Venice - The Arsenal
In the Veneto Region, in the waters of the Adriaticis one of the most evocative places in the world, a priceless treasure: the Venetian Lagoon.
At the heart of this precious heritage there is the Serenissima, with its characteristic brigdes spanning the canals where gondolas go back and forth, the monuments, the piazzas, and the narrow lanes and silent waters lapping at its feet.
Around Venice there is a group of fascinating small islands, where art and history combine with old trades and the beauty of the sea.
Sandy beaches washed by the Adriatic Sea characterise the main resorts which offer the visitors every kind of comfort for their holidays. The inland area is fascinating as well, with many paths make their way through the green scenery , along peaceful rivers, and pass through small towns rich in history and fabulous villas.
It is an area full of the exquisite flavours of its typical dishes and a precious “wine list”.
There are also many opportunities to have fun: outdoor sports, nightlife in the many glamorous night spots, and shopping in the typical crafts workshops to buy souvenirs.
Venice is elegant, precious, inimitable, entertaining, and romantic. It is a jewel of the Italian touristic landscape where churches, buildings, old bridges, monuments and piazzas are a record of the artistic and cultural vivacity that marks the history of this city.
The heart of Venice is the wonderful Piazza San Marco - the most elegant in Europe- surrounded by outstanding buildings: the impressive Bell tower and the Cathedral with its five portals with marble and mosaic decorations, an anticipation of the luxury and richness of the interiors; the Palazzo Ducale, a symbol of the golden age of the Serenissima; Torre dei Mori, known as Torre dell’Orologio (the clock tower), for the masterpiece of engineering that has been telling Venice the time for centuries; and the Ala Napoleonica, site of Correr Museum.
Not far away, is Campo Santo Stefano with the church of the same name, which is one of the biggest in Venice.
From the piazza the visitor can see the island of San Giorgio Maggiore and the high bell tower that rises from the monumental structure of the old Benedictine monastery, a masterpiece realised by important architectures of the time, including the renowned Andrea Palladio.
A real outdoor museum, that can be toured by boat or by gondola, along the Canal Grande, the main “street” of the city. It starts from Punta della Dogana, the old harbour of Serenissima with its peculiar triangular shape that is now, like Palazzo Grassi, a Contemporary Art Centre.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is another must see, exhibited in the Palazzo Venier de’ Leoni it is considered the most important collection of the 20th century. There are also other important museums: the Gallerie dell’Accademia, housed in the majestic structure of the Scuola Grande de la Carità that includes a church of the same name and a monastery; and Ca’ Rezzonico, one of the most beautiful buildings of the Renaissance, home of the Museo del Settecento Veneziano (museum of 1718th century Venice).
On the right bank of Canal Grande -accessible also by crossing the Ponte del Rialto - it is possible to reach the districts of San Polo, Santa Croce and Dorsoduro, where some of the most famous “campi” of Venice are surrounded by wonderful religious buildings and palaces: San Rocco, with one of the old Grandi Scuole di Venezia and the church dedicated to the Saint; the renowned Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, one of the most important Franciscan structures; San Polo; San Giacomo dall’Orio with the church of the same name at its centre which is decorated with wonderful venetian Renaissance artworks; San Sebastiano masterfully decorated by Paolo Veronese; San Pantalon; San Nicolò dei Mendicoli with one of the oldest churches of the city and Santa Maria della Salute.
From Piazza San Marco, crossing the renowned Ponte dei Sospiri - with a wonderful view of the lagoon - you reach the Castello district, rich in architectural and artistic masterpieces. The “campi” of Venice are historic piazzas, usually embellished with remarkable monuments in the middle, and dominated by impressive and wonderful religious buildings from where they take their names. In this sestiere (district) there are many interesting churches: the Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, where state funerals were held; the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli, a fabulous example of Renaissance architecture; the Chiesa di San Zaccaria; the Chiesa di San Giovanni in Bragora - considered one of the most beautiful churches in the city- and the Chiesa di Santa Maria Formosa, based on a design by Codussi.
Two further places that are well worth a visit along the same route are: the biggest Arsenal in the world, built in the 12th century, then extended thanks to the significant political and economic development of Venice; and the Scuola San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, which is home to some of the most beautiful paintings by Carpaccio. In Cannareggio, Campo della Madonna dell’orto is one of the last surviving examples of the ancient herringbone pattern paving, and its church of the same name, was decorated by the famous Tintoretto, and the Scuola dei Mercanti can also be found here. The Chiesa di San Giovanni Crisostomo Codussi’s last opus is another magnificent example of Renaissance architecture.
In the old Ca’ d’Oro building there is a precious art collection of venetian school pieces.
Venice is surrounded by a group of islands: Burano, renowned for the production of lace; Murano, for its glass making; Pellestrina, characterised by sandy dunes and cane thickets; and Torcello, one of the oldest human settlements in the area.
