Gondolas adrift in Venice's Grand Canal

Venice, the sinking city, is a series of islands connected by bridges and canals. This beautiful city is slowly succumbing to the rising waters and thus, has made it a popular tourist destination. The ambiance of gondolas slowing sliding through the Grand Canals, the centuries old tall brick buildings, and the colorful feathered masks for Carnevale, bring this romantic city to life.

Grand Canal's Rialto Bridge in Venice

The most notable feature of Venice, are the canals. The canals serve as the main form of transportation between the islands, as well as the pedestrian walkways and bridges that serve the islands. The Grand Canal is the main waterway, making an S-shape through the city. Cruise along the canal to view the gorgeous buildings with arched columns, porticos, and fondacos styled in byzantine, gothic, renaissance, and baroque architecture. Most transportation along the waterways takes place in vaporettos, or water busses. However, the iconic gondola is popular with tourists and provides a leisurely glide through the picturesque canals. Journey by gondola to take in the Bridge of Sighs or Rialto Bridge, both magnificent for their history and impressive design. A Luxe Travel advisor can schedule a private gondola tour for you along the Grand Canal, complete musicians performing traditional Italian songs.

Piazza San Marco in Venice

The Piazza San Marco serves as the center square for Venice and the main gathering place for Venetians and tourists alike. Find St. Mark’s Basilica here alongside the campanile or bell tower. A Luxe Travel advisor can arrange for a private tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. The church of gold, with gilded mosaics, was built in the 11th century. Extraordinarily ornate designs from inside out mix eastern and western style architecture, making it truly unique among basilicas. The interior is laid out in a Grecian cross design, with geometric patterns and marble floors.
St. Marks Campanile, or bell tower, with its fluted red brick is perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols of Venice here in the piazza. Doge’s Palace lines one side of the square and represents much of Venice’s signature architecture. The 12th century palace is now a museum and gallery displaying renowned artists and elaborately decorated palatial rooms.

Exquisite Carnevale Masks made in Venice

Anything goes at the Venetian Carnevale, which takes place every year before Lent. Carnevale in Venice is a magnificent event featuring theatrical acts, jugglers, dances, galas and games. Of course, the Venetian celebration is best known for its elaborate masks. The masks are works of art unto themselves. Traditional Bauta masks cover the whole face and are adorned with intricate gold and silver designs, feathers, and fabric. Traditional Columbine masks cover only half the face held up by baton, and are just as gorgeous. If you do not visit during Carnevale, you may still purchase masks in many of the shops, or even watch artisans design the delicate masks.

A short canal ride away takes you to Murano, home to Venetian glass factories. You may tour the factory where the exquisitely colorful glass creations come to life. Don’t worry about getting your beautiful purchases home. The glassmakers are used to shipping their works of art around the world.

The floating city has its share of distinct Italian dishes. When in Venice, be sure to try the city’s signature dish, risotto, adorned with a variety of vegetables or meat. Many types of seafood make its way into the coastal city’s dishes, including calamari. The dolce specialty here is tiramisu made from biscuits soaked in espresso layered with mascarpone cream. Be sure to take a moment to savor a Bellini, a peach infused champagne drink, originated from Harry’s Bar, conveniently located in the Piazza San Marco.

There is no shortage of fine luxury hotels to rest your head while staying in Venice. Many along the Grand Canal offer superb rooftop views of the fine city, regal accommodations with private terraces overlooking the canals, gilded facades, and even quiet lush courtyards. Consider staying at the Hotel Danieli, steps from Piazza San Marco and Doge’s Palace. The hotel is comprised of three palaces, with Murano glass, pink marble columns, dramatic high ceilings, and artistic frescos.

Venice has a very warm humid summer, so it is best to visit in mid to late fall, when temperatures cool and crowds have waned. If you are there for Carnavale, be prepared for many attractions to be busy as well. Otherwise, if you do not want to be stuck in the masses, avoid the weeks before Lent begins. Contact the Luxe Travel team at 1-866-365-8747 or concierge@luxetravel.com to talk with a Luxe Travel Advisor about scheduling your perfect Venetian getaway.