Venice is the queen. There are no words adequate to describe it. The philosopher Nietzsche wrote, ‘If I had to look for a word to replace “music”, I could only think of Venice’.
Visitors, even those staying for a short time, are inevitably ravished by its beauty, its works of art, and especially its music.
San Marco Square, heart of the city and an important architectural and urban complex, takes its name from the famous Basilica, the Basilica d’Oro (Golden Basilica), so called because of its glittering mosaics surrounded by five Byzantine cupolas. The large square opens at one side towards the lagoon and is bordered on the others by the High Bell Tower and prestigious historical buildings like the Procuratie Vecchie e Nuove and the Palazzo Ducale.
Not far from here, there is the elegant Ponte dei Sospiri, a must-see stop on a romantic gondola ride, which traditionally goes up the Canal Grande, the city’s most important waterway, crossing the Ponte di Rialto, one of the city’s most vivid and interesting places.
Venice has to be explored on foot, forgetting about maps and directions, and getting lost in the tangled lanes, in those bridges going up and down, to discover treasures of the Baroque such as the Madonna della Salute and the Gallerie dell’Accademia, hosting the masterpieces of Venetian painters from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries and from the School of San Rocco, with the extraordinary cycle of paintings by Tintoretto.
In the last few years, Venice has become more and more a city of modern and contemporary art like the work you will find in the renovated Punta della Dogana, or at Palazzo Grassi, or in the latest artistic exhibits at the Art Biennale at the Giardini and the Arsenale.
Eating in Venice:
Marine traditions as well as eastern influences come together in Venetian cuisine. Among the typical dishes you can find extraordinary ciccheti (appetizers) to enjoy with an aperitif at the bàcari(typical Venetian bars) or sarde in saor (typical dish with sardines), baccalà mantecato (creamed codfish), schie (grey lagoon shrimp) and ‘mozzarella in carrozza’ (a typical appetizer with mozzarella and ham). Other typical Venetian dishes are risi e bisi (risotto with peas), pasta e fazioi(bean soup) and, of course, fegato alla veneziana (Venetian liver). Among the desserts, some of the most famous are baicoli (biscuits) and zaleti, pastries with raisins and corn.
The islands of the Venetian Lagoon
History made of lace, mosaics and glass.
Treat yourself to a pleasant day discovering the charming world of the Venetian Lagoon.
Once you take in the blue waters and the green patches of vegetation, you will be struck immediately by the bell tower, tall and noticeably crooked, and by the thousands of colours on the homes on Burano Island.
These bright, bold colours helped to guide the fishermen home during nights of dense fog. After docking on the steamboat, you will quickly catch sight of a tradition that still lives on in Burano. We mean the art of lace and crochet.
In the small lanes between one canal and another, you can still admire elderly ladies intent on creating valuable lace and wonderful doilies, the same that in 1700s Venice adorned the clothes of the Venetian and other European nobility.
After a quick, restorative stop to sample the traditional cicchetti (snacks) with a nice glass of wine, your trip to explore the lagoon will continue towards the island most distant from Venice, the Torcello Island. When you disembark, you will experience a sort of magic, mystery and mysticism. Along the canal on your right, you can see a red house that was home to the famous writer Ernest Hemingway during various periods of his life.
From there, in just a few minutes you will reach the beautiful Torcello Abbey and its characteristic bell tower, its cloisters and its wonderful church. Its garden still contains Roman remains, stones, pieces of altars inlaid with glyphs, shields and saints. These symbols remind us of the Knights Templar and show the strength that Venice had in the past.
You will also find the famous Throne of Attila, where legend has it that the cruel barbarian sat. One thing can certainly be said about the interior of the church: once you cross the threshold, you will be fascinated by wonderful walls of mosaics done in gold and precious stones.
But the wonders of this quest to discover the colours and mysteries of the lagoon are not over yet, since you still should visit Murano Island, the exceptional birthplace of glass making. All production, even today, is still artisanal, with such spectacular production processes that a stop at the furnaces is almost mandatory.
The decision to move all the production outside the borders of Venice was taken in 1295 by the Venetian government, which was worried about the danger of fires posed by the glass furnaces that, since the ninth century, had transformed Venice into the most important hub of Italian glassmaking art.
Today’s Murano is a typical industrial island, where the houses are a little neglected, but walking through its streets it will not be difficult to see the workshops where bellows blow and artisans cutting and twisting the glowing glass are still creating extraordinary masterpieces. We are sure that you will remain enchanted by these places full of history and tradition.