Don’t miss out on the wealth of attractions and adventures in Venice
The flat-bottomed traditional gondola is well suited to the Venetian Lagoon and for centuries was the primary mode of transport around the city.
Today they are used mainly by tourists and offer a unique way to see Venice – any time of day or night. During the Middle Ages, a law decreed that all gondolas should be painted black, and they still are today. The profession of gondolier is controlled by a 1000-year-old guild, which issues a limited number of licenses granted after periods of training and apprenticeship. Would-be gondoliers must also take a comprehensive exam testing their knowledge of Venetian history and landmarks, foreign language knowledge, and practical gondola handling skills. Gondola tours start from several points along the canal and provide a romantic a way to travel.
FESTA DEL REDENTORE
In 1577, the Doge Alvise I Mocenigo promised to build a new church, Il Redentore, to give thanks for the end of the terrible plague in the city, and so the Festa del Redentore was born.
A mix of religious celebration and sheer spectacle, Venetians decorate their boats and wooden terraces with balloons, lanterns and other decorations and head out at dusk to Saint Mark’s Bay and the Giudecca Canal. The boats then moor alongside each other while their occupants share a sumptuous feast of Venetian specialties and await the spectacular fireworks display. The church, built on the island of Giudecca can be reached during the festival via a 1,100-foot pontoon bridge. We recommend hiring a gondola for the night to experience the breathtaking fireworks from the canals.
PIAZZA SAN MARCO AND BASILICA
Saint Mark’s Square, dubbed ‘the drawing room of Europe’ by Napoleon, is the main public square in Venice.
Dominated by the Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Clock Tower the Piazza is a focal point for tourists visiting the city. The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is one of the bestknown examples of Byzantine architecture and is situated on Saint Mark’s Square, next to the Doge’s Palace. More than 86,000 square feet of golden mosaics cover the walls, vaults and cupolas of the Basilica, depicting stories from the Bible. The variety of architectural styles gives visitors a living history of the city. It is possible to book a tour of the Basilica.