Europe, in general, is a dream vacation destination for so many people, but of all the history-rich cities in Europe, Venice is one of the most ancient, fascinating, and beautiful. What’s more, is that flights from Jeddah airport now go directly to Milan, so it’s possible to visit Venice with just one plane journey and a quick jaunt on the train. This makes the dream of visiting Venice a whole lot simpler than it used to be.
With that in mind, we’ve devised a guide to all of the places that one really should see when visiting this renowned city. Here’s that guide.
The Basilica of Saint Mark
We’re starting off the tour in Venice’s largest square, the Piazza San Marco, or the Square of Saint Mark. This square is a real gem of Venetian architecture, with three of its four sides framed with beautiful arcades. You’ll find all of the shopping that anybody could wish for, namely exclusive boutiques, art galleries, and plenty of coffee shops. Grab yourself a coffee and a pastry and sit a while in the square to really soak in the atmosphere. It’s a great people-watching spot, so much so that it’s colloquially known as Venice’s Living Room. Once you’ve sat a while, it’s time for a little exercise. Don’t worry, it’ll be very rewarding.
Over at the end of the square that isn’t flanked by shops is the Basilica of Saint Mark. Covered in elaborate mosaics, and intricately carved stone, this church is perhaps the most easily recognizable in the whole of Italy. It’s a true Byzantine beauty, and the outside is only the beginning. Inside is an enormous gold mosaic, covering more than 4000 square meters. As though that wasn’t enough gold, the altarpiece is golden too and was created in the 12th century. It’s adorned with literally thousands of gems and precious stones, a true masterpiece.
Once you’ve taken in the grandeur of the basilica, it’s time for that bit of exercise. At one end of the church is the Torre dell’orlogio, a huge brick tower with a clock at the top. Climb the stairs, of which there are many, and you’ll get the most stunning view of the whole square that you just sat in.
Casino di Venezia
There are plenty of old buildings in Venice, that goes without saying, but there is one building that is particularly special. It is the oldest building of its kind in the world and it is the Casino de Venezia. Originally opened in 1638, this casino is years older than all of Europe’s oldest, with one catch. It actually moved sites in 1950. The move landed the casino in a building that was designed and built in the late 15th century by renowned architect, Mauro Condussi. Condussi was most famous for bringing the Renaissance style to Venice, a style which you’ll notice a lot, particularly around the banks of the canal. The building still operates as a functioning casino today, taking up three floors of the stunning building that it calls home.
You certainly couldn’t get much closer to the banks of the canal than the Casino di Venezia. the impressive facade of the building faces the Grand Canal and a docking point outside means you can even visit by gondola. A night at this casino is certainly a special one, not least because the building is so elaborate but also, because of its grandeur, everybody dresses incredibly elegantly. If you’re planning on visiting in jeans and a polo then think again.
The Bridge of Sighs
Finally, The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most beautiful bridges in Venice and it would be an enormous shame to go home without having seen it. The Bridge of Sighs is so named because it was the bridge to the famous Prigioni, the prison that Casanova made his escape from. Viewing a bridge is actually not best done from the bridge itself, but from another bridge close to it, in this case, the Ponte della Paglia. If you do want to view the bridge from it then you’ll need to book a tour, as pedestrians aren’t allowed access unless they’re part of one. Once you’ve viewed the bridge from the Ponte della Paglia, don’t forget to visit the Doge’s Palace, by far Venice’s most impressive palace.