As the world’s only pedestrian city, Venice, Italy, is a charming and ancient canal-based archipelago on the country’s Northeastern coast. The grand displays of city wealth are found in everything from the architecture and massive palaces, to the art museums and waterfront osteries cooking up a gourmet feast on a single burner. Old world Italy is still quite intact in Venice, but the Venetians haven’t turned a blind eye to modernity either. Their dress boutiques are filled with bohemian-chic forward fashions and galleries with blown glass and contemporary paintings. Upon first arriving, one may think that Venice was built just for them. The truth is, there is never a time of year when visitors will not share the narrow streets and sparkling canals with countless other travelers who all share the same love-at-first-sight notion as they settle into their first gondola ride.
Piazza San Marco is the city’s largest, most-visited square, and houses the Basilica di San Marco as well as the clock tower, Doge’s Palace and Procuratie Vecchie, whose ground floor is occupied by shops and cafes. Dotted with a myriad of churches and museums, such as San Giovanni e Paolo, Museo Ebraico (Jewish Museum), Galleria dell’Accademia di Venzia and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice shines as a cultural epicenter within Europe and the world. The VeniceCard and the Chorus Pass are two passes that can be purchased for discounted public transport and access to many churches and museums.
To find some local music coming from venues other than cheerful gondoliers, check out Teatro La Fenice for epic opera, Al Vapore for jazz and blues, Terrazzamare by the beach or Laboratorio Occupato Morion for local Veneto bands in a dive bar setting. Shopping is also plentiful in Venice. The narrow streets and alleyways are peppered with artisan shops selling carnival masks, Murano glass and marbled paper. Designer shops (like everywhere in Italy) are plentiful in areas around St. Mark’s Square and Calle della Mondola.
In Venice, you can have a variety of culinary experiences. There’s the quintessential candlelit dinner by the canal, the hole-in-the-wall joint serving fresh handmade pasta, the sidewalk café serving pizza or the upscale restaurant that prepares local specialties such as cuttlefish or gnocchi. While maybe not getting the most accolades for dining in Italy, Venetian cuisine is nothing to scoff at.
The closest airport is Marco Polo Airport (VCE) on the mainland near the city of Mestre. Located 16 miles from Venice is the relatively small airport, Treviso (TSF), though it mainly serves domestic flights. The transportation choices in Venice are simple ones: by foot or by water. Gondolas and water taxis (vaporetti) will take visitors up and down the canal-riddled archipelago, while the inner parts of the city are highly walkable.
Venice has a humid subtropical climate with cool winters and very warm summers. July is the year’s hottest month, and has an average high temperature of 81.5° F (27.5° C). Winters can get quite cool, with breezes coming off of the water and average lows of 42.4° F (5.8° C). The best time to visit Venice is during the spring and autumn months, though summers are quite popular as well. Chances are the better the time of year, the more people that will visit along with you. Though you might not have Venice all to yourself, the city becomes incredibly personal once your first memory is made here.