The floating city is a pure expression of passion – seductive, theatrical, edgy in flair, and classic romance. That’s what comes to mind at the mere mention of Venice. Standing in Venice fuels the furnace behind any hopeless romantic. Expression of passion is forged in splendid Gothic architecture, the water-edge infrastructure, to the intricate network of canals – the city is an artwork in itself. It’s no wonder the city, along with its lagoon, is listed as a World Heritage Site.
What to see & do
First things first – bring extra SD cards for your digital camera and comfortable walking shoes on your Venice trip.
There’s a Venice in One Day tour (though it’ll only scratch the surface of what Venice has to offer) that you can complete, especially if it’s your first time in this enchanting city. The walk-and-boat tour waltzes through Venice’s narrow streets, and cruises along the romantic Grand Canal. The tour highlights the city’s prominent monuments, and you’ll get to explore the famous Basilica of St Mark’s without having to queue in the notorious admission line!
Next stop is the indestructible Gothic palace which stood the test of storms, crashes and conspiracies, and was the seat of Venice’s government for nearly seven centuries – Palazzo Ducale. Venture into the courtyard and spot the feared wells, where prisoners were left shivering below water level.
If you’re not churched out yet, you can add these to your itinerary – the towering Italian-brick Gothic church I Frari, its rival church Zanipolo, and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, a mystical domed church commissioned by Venice’s plague survivors as thanks for salvation.
How to get around
The city’s main mode of public transport is vaporetto (canal boat or water taxi). As boat stops can be confusing, be sure to check the signs before alighting. Tickets can be purchased from designated booths at most landing stations.
Alternatively, Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano are local buses serving the surrounding areas, including Mestre and Chioggia.
How to get there
With no direct flights from New Zealand, you can catch regular connecting flights from the States or Canada. Delta Airlines and US Airways will fly you from the States to Venice.
Once at the Marco Polo Airport, the quickest option to Venice is on the frequent, reliable and affordable train. The end-stop train station is right by a vaporetto stops, where you’ll board a water taxi for the rest of your journey to Venice City. Or you can catch a water taxi between the airport and Venice though it could be costly. Prices can be metered or negotiated in advance.
Alternatively, the Alilaguna Orange Line ferry can transfer you from the airport ferry dock (an eight-minute walk from the terminal) to major stops at the Fondamente Nuove, making several stops along the 70-to-80-minute ride.