It inspired Shakespeare, Palladio, Canaletto and numerous other designers and writers, and was the birth place of Vivaldi. The floating city of Venice, located on a deep lagoon in the north of Italy, is the ideal place for a weekend break – and we were more than happy to visit!
Known as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, we were eager to explore its winding streets, narrow canals and ornate architecture. Hidden alleyways are home to charming apartments, which combine shuttered windows, wrought iron gates, distressed paintwork, and the odd café with wicker tables and chairs. The locals are sleek and fashionable, always dressed to kill and sporting a pair of what look like Tom Ford sunglasses.
In the main streets, shops cluster together, touting hand-made Venetian wares such as exquisitely-embellished masks, delicate Burano lacework and colourful Murano glassware, and at every corner stands an extravagant Catholic church or gallery.
Venice is the perfect place to wander but if you fancy a break from walking, take a trip on a flower-strewn gondola and admire its grand buildings from afar. The magnificent bell tower in St Mark’s Square can be seen almost all over the city and we found the domed Basilica to be breathtaking, both in its size and in its elaborate detail.
The Square is a great area to soak up Venetian culture, especially in the evening. Street vendors jostle for customers, tourists from all over the world congregate outside the busy ristorantes and, if you visit during the post-Lent festival of Carnevale like we did, you should prepare for wig-wearing, photo-posing Venetians, complete with masks and corsets.
This annual festival traditionally marked the return to indulgence after a period of fasting and the carnival’s 50-year ban, which resulted from Mussolini’s dictatorship, only makes the festivities more raucous and significant today.
Round off your trip the way we did – deliciously. Enjoy crisp pizza, salty seafood and smooth gelato, with a sunset backdrop over the Grand Canal, and the sights and sounds of celebration in St Mark’s Square. Perfect.