On the northern side of the Lagoon there are wonderful natural landscapes, with beaches that change colour depending on the sunlight, just like the Dolomites that have nourished, over the centuries, this beautiful coastline.
It is possible here to find some of the touristic jewels of the Province of Venice: Caorle, with its narrows alleys between pretty coloured houses; Jesolo, core of amusement and nightlife; Bibione, with its pinewood that reaches right down to the beach; Cavallino, the main European “open air” tourist destination.
Along the banks of the Brenta there are many sumptuous aristocratic venetian villas built between 1500 and 1700, symbol of Venetian wealth and prosperity of that time. Some of the best architects and painters of that period,such as Palladio and Pellegrini, designed these marvellous architectural works.
It is possible to find the same splendour in the around Mirano, in the Terre del Tiepolo, named in honour of this family of artists. This area witnessed a period of great cultural development during the Serenissima domination, when impressive villas and palaces were built, and today it is still possible to admire their magnificence.
The Province of Venice hosts, throughout the year, various events, festivals, feasts and cultural performances, some of them internationally renowned. One of the best attended events is the famous Carnevale di Venezia, an event full of art, music, amusement and ancient traditions.
In the carnival period, Piazza San Marco becomes a huge stage where versatile artists and gorgeous masks entertain in many different ways the “spectators” of this crazy and wonderful show.
Venice and the water: two indissoluble entities, two worlds that complement each other perfectly. Indeed,its waters are the theatre of many events. There are 120 boat races every year in the Venetian Lagoon; the oldest is also the most famous, the Regata Storica that every time captivates and excites tourists and locals alike. A parade of boats typical of the 16th century makes its way along the Canal Grande; there is also a real race of “voga alla veneta”: a special technique where the rower has to stand, and use one oar to propel and guide the boat at the same time.
For art and movie lovers there are two unmissable and prestigious events: the Biennale and the Venice Film Festival.
Venice and its lands, a cradle of history, art, culture and traditions. There are many ways to get to know the glorious past of the Serenissima: a boat tour on the Brenta or between the islands of the Lagoon, a walk through the narrow lanes of Venice and the nearby small sea towns, or an excursion into the natural surroundings.
You can also choose to go shopping in the typical crafts workshops and in elegant boutiques. The famous glass of Murano, the beautiful necklaces made with colourful pearls, the terracotta masks , the typical venetian desserts: these are some of the gifts you can get for yourself or for your family, as a souvenir of this unforgettable place.
This area also offers many opportunities to have fun. After a journey through the local history, you can relax in a bar or in a pub with your friends, have an aperitif with tasty snacks. If you are in Venice you cannot miss the bacari, typical venetian wine bars and taste exquisite cicheti (appetisers) with an ombra (glass) of wine.
For those who love a bit of nightlife there are many opportunities: you can let yourself go in one of the various discos or spend the night at the Casino of Venice, testing your luck at the green baize tables.
Sport lovers can choose from volleyball, beach-volley, petanque, beach tennis, surfing, waterskiing, sailing and paraflying at the beach resorts in the area. If you prefer to go deep into the nature, you can go to the WWF oasis of Valle Averto or to the Parco delle Giare to observe and take pictures of the characteristic fauna of these areas.
Veneto is a land of wines, in the Province of Venice there is the “Strada dei Vini dei Dogi” which will lead you to discover authentic flavours, with DOC certification.
Venetian gastronomy is generally defined as“ “frugal cuisine” not for its quality, but to underline its humble origins. Nowadays many of the typical recipes have been re-valued by great chefs and have become examples of culinary excellence, thanks to the delicacies obtained from the land and the sea.
The sea, an element that characterises the history of Venice, provides a lot of typical food: seafood, crabs, shellfish, sea bass, eels and oily fish. Moreover, it is possible to find the Moscardino of Caorle (eledone), the Schilla di Venezia (shellfish) and river crayfish, bred and fished in the venetian area since ancient times. White meats are also typical : goose (to make foie gras pâté), salami, sausages, ciccioli (pork), ham and speck ham.
The emblem of Venetian food has always been polenta, as a main course, as an appetiser or a side dish. The famous recipes are, in general, polenta with creamed codfish or polenta with “osei” (small birds wrapped with lard, sautéed with olive oil and sage).
After the polenta, the local cuisine’s main ingredient is rice. In Veneto this is served with broth (all’onda), and there are many recipes: with potatoes, pumpkin, chicory, nettles, etc.
Amongst the desserts are the famous dry biscuits such as baicoli, zaleti, fave alla veneziana, bussolai, sagagiardi, and exquisite cakes such as Nicolotta and Pinza. This exquisite food can be tasted with local wines such as Cabernet, Pinot, Verduzzo and Merlot.
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