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Venetian Riviera -Venice
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Venice canals and boats
Venice is a lively coastal Venetian Riviera full of stylish boutiques, cafes and promenade shops. There are no beaches in Venice itself though there are spectacular sandy beaches, lagoons and resorts just 20 minutes away and obviously plenty of transport exists. Venice is a mesmerising city and perfect base for exploring the wondrous Venetian Riviera interior or beaches like the 8 mile long Lido di Venezia just twenty minutes away by water bus. Here's our top selection of resorts and hotels in Venice

Guide to Venice.
Built on 117 small islands with a staggering 150 canals and 409 bridges, Venice forms an intricate maze that is a pleasure to lose oneself in. The city’s most famous attraction is the world renowned Piazza San Marco. To stroll through this expansive pigeon-filled square is to sample the very heart of Venice. It is bordered by the exquisitely intricate Basilica di San Marco with it’s glittering Medieval mosaics and towered over by the landmark Campanile from which the most spectacular panoramic views can be viewed for a mere 10,000 lire (£3). Also to be found in the Piazza San Marco area is the Doge’s Palace, (Palazzo Ducale) with it’s amazing Gothic façade and it’s wonderfully decorative 15th century rooms housing works of art by masters such as Tintoretto and Veronese.A short walk away is the 16th century Rialto Bridge - undoubtedly one of the symbols of Venice and just as much a tourist hotspot as the Piazza San Marco. Filled with market stalls and street vendors selling souvenirs of every description, allowing the bustling street markets to arch over the legendary Grand Canal.

It isn't difficult however, to escape the thronging crowds of the major tourist spots. Venice is a walker’s paradise and it’s easy to head off down narrow streets and alleys to discover hidden piazzas along the miles of canal. Head to the districts of Dorsoduro, San Polo and Castello for a more authentic and quieter Venetian ambience. These districts are chock full of lesser-known monuments and works of art just begging to be visited. The Vaporetto - Venice’s very own waterbus system makes it easy to manoeuvre around the city. Cheap and easy, it is possible visit the other islands and Murano comes highly recommended. Home of the famous Murano glass, this modestly sized island brims with shops adorned with thousands of glass items, from traditional souvenirs to jewellery and designer ware. There are even glassblowing demonstrations for visitors to watch. The busiest and most surreal time to visit Venice however, is during the colourful Carnevale, celebrated in the ten days running up to Shrove Tuesday. The streets are awash with anonymous figures in exquisite masks and other fancy dress mayhem. There is face painting, music, concerts as a good-humoured, lively feeling floods the city as Venice becomes like one gigantic theatre back-drop. Venice really is a magical place and unarguably one of Italy’s most enigmatic gems.

Gondola Ride.
The canals of Venice are packed with black shiny gondolas steering skillfully around the busy waterways and a gondola ride is a perfect way to relax and take in this beautiful maze-like city. There is never a shortage of gondolas to take you – invariably there always tends to be a gondolier around enticing you to get into his boat. The prices aren’t cheap, (approx. 120000-150000 Lire per hour) but who can come to Venice for a romantic break without taking a trip in a gondola? The gondoliers are native-born Venetians with a 10yr apprenticeship behind them, so you’ll be in very capable hands.

St Mark’s Square.
The most famous square in Venice, this expansive, pigeon filled piazza is bordered by museums, famous 18th cafes such as Florian’s and Quadri and some of the most stunning architecture of the city. Once described by Napoleon as the finest drawing room in Europe, St Mark’s Square is indeed a unique place to visit. On one side of the square is the beautifully intricate Basilica di San Marco with it’s glittering Medieval mosaics whilst the landmark Campanile protectively towers over all. A stone’s throw away from the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, St Mark’s Square really is the beating heart of the city.

Grand Canal.
The S-shaped Grand Canal, otherwise known as the 'finest street in the world', is the largest and most important water route in Venice. With countless bridges, each with it’s own unique tale to tell, this 4km long landmark waterway is lined with palaces and that used to house the Venetian patricians. Teeming with gondolas, water taxis and vaporetti there are multiple ways to view the Grand Canal and take in the countless sights that lie along it.

Rialto Bridge.
The Rialto Bridge is to Venice as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris – a veritable symbol of the city. The decorative 16th century bridge arches over the Grand Canal and is one of the major tourist hotspots of Venice. The bridge brims with market stalls and street vendors selling souvenirs, carnival masks, clothes, leatherwork and much more. The bustling street markets spill out on either side of the canal as the whole area throngs with people.

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