To many people Venice is the most beautiful city in the world. Of course this is a matter of personal taste however, only a few people are able to completely escape from the charm and magic of the bridges, the churches and canals that make up Venice. Even those who find New York or Shanghai or London more trendy and lively can not pass on two facts; Venice is one of the most famous cities in the world and it is also one of the most extraordinary. Where else will you find a city without any traffic? Where else is it impossible to follow the direction ‘straight ahead’ and where else does every short walk take you deep into history – not just that of Italy but of Europe? Venice has all of this to offer and much more.
Venice has a great name in history, architecture, cultural history and gourmet cuisine. In terms of size however, Venice is more of a lightweight. Officially the city covers 418 square metres, inhabited by over 250,000 people. By far the largest part of this is on the mainland where most Venetians live. ‘Mestre’ – one of these modern districts belongs just as much to Venice from an administrative perspective however, has little to do with the actual lagoon city. What the traveller sees in Venice is the historical centre ‘Centro storico’, which are the many small islands in the lagoon – several of which have never been inhabited. The historical centre that extends to the left and right of the Grande Canal is 7 square kilometres in size and can be superbly explored on foot, by water taxi and water bus. Of course one can also hire a gondola – this is the most stylish but of also by far the most expensive method of exploring Venice from A to B.
Speaking of expensive, Venice is not a holiday destination for bargain hunters. However it does not immediately have to lead to bankruptcy if one stays in the mainland. Generally everything in close proximity to the main attractions and sites is significantly more expensive than a few streets further away. This starts with an espresso and doesn’t stop at a postcard. If you are hungry or wish to quench your thirst, you will pay a small fortune in the cafes at St Mark’s Square; not necessarily for the Coca Cola, but for the world famous ambience that surrounds guests here. The same applies to all the small bars, ‘trattorias’ and shops surrounding the Rialto Bridge.
Staying longer in Venice? Make a short trip to South Tyrol…