There are few more romantic cities in the world than Venice, its canals and gondolas only part of the attraction that sees more than 20 million visitors arrive here every year. Famously built on 117 tiny islands, Venice is linked by more than 150 canals and 400 bridges, but the city is actually sinking as water levels rise every year. The city centre is divided into six quarters (sestieri) – Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, Sam Marco, San Polo and Santa Croce. On any given summer day, you will find hundreds of Europeans flocking Venice for short breaks or romantic weekend getaways, revelling in its magnificent tourist attractions and awe-inspiring scenery.
Venice enjoyed a long history as a powerful trading post before being eclipsed by other cities and nations, but today its art, historical buildings and museums remain a remarkable treasure trove, while a romantic ride on a gondola is a must for any visitor. Take an unforgettable walking tour of Venice that will unravel the beauty of this amorous town and show you why it truly deserves the title of one of the best cities in the world.
Venice has mild winters and hot and humid summers, so spring and autumn is the best time to visit Venice. Fog can be a problem in winter months and occasionally public transport, particularly on the canals, may be disrupted.
Venice is a popular tourist destination all year round with carnivals, religious festivals and regattas taking place every month. Its carnival, starting on Shrove Tuesday, officially marks the start of Lent and has been a public holiday in the city since 1296. Do as the locals do and buy an extravagant mask to join in with the revelry and merriment. Other major events throughout the year include the Feast of the Ascension on May 15 when Venice marks its long association with the sea; Regatta of the Redeemer on the third weekend of July that remembers the end of the plague in 1576 when a bridge of boats carried the faithful across the Grand Canal; and the Historical Regatta on the first Sunday of September when the rowing skills of the city’s people are showcased before a final race between gondoliers.
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The Venice Film Festival, the oldest film festival in the world, takes place every September when the Leone d’Oro (Golden Lion) is awarded to the best film. The Venice Biennale is an international contemporary art exhibition that takes place every two years (the next is in 2013). If you’re visiting Venice for New Year, stick around until January 6 when the ancient Italian tradition of Regata delle Befane takes place. This rowing competition along the Grand Canal features men dressed as witches, known to Italian children as “befana”.
Apart from this, Venice sees a healthy dose of carnivals and events throughout the year. Some of them are:
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