Escape to the dream called Venice, the city of canals that managed to challenge, with its outstanding, water beauty, the skills of Charles Dickens: “for the first time I visited a place I am afraid to describe”. The ethereal and delicate city of Doges travels in its own time and space floating on the 117 islands of the Adriatic lagoon, drifting between reality and fantasy. Fly with Aegean Airlines for Serenissima with its carnevale – extravaganza, the water city of Casanova, Tintoretto and Marco Polo.
A World Heritage Site, the capital of Veneto, in northern Italy is an attraction on its own. As the vaporetto slides on the Canal Grande water boulevard, Serenissima unveils its grandeur: medieval palazzi with lace-like façades of pink and white marble, elaborate bridges and imposing churches, architectural gems, like the Santa Maria della Salute church.
Using the high Campanile as your compass, walk in the mazy alleys of the most romantic city in the world, wander in canals, small squares, bridges, gardens and yards popping out in every corner, like small surprises in the less crowded sestieri (neighbourhoods) of the city, such as the Dorsoduro and the La Giudecca neighbourhoods. Book your flight now at www.aegeanair.com for Venice, which is “like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go” according to Truman Capote.
St Mark’s Basilica:
The heart of the city beats at Saint Mark’s square with the famous 11th century basilica, a charming mix of Byzantine architecture with elements of renaissance and Romanesque art. The iconic church of Venice impresses visitors with the splendour of the gold plated mosaics in its interior, as well as with the famous Pala d’Oro, a section of the Altar decorated with gold and precious stones. Visit the museum in San Marco with the Loggia dei Cavalli, where the original four gold-plated bronze horses are kept, that were brought by Crusaders in 1204 from Constantinople. From here, the view of the piazza looks like a postcard. Copies of the horses decorate the entrance of the church.
Address: San Marco, 328, 0039 041 2708311, www.basilicasanmarco.it/
An amazing example of medieval architecture, the base of the lords of the city with its Gothic façade from white stone and pink Verona marble, the palace reflects the commercial grandeur of Venice when, in Medieval period and the Renaissance, it connected the West of the time with the countries of the far East. Palazzo Ducale is a beautiful complex of impressive halls, corridors, hidden rooms and works of art by Tintoretto, Veronese, Hieronymus Bosch. From here you will cross the famous Bridge of Sighs, named after the 19th century romantics who imagined the lamentations of prisoners as, from that bridge, they would see the light of day for the last time before they were sent off to prison. Infamous Casanova was imprisoned here for five years.
Address: San Marco, 1, 0039 041 2715911, www.basilicasanmarco.it/
Visit the fantastic Gallerie dell’Accademia full of Venetian school painting masterpieces, dating from the 14th to the 18th century. Admire works by artists such as Titian, Tiepolo, Tintoretto, Bellini, Veronese, Canaletto and more.
Address: Campo della Carità,
Dorsoduro 1050, 0039 0415200345, www.gallerieaccademia.org/
Peggy Guggenheim Collection:
If you love modern art, head for the Dorsoduro district to admire creations by top European and American artists of the 20th century: works by Picasso, Matisse, Magritte, Dalí, Mondrian, De Chirico and more, are presented in the Venetian 18th century palazzo with the amazing view to the Grand Canal. Don’t forget to try the carpaccio at the Museum Café.
Address: Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Dorsoduro 701-704, 0039 041 2405411, www.guggenheim-venice.it/
Tour on a vaporetto:
Tour the Canal Grande on a vaporetto to live the experience of sliding on the water boulevard of Venice. You will admire masterpieces, such as the Ca’ d’Oro Golden Residence and Palazzo Grassi, from a different point of view, passing under the dreamy Rialto bridge.
although it sounds like a tourist cliché, gondola rides remain an unforgettable experience in Venice, as the vessel slides under the Bridge of Sighs and the gondolier sings “La donna è mobile” and “Ο Sole mio”.
Get the vaporetto to the “homeland” of Murano blown glass, tour around the traditional glass-makers dating since the Middle Ages and visit the Glass Museum (Fondamenta Giustinian 8, tel. 0039 041 739586), with the largest Venetian glass collection in the world.
Address: take vaporetto No. 52 departing from Fondamenta Nuove
Famous for its handmade lace. Its typical houses, painted in bright colours, were once used as lighthouses for fishermen returning from the Adriatic Sea. At the Lace Museum (Piazza Galuppi 187, 0039 041 730034), you can watch the few Venetian women that still make precious lace by hand.
Address: take vaporetto No. 12 departing from Fondamenta Nuove