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The city laying between the banks of the river Po and the river Piave spreads over 188 islands. The Italians just call it ‘Venezia’ and it is definitely one of the most visited destinations of travellers in the world. The city is located on the Northern end of the Adriatic Sea, thus it is also often called the “Queen of the Adriatic”. Linked by many bridges and canals, Venice offers a truly unforgettable experience to its visitors. It is surely worth the visit even if only for a couple of days – with FlixBus you can get here quickly and at affordable price, which is one more reason for your visit. Although somewhat faded, the buildings of the city still managed to keep their charm over the past centuries. Venice and its lagoons are UNESCO World Heritage sites. If this description sounds tempting and makes you want to hop on a bus right away, do not hesitate, since the city is in danger: due to the increasing amount of marsh and the constantly increasing sea level the city has started sinking and no one can be certain how much longer it will hold up – although experts are of course constantly working on plans to save this wonderful city. During winter months the so-called ‘Aqua Alta’ floods the streets with sea water, sometimes multiple times a year – so you might be better off visiting in spring or autumn. Summer may be too hot here. If you still decide to come in winter, however, you can easily find Aqua Alta maps in all tourist centers that show which parts of the city are most affected by the few-hour-long floods. Though it is best to get to Venice by bus, it makes much more sense to do the sightseeing either on foot or by boat! The smaller islands, such as Murano that is famous for its glass industry, can be reached by scheduled boat rides. But if you are more in the mood for something romantic then get on a gondola, cruise though the canals, and enjoy the sunset view.
You most certainly need to start the sightseeing at the famous St Mark’s Square (‘Piazza San Marco’)! Many say that this is a beauty beyond comparison, really one of the prettiest ones there is. Though there are multiple sights on this square to see, the St Mark’s Basilica (’Basilica di San Marco’) might be the most outstanding piece. The building is one of the masterpieces of Byzantine architecture that was under constant construction between the 11th and 13th century, thus carries impressions of multiple eras. On the St Mark’s Square you can also find the ‘Campanile’, the bell tower of the basilica. Though you might need to stand in a long queue to get in and up, it is worth it – you can the most spectacular view on the skyline of Venice! Fun fact: the tower once completely collapsed in 1902, so it had to be built again completely from scratch. The constructions of the current tower finished in 1912. Another well-known sight of Venice is the Doge’s Palace (’Palazzo Ducale’). The Gothic building used to give home to the doge, the old head of the Republic of Venice. It can be found on the ’Piazetta’, where you can also come across a Reneissance-style library, the ’Libreria’. Though you can take a gondola cruise on many canals, the most famous one is the ’Canal Grande’. This is the city’s main traffic route with hunders of churches and palaces on both of its sides. Out of these you must see the old customs buildings (’Punta della Dogana’), the ’Ca’ Rezzonico’, and the Pesaro Palace on the left side of the canal. On the right side uncountable other palaces line up. Getting on a boat you can also easily get over to the island of Murano, which is known for its glass industry – you can get insight into manufacturing and visit museums, or also just get the most unique souvenirs here.
The first ethnic groups settled in the surroundings of today’s Venice in the 6th century. They mainly lived on fishing and salt evaporation. After a few centuries they outgrew their residence, that is when they started expanding and connecting the smaller islands - and that is when they have established Venice city center on the island of Rialto. The city played an important role in terms of trade and commerce throughout the coming centuries and its influence reached all the way to the Arabic states. The growing economic relevance of the city strengthened the ties between local communities, which resulted in the establishment of the Republic of Venice and the election of the first doge around the year 700. The thousand-year-long prospering of this empire ended at the end of the 18th century, when the French Napoleon Bonaparte and his armies marched into the city. Later on he passed over the city to the Habsburgs, but the ownership of the city was swinging back and forth between these empires until the Habsburgs eventually gave the city to the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. By today there are 300 thousand inhabiting this marvelous place.
One of the most well known traditions of the city is most definitely the Carnival of Venice (‘Carnevale di Venezia’). They organize the event every year to say goodbye to the winter months, ending it on Shrove Tuesday, one day before Ash Wednesday. Everyone in the city hops on ships and boats, dresses up in costumes, eats, drinks, and says goodbye to the cold with some fireworks. The most iconic accessory of the carnival is the mask. You can find several tiny shops in town that specialize in mask making. You can browse through thousands and pick your favorite piece – which is also the best souvenir without a doubt in case you want take something home from Venice. Lovers of arts will also be entertained in Venice. There are numerous museums and galleries to visit, such as the ‘Gallerie dell’Accademia’, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, or the Jewish Museum of Venice (‘Museo Ebraico di Venezia’).
The wonderful Venice keeps its charm after sunset too. The best activity for our bus travellers is the already mentioned gondola cruise, which is even more romantic at night than at daylight. The streets are full of bars and taverns, so what could be better on a summer evening than to sit outside on a terrace, drink a glass of cold wine, and order a real Italian pizza? Locals swear that one of the best places in town is ’Bacareto de Lele’. It can be found next to ’Giardini Papadopoli’ and allows you to eat and drink at a reasonable price while also enjoying friendly conversations with the locals. You can combine the evening drinks with live music too if you head to ’Venice Jazz Club’! The space is rather small so it makes sense to book a table ahead. From here you can hop over to ’Cafe Noir’, which is also a place liked both by tourists and locals. This bar offers many cocktail specialties and lays in the city center surrounded by historic churches, so you can easily come here right after finishing your daily sightseeing. Tasty drinks and delicious dishes can also be found in ’Osteria da Codroma’,’Il Ridotto’, and ’Al Cavo’ – Venice has countless good restaurants, really. Cocktail lovers should also chck out ’Harry’s Bar’. This iconic bar takes you back to the 30s and is often visited by celebrities – who knows maybe you can snap a photo here with your favourite movie star or singer... Try your luck before getting back on the bus!
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