The Mystical Charm of Venice: City of Canals

Venice: One of the World’s Most Unique Destinations

Venice italy
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Visitors to Venice enjoy savoring the centuries-old architecture and one of the world’s best art scenes. This vibrant city of canals is a perfect mixture of ancient and modern.

Venice is the most well-known water-based metropolitan location in Europe. This city’s sea location has enabled it to dominate the maritime world for over a thousand years.

Interesting Historical Details

Church of San Giacomo inVenezia, Italy
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Historians and archaeologists usually date the city’s founding to 421 A.D., when residents constructed the San Giacomo church. The construction of the city’s first church spurred population growth that persists today.

One of the things setting this city apart from its neighbors is its existence and reliance on a canal system. The maritime location has contributed to the city’s wealth over the years, giving it iconic status.

The city of Canals has a unique architectural style known as Venetian Gothic. Besides the signature Gothic style, important influences include Byzantine and Moorish elements, demonstrating the importance of multiple cultures that have left their mark over the years.

Buildings dating to the 13th through 16th centuries have the strongest Gothic influences. The Baroque style that arose in the 17th century is also present in much of the architecture.

A Strong Artistic Heritage

Projection of the artwork Amor Sacro and Amor Profano (about 1515) by Tiziano Vecellio (1488 / 90-1576). Promoted by Roma Capitale in collaboration with Zetema Progetto Cultura on the façade of Palazzo Braschi and Palazzo Pamphilj, the 'AmoR, che move ...' project by the Capitoline Superintendency curated by Arch. Livia Cannella, projects 14 artistic works of Roman Renaissance paintings .
Image: Maria Laura Antonelli/AGF/Shutterstock, Shutterstock

One of Venice’s most well-known artists was Tiziano Vecellio, also called Titian. His birthdate was 1488-1490, and his death date was 1576.

Titian was one of Venice’s most versatile painters, gifted with landscapes and portraits. This painter also created religious artwork.

Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto, lived from 1515 to 1594. Tintoretto was one of the Renaissance school artists famous for creating murals.

Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, was born in 1697 and died in 1768. Canaletto’s paintings received great renown for their Venetian city views.

Façade of the Gallerie dell'Accademia, a museum gallery of pre-19th-century art in Venice, northern Italy
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The Gallerie dell’Accademia has a collection of Venetian works dating through the 18th century. Artists represented in this museum include:

  • Bellini
  • Canaletto
  • da Vinci
  • Tintoretto
  • Titian

The Museum of 18th Century Venice has a unique location in a former palace called Ca’ Rezzonico. This building dates back to 1756 and has been a museum since 1936.

This museum has a water entrance suited to a city of canals, along with an entrance accessed on foot. The works include paintings and sculptures housed in rooms with wall and ceiling frescoes as we as period furniture.

Murano, the island famous for its blown glass, is a top destination for art enthusiasts. Visitors may arrange a trip through their hotel or use a public boat option.

At the factories, you can watch the artisans making their creations. One of the best things about buying from a factory is the option of having your purchase shipped to your home.

A City of Old Churches

decorated portal of St Mark's Basilica in Venice
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The city’s most well-known church, the Basilica of San Marco, saw its consecration in 1094. This church’s Byzantine-style facade reached completion in the 13th century.

Gilded mosaics on the interior have made this church a famous landmark. This church’s patron, Saint Mark the Evangelist, represented as a winged lion with a Bible, is the city’s symbol.

Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is famous as the burial place of the artist Titian. Two of this painter’s most famous works are in this church, a fitting tribute to his artistry.

Madonna dell ‘Orto was Tintoretto’s favorite church and the location of his famed murals. The church is the burial site of the artist, his wife, and his children.

San Lio, a church dating to the 9th century, is Canaletto’s burial site. This church contains artwork by Titian, Giandomenico Tiepolo, and Jacopo Palma il Giovane. Just make sure to respect their customs and practice travel etiquette when visiting these holy landmarks.

Gondolas and Life on the Canal

Gondolas sailing on a canal in venice italy
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Venice enjoys UNESCO World Heritage Site status, which plays a role in preserving the city’s character. The city of canals’ historic center, Centro Storico, is filled with life today, boasting a population of 55,000.

As many as 60,000 visitors pass through the city daily. This area is bicycle, car, and motorcycle-free, making it one of Italy’s most walkable.

Although going through this area on foot is exciting, traveling through the canals by boat is an unforgettable way to experience the sights. There are over 400 bridges in the city, reflecting the local architectural influences.

The Grand Canal, the city’s main waterway, has four bridges providing a pathway over the water. One of the most famous bridges is the Rialto Bridge, constructed in 1591.

Venice Gondola Ride
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Some of the most iconic sights in Venice are the gondolas, with their operators in straw hats and striped shirts. The men and women operating these boats point out interesting historic sites on the route and sing to their passengers.

The gondolas primarily traverse the narrower, less crowded canals. However, some operators prefer the Grand Canal and Adriatic Sea-facing lagoon.

Tourists who want to travel the Grand Canal may want to try the vaporettos, water buses that stop at popular attractions. There are water taxis that visitors may take to see some of the attractions.

Anyone who has yet to see Venice will enjoy the unique art and architecture with many cultural influences when they make their trip. Your visit will be worth the time spent in this city of canals.

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