Romantic and magnificent, cultured and heart moving, but also sparkling and frivolous. It’s the city of Marco Polo, of the Carnevale, of antique and contemporary art that, alike an intense perfume, is possible to smell on every bridge, calle (street of Venice) or canal. Cradle of artists such as Tiziano, Giorgione, Tintoretto, Bellini; Venice is a miracle of beauty and harmony that, every year, is visited by thousands of tourists in love of its atmosphere, gathering very important cultural and ephemerous happenings.
The city tells about itself in a game of lights and shadows created by the glares on the lagoon, in the chromatisms of the paintings glittering under the sun, in the sequence of bridges that design its aspect, also in the awesomeness of the campi (squares of Venice) and in the geometrical alternation of the polychromed veining of its stones.
What makes everything so alive are the warmth of the bacari (typical café of Venice), scattered all over the city, the kindness of people, the strong and typical colors and smells. Many are the picturesque glimpses (from bridges on Grand Canal to the beautiful churches) and the charming itineraries, always new, like those of the buildings that, with their seductive architectures, resulting from different eras and styles, testify the story of an antique civilization, of the Venetian theaters (the house of Richard Wagner and the legendary La Fenice theater) , of the islands of the lagoon, of the Castello (Castle) with its Arsenale (navy yard) or of the Ghetto.
But the true symbol of the Serenissima is San Marco Square with its cathedral, with the byzantine domes, the gold, the polychrome marbles, the fabulous mosaics and, at the same time, representing the core of the social life of the city. In front of the sacred building there is the Campanile (bell tower) on top of which is possible to enjoy one of the most visited and most evocative views of the city. Also the tower of the Torre dell’Orologio (clock tower), built in 1499, still displaying time, in Roman numbers, the phases of the moon and the zodiac.
On top, the Mori (Moors) one of the most typical Venetian scene. San Marco Square is surrounded by arches, called Le Procuratie because they were the place where stayed the most powerful magistrates after the Doge: the Procuratori of San Marco Today, they host several luxury stores, the Caffé Florian, historical café of Venice since 1720 and the most important jewelry stores.
Not that far is also the famous Harry’s Bar, frequented by producers, artists, celebs and people representing the international jet set. In the Venetian agorà there are also the Libreria Sansoviniana (library), where it is possible to admire the artworks by Veronese, Tintoretto and Andrea Schiavone and the Museo Correr (museum).
Furthermore, a symbol of the Serenissima the two dominating Columns, respectively of San Marco and San Todaro, two magnificent monoliths in Oriental granite with on top the bronze lion and the marble figure of San Todaro, who has been the first patron saint of the people of Veneto, here a copy of the original conserved inside Palazzo Ducale. From this last architectural jewel, also on the square, it is possible to cross the romantic Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sights) that connects the building to the new prisons.
Strolling around San Marco we enter Campo San Bartolomeo, well-known meeting point for the young people thanks to very traditional bars such as “Al Bacareto”, open every day and offering a large choice of snacks such fried baccalà (salted codfish) meat balls and other light meals with fish. Also the area around Rialto, the most famous and antique bridge of the city and in Santa Margherita, both full of bacari (typical Venetian bars), small pubs, osterias, has always been a place where young people are use to meet each other during the happy hour, characterized by cicchetti (typical Venetian tastes) and glasses of good wine.
At night everything is possible: from romantic strolls hand in hand through the calli and bridges easily ending into the traditional gondola ride, to the wildest nights between pubs and clubs. One of the most attractive moment in Venice is definitely the Carnival, famous all around the world thanks to its surreal atmosphere, characterized by beauty and mystery. During this period, the city offers a lot of events, costume parties and theme nights.
The luxury shopping lovers will find their Mecca with the sparking shop windows at the Mercerie, the main shop street of the city, connecting San Marco square and Rialto. This arterial road was and still is the commercial heart of Venice: already rich during the Republic, with workshops of precious fabrics and cloths, nowadays it became the main reference point for the fashion’s lovers. Here are the stores by the best Italian and international brands together with jewellery stores, art galleries, design stores, Murano
glass stores and other selling any kind of souvenirs.
At the beginning of the Mercerie dell’Orologio there is a curious bas relief picturing a pestle falling from the hands of a woman. The story tells that the plebeian woman has been accidentally the cause of the death of the riotous Bajamonte Tiepolo, stopping in this way a city insurrection. It is mandatory not to leave Venice without trespassing the legendary Grand Canal, that divides in two the city and that is its “main street”. Alongside the “Canalasso”, as the Venetians call it, stand extraordinary buildings, most of them from between 12th and 18th century, that show the opulence and the art created by the Serenissima and that make of the Grand Canal one of the symbols of the city.
Not one aristocratic did not aspire to build his palace along what has become the most elegant course of the world. Every year the Venetians re-experience centuries-old traditions such as the Regata Storica, a rowboat race that attracts on the banks multitudes of people and the Corteo Storico (historical parade).