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"To see Venice and die” they say… To experiene a Venice city break means immersing yourself in its unique atmosphere… It’s impossible to explain, you just need to experience it for yourself and get lost in its narrow streets. Then figure out where you are, and get lost all over again! Step inside the legend… this is the place to declare your undying love!
Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and discover a place like nowhere else on this planet. With its tranquil canals, crooked buildings, and lively festivals this floating city is a beautiful world heritage site and a must visit location.
Standing the test of time, Venice has transformed over 2000 years into the gorgeous city it is today. Packed with history, on this cheap city break, don’t miss out on the amazing vantage point from the top of Campanile. It might not be the original, having been rebuilt as a perfect replica in 1912, but Venice’s tallest building still offers an impressive view across the surrounding cityscape. While here, take your time in Piazza San Marco and discover the Byzantine domes and majestic marble on display at the Basilica di San Marco before exploring the character filled streets and charming bridges that reside throughout the city.
Apart from the carnival period, Venice is more of a city for lovers than for party animals, and the nightclubs are generally located in Mestre, outside of the centre. On the other hand, for a more traditional city break in Venice, Venetians are great lovers of concerts and theatres. In addition to the fantastic Fenice Opera, the Malibran theatre offers a marvellous repertoire.
Venice is overflowing with restaurants, from the most chic to the worst tourist rip-off joints. In the theme of family cuisine, the low-key Alla Marisa is a must. Of course it is a little expensive, but it’s delicious. Ristorante Giorgione is also lovely, with musicians offering a show almost every night. Lucio Bisutto, the owner, sings some songs himself, for an unforgettable evening during your city break in Venice.
A little dip?
On 1 January, on the Lido beach, the bravest Venetians take a dip. At exactly midday, a few hundred of them tackle the icy water head on. A fantastic time for a Venice city break is New Year’s Eve!
For coffee: of course, it is found on St Mark’s Square. But during your city break in Venice, how can you avoid Italy’s oldest cafe? Casanova came to admire women here. Goethe, Dickens and Proust, among others, have spent time here.
Venice has a leather-making tradition, and Bona, a real institution that opened in 1873, is an ideal place to shop for bags or a beautiful, chic Venetian suitcase.
Celebrate with celebrities
Venice is packed with festivals all year round. Sit amongst the stars at the world’s oldest and most prestigious film festival, put on a mask in the Carnival, or spectate the world-renowned boat race, Regata Storica.
On the agenda: a gondola ride, a visit to the Doge’s Palace, a cappuccino on St Mark’s Square… To avoid the human tides of St Mark’s Square, there’s one solution: forget the guides and get lost, preferably during winter for a total change of scenery. Venice can be toured easily on foot.
Don’t panic if you get lost; Venice’s complicated interwoven islands are connected by an intricate canal system allowing you to be navigated around the city in style. Sit back and relax upon a Gondola and adore a scenic punt around this picturesque city to wherever your heart desires. Board a Vaporetto (Italian ferry) as you glide down the central canal while being given a tour of the utopia Venice has become. You should wander among the ochre facades of the little streets filled with washing hanging from the windows to really gain an insight into this open-air museum. But beware: don’t get lost just anywhere! The “ghetto”, for example, is a destination that is well worth a detour.
Jews settled there from the 14th century, but the city administration, fearing they were gaining too much importance, moved them to the Ghetto Nuevo, a little island surrounded by canals and now linked up by two bridges. Unable to extend on ground level, the ghetto gained height: it is the only place in Venice with four, or even five, storeys. In 1797, Napoleon declared that Jews had equal rights, and the segregation ended. Your weekend in Venice will be very much focused on history: this is where it gleans its incredible richness.
Fall in love with the artistic displays on offer from Italian greats, such as Carpaccio, Tintoretto and Tiziano, in the Gallerie dell Accademia. Still expanding and undergoing major restoration work, this collection of buildings is one of the largest galleries in Europe with over 400 masterpieces. Venice’s artistic flair doesn’t stop there. Thanks to Peggy Guggenheim, Venice has also become home of a contemporary art scene. So, while on this cheap city break, enjoy an afternoon tour of arguably the largest collection of contemporary artwork at Punta Dell Dogana.
Venice is to be discovered above all on foot: make the most of it and walk around aimlessly! You can also take the vaporetto, a sort of floating bus, or choose the rather costly sea taxis. For die-hard romantics, a short stay in Venice is obviously the chance to try out the picturesque gondola ride.
Duck down the side streets and discover the specialities Venice has to offer. If you’re looking for a small bite in the midday sun head on down to Cantinone Gia’ Schiavia for an impressive array of chichetti and one of the best wine lists in the city. A full bodied glass of Venetian Cabernet goes down a treat with one of their many good cheeses. Or, for a more decadent meal, the Impronta Café will surprise you with both unique and family-favourite dishes.
During your Venice city break, do not settle for pastas and pizzas! We recommend the wine bars and their local specialities, especially the succulent and authentic recipes based on seafood. You are spoiled for choice: stuffed cuttlefish, spaghetti with clams, Sardinian in saor (fried sardines with pine nuts and white wine – a real treat!), polenta e baccala (polenta and cod), the moleche (delicious fried crab that can be eaten whole), and more. You will not be disappointed!