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Venice is one of the most interesting and lovely places in the world.
This sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was six hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Venice has decayed since its heyday and is heavily touristed (there are 56000 residents and 20 million tourists per year), but the romantic charm remains.
Since Medieval Times, Venice has frequently served as a source of inspiration to a wide variety of authors, poets and dramatists. It has also long been a major print center, having been home to some of the earliest Italian printing presses. The deep and diverse literary tradition at Venice is too extensive to cover comprehensively in short space, but we can get an overview of some of the most notable works associated with the city throughout history:
The Travels of Marco Polo is a classic piece of Western Literature that holds an important place historically since the reports of Marco Polo's voyage to the distant, little-known East became a major inspiration to later European exploration of the world.
Story of My Life, by Giacomo Casanova, is an 18th Century work by another Venetian merchant-traveler. His autobiography chronicles many adventures that center around Venice, but it is also an important source of information on social customs of the time.
Ruzante, who real name was Angelo Beolco, was a 16th-Century Venetian playwright who is famous for his vivid, if sometimes coarse, plays about country life in the vicinity of his native Padua.
Carlo Goldoni was a Venice resident who wrote some of Italy's most famous plays, many of them centered around the lives, values and problems of the Venetian middle class.
Carlo Gozzi was a fierce proponent of "the old Italian comedy" against newer dramatic styles such as those used by Carlo Goldoni. One of his works, in fact, was a parody of their new, French-inspired style called The Love for Three Oranges.
Ugo Foscolo was a 19th-Century Venetian poet who was also a revolutionary devoted to seeing Venice made a truly free republic after its capture by Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke, is probably the most famous children's book that is set in Venice. It is about two brothers who travel to the city, join a group of street children and have a number of adventures and misadventures.
Foreigners whose works have been inspired by the city of Venice include: Shakespeare, in his plays Othello and The Merchant of Venice; Thomas Mann, in his novel Death in Venice; and Ezra Pound, whose poems were much-inspired by his stay in Venice.
Because Venice is on a lagoon, the water plays a crucial role in transportation. Whichever way you arrive, the last part of your journey will be on foot from the nearest waterbus/watertaxi jetty. If you need to carry or wheel bags along the narrow streets, bear this in mind when choosing your hotel location and route to it.
The closest commercial airport is Marco Polo Airport (VCE), on the mainland near Mestre (technically part of the city of Venice but on the mainland and without Venice's unique structure). There is a city bus and a shuttle bus from Marco Polo to Piazzale Roma. See the details in the "By bus" section below.
Treviso Airport (TSF) is 25km (16 mi) from Venice and is relatively small but becoming increasingly busy as the main destination for Ryanair, Wizzair, and Transavia budget flights.
The San Nicolo Airport (ATC) is an airfield directly on the Lido. It handles only small aircraft, as the runway is grass and only about 1km long. It does not have any scheduled flights, but might be of interest to private pilots (arrivals from Schengen states only) due to its convenience to the city; it is only a short walk to the vaporetto landing.
From the airport to the city centre
The airport is connected to the railway station of Mestre, opposite the city and convenient for connections to Milan, Padova, Trieste, Verona and the rest of Italy); to the railway station of Venice and to the bus terminal of Piazzale Roma in Venice by scheduled bus services. You can take a bus, a taxi or also you can discover the unique experience of a water taxi.
Trains from the mainland run through Mestre to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station on the west side of Venice; make sure you don't get confused with Venezia Mestre which is the last stop on the mainland. From the station district, water buses (vaporetti) or water taxis can take you to hotels or other locations on the islands, but walking is usually the best option.
Venice, the world's only pedestrian city, is easily walkable, and the absence of cars makes this a particularly pleasant experience. However, walking and standing all day can also be exhausting, so it is best to pace yourself..
If you want to get around a bit more quickly, there are numerous vaporetti (water buses) and water taxis. The vaporetti are generally the best way to get around, even if the service route map changes frequently. If you are going to be in Venice for a few days visiting, it is a lot cheaper to use vaporetti than private water taxis.
What to see
Bell tower of St. Mark (Campanile di San Marco), (San Marco Square). closes at 9pm. The current tower dates from 1912; an exact replica of the previous tower which collapsed in 1902. The top of the tower offers great views of Venice and the lagoon.
Clock tower. — Having been closed for restoration for many years, the restored astronomical clock is now visible. The fascinating tour of the clock mechanism can only be visited on a guided tour, which has to be booked in advance.
Scuola grande di San Rocco. A masterpiece of Tintoretto, this guild house is an exquisite example of Manierist art in its best. In order to allow a comfortable admiration of the detailed ceiling mirrors are offered to the visitors.
Jewish Ghetto of Venice. While racial and ethnic neighbourhoods had existed prior to the Venetian Ghetto, Venice's ghetto was the first "ghetto".
Romantic Dinner Cruise. Venice has always been (and will always be) one of the most romantic cities in the world, so a romantic activity is a must-do if you're here with your loved one. One popular idea is a dinner cruise in Venice like the Galleon Dinner Cruise in Venice on board the Venetian Galleon.
"I must see Venice before I die" is a famous saying among many who hope to someday see the famed City of Canals, but staying safe while visiting Venice's many historic and beautiful tourist stops must still take top priority. In general, Venice has a reputation of being a relatively safe city, but it does have some dangers you should be on your guard against, including:
An abundance of pickpockets: To keep your money, valuables, passport and other important papers safe, never store them in a bag, purse or pants pocket. Invest in a body-belt pouch, which you can wear below your shirt. Keeping items out of sight and putting obstacles in the way of snatching them will greatly reduce the risk that pickpockets pose.