Nothing quite prepares you for the city of canals, because quite simply there is nothing else like it.
From the water taxi that you catch from the airport and the vaporetti that provide the city’s public transport system; to the bin men, couriers and emergency services and not forgetting the gondolas which await your romantic intentions, absolutely everything happens on the water.
Or on foot of course, and the mixture of leisurely boat rides and Shanks’s pony all serves to ensure your holiday is a relaxing one.
If you love Italian fashion and designer labels, then head to Piazza San Marco behind which many big name flagship stores can be found. There are also many gems to be discovered as you pick your way around the maze of ancient streets, both artisan shops and leafy squares to discover with every turn.
Eating and drinking in style is second nature to the Venetians, and the classic must-try aperitif which graces every menu is the Aperol Spritz, made with Aperol, prosecco, soda and a giant green olive, generally served with gratis snacks. Visit the splendid permanent al fresco Rialto Market to witness a truly breathtaking array of fresh fish and seafood, fruit, vegetables and flowers complete with cheeky Italian vendors and plenty of atmosphere.
Venice is made up of small islands set in a lagoon, many of which are easily accessible with a short vaporetto ride. We visited nearby Murano, a town on a small island famous for its glass. You are ushered off the boat straight into a huge glass-blowing workshop, where large men blow delicate shapes using centuries-old techniques. The island also has many colourful glass sculptures and is absolutely delightful for a day trip. Another island well worth a visit is Burano, famous for its colourful houses and traditional lace making. Another short boat ride away is the Lido, an 11km long sandbar which is Venice’s beach and the place for a swim.
There are many stunning buildings and sites of fascinating history in Venice, but I shall pick just one to leave you with – The Bridge of Sighs. According to Lord Byron, prisoners going to their death were led across the bridge and would sigh at their
last view of beautiful Venice, local legend also has it that lovers will find eternal bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge of Sighs as the bells of St. Mark’s Campanile toll.