Venice is a dream, a charming city. Visiting Venice is very different from living there. If you had to visit Venice in one day, where would you start from?
I suggest that you start from the mainland. Whether you take the bus or the train, you will cross a bridge – the “Ponte della Libertà” (“The Freedom Bridge”) – that will take you right to this immortal city, one of the most beautiful ones in the world.
When you get off the train or you arrive at Piazzale Roma, start your walk and do not take any means of transport. Let your instinct guide you.
Go to the Dorsoduro sestiere – in fact, Venice is divided into six parts, each being called sestiere. Dorsoduro is one of them. This area is famous for its university and Campo Santa Margherita, a very popular meeting place, where you can enjoy a Venetian aperitif called spritz.
Always in Dorsoduro do not miss out the amazing Zattere, and fuel up with Nico’s gianduiotto, a specialty made of gianduja and whipped cream. Yummy!
Now leave Dorsoduro behind and head for the wooden Ponte dell’Accademia (“Academy Bridge”). You are approaching the San Marco sestiere, the most famous and touristy one. You may surely have heard of Rialto, the most ancient part of the town, known for its bridge.
You cannot miss out a visit to the very popular San Mark’s Square, the real treasure of the city. It is also the only Venetian place to be properly called “piazza” (“square”), since all of the other places that could resemble it are called “campi” (and the streets of Venice – by the way – are named “calli”), so do not be surprised at reading these names basically everywhere. In Saint Mark’s Square plan a visit to the Cathedral and The Doge’s Palace, the Doge’s historic residence, a gothic masterpiece that will leave you agape. Here the prisons were hosted, from which one of the most famous Venetian prisoners, Giacomo Casanova, used to enjoy escaping in spectacular ways.
After having walked so much, don’t you feel hungry? If you want to eat as Venetians do, don’t forget to stop at one of the many bacari. What are bacari? They are a type of very simple Venetian tavern where they serve different kinds of wine with a wide range of appetizers. Try them all and you won’t regret that (also because after having had one, you will want more!).
If you feel adventurous, take the steamboat and reach the Lido of Venice. Here you will find the famous Des Bains Hotel, the fictional setting of Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”.
You will go back to the hotel with the feeling of having lived in a unique city, where time seems to have stood still.
WHEN TO VISIT VENICE
Every moment of the year is good to visit Venice. If you decide to go in February, do not miss out the world-famous Carnival. The most diverse masks swarm about and lighten up the atmosphere with tricks for eleven days. The Carnival is a very old festival which dates back to the times of the republic of Venice (but also of the Roman times), when tradition had it that the community was granted a period of partying and fun.
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