The City That is Itself a Work of Art

Basically an open air museum: strolling through the narrow streets and alleyways of Venice, the queen of the Adriatic, means continuously admiring lavish palaces, historic buildings, marvellous churches, and one of a kind homes.

Because of its unique urban features and its rich artistic patrimony, Venice is universally considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and has been declared, with its lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alongside the Rialto Bridge, the other symbol of Venice is undoubtedly Piazza San Marco (the only urban space in Venice called a piazza, in that all of the other such spaces in Venice are called “campi”). Also known as the “Living Room of Europe”, Piazza San Marco houses St. Mark’s Basilica, a superb example of Romanesque-Byzantine style. Inspired by the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Constantinople, it was originally built to house the body of Mark the Evangelist. The facade is decorated with precious marbles and mosaics and divided in two parts by a terrace, on which rest the four golden copper horses sent from Constantinople to Doge Enrico Dandolo in 1204. The monumental interior, shaped like a Greek cross, is rich in paintings and sculptures. The bell tower next to the basilica was once a light house for sailors.

To the right of the basilica, one can visit the Ducal Palace (formerly the Doge’s Palace as it was the seat of the Doge), a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture. The interiors, which have been partially stripped of the artwork that once decorated them, still house a large art collection which includes pieces by masters like Tintoretto, Tiziano Vecellio, and Paolo Veronese. The Ducal Palace has followed in the footsteps of the Serenissima and today houses the Civic Museum of the Ducal Palace, part of the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice.
Just a few minutes away from Venice by ferry is Murano, the second largest island in the lagoon after Venice and world famous for its multi-century artisan tradition of blown glass, still the island’s primary economic activity.