Venice, a city in northeastern Italy, is known for its exquisite artworks, architecture and cuisine. The City of Canals was built on an archipelago of islands which are connected by hundreds of bridges; hence, the areas of interests can be explored on foot or on water via transports such as public vaporetto or water buses. This would also be a great opportunity to try riding one of the iconic gondolas and breathe in the romantic views of the city.
On the south bank of the Grand Canal is the Gallerie dell’Accademia or the Fine Arts Museum which contains a collection of 15th to 18th century Venetian paintings from several known artists such as Giorgione, Tintoretto, Titian and Veronese. Another famous landmark for artworks is the Palazzo Ducale or the Doge’s Palace. The Palace was the residence of the elected leader of the former Republic of Venice, but it was turned into a museum in the 19th century.
Palazzo Ducale has a corridor which leads to the Bridge of Sighs. It is said that Antonio Contino, its architect, was inspired by the sighs of the prisoners held in the nearby structure, but this is still debated. The bridge has several sculptures – most of which depict sad or angry faces and only one of which depicts a smiling face. Palazzo Ducale and the Bridge of Sighs are both located in Piazza San Marco, the principal public square of the City, where festivals such as the annual Carnevale and the semi-annual Biennale are held.
People flock into this public square during events but, there’s plenty to do all-year-round due to the several cafes and shops found in the surrounding area. Also in Piazza San Marco is the five-domed Saint Mark’s Basilica. The influence of the Byzantine Empire is greatly reflected in the architecture found across the city, but it is widely acknowledged that the best representative is Saint Mark’s Basilica. The cathedral was nicknamed Chiesa d’Oro or Church of Gold for its walls are ornamented with golden mosaics which depict events from the New Testament. Also of interest is the Grand Canal where four bridges are located, most notable of which is the Rialto Bridge. It is noted that Antonio de Ponte, the architect of the bridge, had competed against famous designers including Michelangelo before he was chosen as architect.
Even taking a break from exploring the City can be very fulfilling due to the delectable dishes of the locals. The City is home to several Michelin-starred restaurants boasting Venetian cuisines and excellent wines. There are many dishes to try from antipastos, such as sarde in saor or fried sardine fillets, which are both tangy and sweet at the same time, and baccala mantecato or creamed dried cod, which is arguably the most famous recipe for dried cod in Venice, to pastas such as the bigoli in salsa. Moleche, which are small green crabs that are served soft and tender, are also delectable and may be combined with fried dishes and salads. The local cuisine can also be enjoyed on a tight budget at the Rialto market and in several night bars.
With all these artworks, architecture and cuisine, it is no wonder that Venice is a prime tourist destination.