road and rail land entrances at the northern edge of the city, transportation within the city remains (as it was in centuries past) entirely on water or on foot. Venice is Europe's largest urban car-free area. Venice is unique in Europe, in having remained a sizable functioning city in the 21st century entirely without motorcars or trucks. The classical Venetian boat is the gondola, although it is now mostly used for tourists, or for weddings, funerals, or other ceremonies, or as 'traghetti' to cross the Canale Grande in the absence of a nearby bridge. Many gondolas are elegant with crushed velvet seats and Persian rugs to make the ride more royal. At the front of each gondola that works in the city, there is a large piece of metal called the 'ferro,' or iron. Its shape has evolved through the centuries, as documented in many well-known paintings. Its form, topped by a likeness of the Doge's hat, became gradually standardized, and was then fixed by local law. It consists of six bars pointing forward representing the Sestieri of the city, and one that points backward representing the Giudecca
The Doges Palace (or Palazzo Ducale) was the residence and political headquarters of the Dukes of Venice for 900 years, and was finely decorated by famous Venetian artists such as Tintoretto, Titian and Bellini. It is open every day from 8.30 am to 7 pm and tickets cost €16. The Basilica San Marco is an extraordinary marvel reflecting influences from East and West. Domes and columns, gold and marble, statues and dazzling mosaics - the city cathedral is truly breathtaking. It is open from 9.45 am to 5 pm and entry is free.
Venice has a huge number of hotels, many with exgurated room rates, and your budget will make a big difference to where you might stay. A useful website is http://en.venezia.net/venice-hotels/ which you can search in English and search by the areas of Venice and/or by budget. Some of the hotels listed below are one's we have recommened to our guest in the past and well recieved.
Ca' della Corte
Situated in a converted 16th century Palazzo with its own courtyard, the rooms have been elegantly renovated. Situated close to Piazzale Roma, towards the northern end of the Grand Canal.
Pensione La Calcina
Right on the Giudecca Canal, this charming pensione retains its antiques and polished floors but also offers mod cons such as wifi. It has a lovely roof terrace where you can enjoy breakfast.
Hotel Al Duca di Venezia
Situated just a few steps from the Ponte Rialto and the Grand Canal this 15th century palace offers an excellent location and some genuine old world charm.
Hotel Villa Igea
A small hotel with 17 pretty rooms located close to the Campo San Zaccaria in the Castello district.
Ca Maria Adele
2011 Award Winner as Most Romantic Hotel in Europe by Condé Nast Johansens.
€€€ Osteria Da Fiore
Sophisticated and renowned restaurant where the menu changes depending on what is fresh at the market. Reservations are definitely recommended. Calle del Scaleter, San Polo district. Tel +39 041 721 308
€€ Vini da Gigio
Tiny restaurant but a big reputation - and an interesting wine list. Fondamenta San Felice, in the Cannaregio district. Tel +39 041 528 5140
€€ Cantinone Storico
Well recommended for food, service and atmosphere. In the Dorsoduro district. Fondamente Bragadin Tel +39 041 523 9577
€€ L'Osteria di Santa Marina
In the Castello district, a nice and popular osteria with outside tables. Campo Santa Marina Tel +39 041 528 5239
€ Il Refolo
Owned by the same family who run Osteria Da Fiore, this is a great pizzeria but also serves good pasta, fish and meat dishes. Santa Croce 1459. Off Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio. Tel +39 041 524 0016.
Venice has the international Marco Polo airport on the mainland, from where you can take the Orange Line ferry to Venice centre, or a water taxi, although this is cheaper if you can double up with other passengers. Trains into Santa Lucia station are often the easiest way to travel into Venice and there are good connections with Padova and Verona, but also Milan, Bologna and Florence. Once in Venice, the vaporetto boats are the best way to get about.
For all train information visit www.trenitalia.com which has an English version.
Train travel in Italy is inexpensive and comfortable. Major cities are served by non-stop fast trains known as the Eurostar.
If you are making plans for wider Europe then www.raileurope-world.com is a useful site.
NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori) is a new private company which started operating it's Italo high-speed trains on the Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples route in April 2012, in competition with State-owned operator Trenitalia. NTV have added new routes subsequently and are Europe's first private high-speed train operator, with a real emphasis on customer service. Travellers should be aware that the city stations used are not always the same as those used by Trenitalia.
Italy is one of the most diverse places in the world to visit but there is more to the country then Venice, Florence, Roma, Cinque Terre and a couple of other top attractions. If you plan you days well and understand how to move around within the country you can a great cost effective vacation full of activity, history, culture, and great food and wine. Contact us to get the insights to travel in Italy. We offer: