Destination of the Week: Venice
Venice is a floating landscape of grandeur, romance and crumbling history. Within the narrow, backstreet alleys, churches, secret squares and plant-filled balconies hide ancient stories of intrigue. Along the Grand Canal flamboyant masquerade parties, gothic palaces and gondolas enhanced by pink sunsets have inspired artists and writers for hundreds of years. Venice feeds all your senses at once, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.
What to do
Simply arriving in Venice, by waterbus or water taxi from Marco Polo airport, is a visual treat in itself. Cruising through the canals on the way to your hotel, or on a gondola ride is the most exciting way to see the city in all its busy splendour.
As the world’s only pedestrian city, you’ll see the incredible sites on foot, such as San Marco’s Square with the Bell Tower of St Mark, the Doge’s Palace and the Clock Tower, in amongst restaurants, cafes and the endless influx of curious pigeons.
Stroll over the iconic Rialto Bridge and shop at the Rialto market for souvenirs, carnival masks and intricate glass gifts. Spend a few days exploring the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello to visit lace and glass blowing museums and enjoy scrumptious Italian food as the sun sets over the lagoon.
Where to stay
No matter where you stay in Venice, you’re likely to feel as if you’ve stepped back in time towards an historic fairy-tale. It’s possible to wake up in a Palazzo overlooking The Grand Canal, stay in family-run guesthouses with statue-filled courtyards, choose a quaint hotel or rent a local apartment.
Hotel Palazzo Abadessa (£££)
The Hotel Palazzo Abadessa is located in a former Doge’s 16th century palace on the Santa Sofia Canal in Cannaregio, complete with Murano glass lamps, Persian carpets and antique furnishings. The hotel offers breakfast with local delicacies, a bar with views of the canal and all rooms have air-conditioning, minibars, satellite TVs, frescoed ceilings and silk wallpaper.
Locanda Casa Sul Molo (££)
An historic guesthouse, Locanda Casa Sul Molo is just 100 metres from St. Mark’s Square and set on the 3rd floor of an 18th century townhouse. Baroque and Venetian style furnishings come with all the mod cons you need, such as air-conditioning, satellite TVs and free Wi Fi.
Albergo Doni (£)
A cheap and cheerful, family run hotel, the Albergo Doni offers 24-hour reception, breakfast and canal views a mere 2 minute walk from all the action of St Mark’s Square. You can choose from rooms with either private or shared bathrooms.
Where to eat
Eating in Venice is a treasured pastime and one that you can easily indulge in at any time of day, at a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and bars. Snack on a succulent piece of takeaway pizza, stand at the counter for a cappuccino with the locals or wine and dine at a Michelin star restaurant.
The Met (£££)
The Met Restaurant is in the Metropole Hotel near St Mark’s Square, overlooking the lagoon with a private canal entrance for water taxis. Blending Venetian traditions with modern flavours, you can try oysters and champagne or Beef Rossini ‘Chef Luca Veritti’ style and wash it down with a glass of wine from an extensive list of national producers.
Osteria Alla Staffa (££)
A firm favourite with the locals and a place so small and quaint it’s best to book to get a table, Osteria Alla Staffa is a family run osteria in Sestiere Castello. Try seafood ravioli, tiramisu for desert and the local house wine.
Cip Ciap (£)
Always busy with people popping in for bite-sized pizzas topped with anything from pepperoni to artichokes, Cip Ciap is great value for money pizza and the perfect spot to stop when hunger strikes. You can find Cip Ciap’s pizzas and calzones in Calle del Mondo Novo.
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