A city of marble, perched precariously on a lagoon, disappearing slowly beneath the waves of the acqua alta — Venice is a floating marvel, proof of man’s endless hubris and imagination. Vanishing, wonderful Venice, La Serenissima (the most serene one), La Dominate, Queen Of The Adriatic, The Floating City Of Masks And Bridges sinks by one or two millimeters every years, as a consequence of its faulty wooden foundations and is to be lost to the waves by 2100 if the globe continues to warm.
Reality encroaches, romance is vanquished — ah, but how beautiful it all is. For now, the city stands, and it’s full of sights to see and things to do.
Go Lagoon Cruising
In this city of canals, one must go boating. Even the Venetians themselves will tell you that the best way to see the city is from inside a batellina coda di gambero (traditional shrimp-tailed boat), poling round its 118 small islands! Whilst this is indubitably the Venetian way to do it, it can be pretty expensive! A more cost effective option is taking a guided boat tour along a pre-planned, organized route that saves you the trouble of having to do it yourself. This is a group experience, and most tours will see you traveling alongside 25 or fewer other guests. Tours span either 2 or all 3 of the islands and UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Murano, Burano and Torcello and take around 5 hours.
Marvel at the Basilica De San Marco
Riotous Byzantine architecture, 8000 square of glittering rainbow-hued stained glass, gilded gold mosaics — Venice’s most venerated landmark attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Though nothing concrete remains of the Basilica’s first iterations, its structure dates all the way back to the ninth century, when it was built to house St Mark’s corpse. This first building burnt down in 932 and was rebuilt with renewed Venetian vigour and flair only to be burnt down again in the rebellion of 976! The opulent Basilica was the doge’s private chapel, only becoming Venice’s very own cathedral in 1807, after the collapse of the Republic. The best time to visit is right at sunset, when the last of the sun’s light illuminates the Basilica’s burnished golden mosaics.
Get wonderfully, hopelessly lost
You don’t need a tour guide or a map to get lost — and that’s the best part. Too often, we spend the better parts of our travels too busy with our hands to look up much. And in a city like Venice, that borders on blasphemous! Especially when central Venice is so small, and easy to find your way around! So take that wrong turn, lose the map and wander round with your hands in your pockets and your eyes on the aching, unforgettable beauty all around you.