Enjoy the Enchantment & History of Venice, Italy
by Roy Witman © 2008
One of the most romantic cities in the world,
Venice is primarily dependent on the water that
intertwines throughout the town for transportation.
You could easily spend days on end just sightseeing
courtesy of a gondola. This is the only city in the world
built entirely on water. As you look around, you'll
quickly notice an abundance of gondolas, but no cars!
Filled with nightlife, Venice is famous for its
masquerade parties. Take time to attend local
festivals including the Venice Film Festival and the
ever-popular Carnival Masquerade Ball. While you're
there, be sure to visit St. Mark's Square, the hub of the
St. Mark's Square
Early in the morning, St. Mark's Square is
completely empty with the exception of those who
clean this majestic wonder. Even then, in the quiet of
the dawn, it is an awe-inspiring place to visit. An open-
air square set before ancient domed architecture
topped with numerous spires, St. Mark's Square is
positioned on the Grand Canal by a gondola pier
(“molo”). Its majestic Campanile (watchtower) takes
center stage with a height of 314 feet. With the quiet
crashing of the waves and the beautiful scenery, you
could simply sit and stare for hours.
However, once the crowds rush in, the square is
filled with sightseers who wander about, eat and feed
the famous pigeons. But don't be content to sit
outside in the square. Take the time to explore some
of the buildings.
Basilica di San Marco
Best viewed early in the day (before the lines
become too exasperating), Basilica di San Marco,
also known as St. Mark's Cathedral, is simply
stunning. Those visiting via cruise ship are advised to
book the earliest tour possible at your excursion
desk. Cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, offer a
variety of tours departing at different times.
The exterior alone is exceptional, but the interior is
not to be missed. With over 39,000 feet of gold
mosaics and artworks by Italian masters Titian and
Bellini, this church is spectacular.
Of course, no trip to Venice is complete without a
romantic gondola ride. Check with your tour guide or
the excursion desk of your cruise ship for details.
Royal Caribbean, among others, offers day and
evening gondola rides. These narrow, hand-painted
boats maneuver through the canals, giving you a
private tour of Venice up close and personal. If you're
lucky, you'll also have the pleasure of a serenade!
Carnival Masquerade Ball
After a day of sightseeing, you might choose a
change of pace. Get dressed to the nines and
participate in one of Venice's most celebrated events:
Carnival! Held in mid-February each year, many
cruise lines put on their own versions of Carnival. If
you're visiting Venice in wintertime, get in on the real
thing. Otherwise, flirt with your neighbor onboard ship
for an equally good time!
Curious, fun, enchanting and awe-inspiring,
Venice is a city most never forget once they've
experienced its wonder. When making your plans to
visit, splurge! Take in as many of the sights as time
allows. You'll cherish these memories forever!
Read more about European Cruises.
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