Venice

Venice the city of romance, art and culture is well known for the network of canals that link the city. Over 100 islands make up this popular Italian destination, surrounded by waterways and joined by bridges this has to be the ultimate city destination for the heady combination of culture, great food and excellent wine.

Elegant buildings overlook bustling streets and waterways that once night falls take on a whole new persona, the twinkling street lights invite you to sit and relax for a while whilst the moonlit canals are perfect for a romantic gondola ride; Venice is popular for many reasons and as a city break destination offers the experience of a lifetime.

Venice is an incredibly popular tourist destination and the prices reflect this, however travelling at less busy periods and shopping around for your accommodation can bring the prices down to a more manageable level, independent travellers have far more choice than those on package breaks but may find themselves paying a premium for the privilege.

There are many hotels with outstanding features but for if you are visiting during the heady summer months there is nowhere quite as special as the Hilton Molino Stucky, the rooms are beautiful with their marble and traditional Venetian furnishings and the restaurant serves excellent food but the real stand out feature of this hotel is the rooftop pool; set high enough to have magnificent sweeping views over Venice, during the summer evenings it really is quite extraordinary.

Italian cuisine relies on locally sourced ingredients with a preference for simple foods cooked perfectly, Venice is no different and its regional variations of the Italian staple of Antipasti are renown throughout Italy, the raw seafood antipasti is absolutely perfect when sampled in this city of water. Tucked away and almost hidden in amongst the winding streets is Antiche Carampane, serving the best antipasti in town this is where the locals flock to, maybe not as romantic as the restaurants that line the Rialto bridge but a far more authentic dining experience.

No visit to Venice is complete without heading to Harry’s Bar on Calle Vallaresso, the St Marks waterfront location has made this historic restaurant a favourite since 1931, diners flock here to the home of the Bellini to enjoy the ambience of a time gone by; much beloved by the rich and famous, Harry’s Bar is nothing short of an institution.

Venice is a haven for those that like to explore on foot, the route for tourists to take in order to enjoy the major landmarks is clearly marked with arrows on the pathways although those that want to get around in a hurry may want to take one of the many water buses that line the canals.Tourists flock to Rialto and with good reason, the bridge with its views over the Grand Canal is perhaps one of the most iconic places in the world and Piazza San Marco the adjoining square houses some of the best known attractions in the city, most notably St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace.

It is essential that you leave Venice with a reminded of your glorious stay and nothing is more traditional than Venetian glass, head to the island of Murano where it has been made using the same  method for the last 700 years; craftsmen work whilst you watch the techniques that have sustained generations of local families.

The Carnival of Venice is held annually in the early part of the year, closely linked to the religious period of Lent this is when the city gets to wear their famed Venetian masks and as expected the city is flooded with visitors leading to an increase in prices.

The city of Venice enjoys a climate of cool winters and hot summers and although rainfall is possible throughout the year it is rarely a major inconvenience, the peak summer months are the busiest time of year for tourists and at times can feel slightly overcrowded in the narrow historic streets with their well defined tourist hotspots. The autumn months with their off peak appeal can be a great time to travel, the unpredictable weather making them less popular with many visitors.

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