Venice is a city in northeastern Italy, built on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. It is famous for its rich history, art, culture, architecture, and beauty. Venice was a major maritime power and a center of commerce and trade in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It was also the birthplace of many influential artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers, such as Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Vivaldi, Goldoni, Casanova, and Marco Polo.
What is Venice Known For?
Venice is also famous for its unique urban layout and transportation system. The city is divided into six districts called sestieri, each with its own character and attractions. The main waterway of the city is the Grand Canal, which curves through the heart of Venice and is lined with magnificent palaces and churches. The most iconic way to travel in Venice is by gondola, a traditional flat-bottomed boat steered by a gondolier. Other modes of transport include water buses (vaporetti), water taxis, and traghetti (ferries).
Venice is also famous for its festivals and events, such as the Carnival of Venice, a colorful celebration of masks and costumes that dates back to the 11th century; the Venice Biennale, a prestigious exhibition of contemporary art that takes place every two years; the Venice Film Festival, the oldest film festival in the world and part of the Venice Biennale; and the Regata Storica, a historical boat race that features a parade of decorated boats and rowers in traditional costumes.
Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited cities in the world. It attracts millions of tourists every year who come to admire its beauty, culture, and romance. Venice is a city that inspires wonder and awe, and it is truly one of a kind.
Famous Drinks in Venice
Venice has a long tradition of drinking and socializing, especially in its numerous bars and taverns called bacari. Here, locals and visitors can enjoy a variety of drinks, from wine to liqueurs to cocktails. Some of the most famous drinks in Venice are:
- Spritz: This is the quintessential Venetian drink, a refreshing mix of white wine or prosecco, sparkling water, and a bitter liqueur such as Aperol, Campari, or Select. The spritz is usually served with ice and a slice of orange or lemon, and it is perfect for an aperitif or a hot summer day.
- Bellini: This is another classic Venetian drink, invented by Giuseppe Cipriani at Harry’s Bar in 1948. It consists of prosecco and peach puree or juice, creating a delicate pink color that reminded Cipriani of a painting by Giovanni Bellini. The bellini is a sophisticated and elegant drink that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
- Sgroppino: This is a delicious dessert drink that originated in Venice as a palate cleanser between courses. It is made with lemon sorbet, vodka, and prosecco, whisked together until frothy. The sgroppino is light and refreshing, with a sweet and sour taste.
- Grappa: This is a strong distilled spirit made from grape pomace (the leftover skins, seeds, and stems after winemaking). Grappa has been produced in Italy since the Middle Ages, and it is especially popular in the Veneto region. Grappa can be clear or aged in wooden barrels, resulting in different colors and flavors. Grappa can be drunk neat or mixed with coffee or chocolate.
- Caffè corretto: This is a typical Italian way of drinking coffee with a twist. It consists of an espresso “corrected” with a shot of grappa or another liquor such as brandy or sambuca. The caffè corretto is usually consumed after a meal as a digestive aid.
Famous Sports in Venice
Venice may not be known as a sports destination, but it does have some interesting sports activities that reflect its history and culture. Some of the most famous sports in Venice are:
- Venetian rowing: This is a traditional way of rowing that dates back to the origins of Venice. It involves standing up on the boat and using one oar to propel and steer it. Venetian rowing requires skill and balance, as well as knowledge of the tides and currents of the lagoon. Venetian rowing can be practiced on different types of boats, such as gondolas, sandoli (smaller gondolas), pupparini (racing boats), or caorline (cargo boats).
- Regattas: These are boat races that take place throughout the year in Venice. The most famous one is the Regata Storica (Historical Regatta), which occurs on the first Sunday of September. It features a parade of historical boats and costumes, followed by several races of different categories and distances. The most prestigious race is the one between the gondoliers, who compete for the golden oar. Other regattas include the Vogalonga (Long Row), a 30-kilometer non-competitive race that attracts thousands of participants from all over the world; and the Festa della Sensa (Feast of the Ascension), a religious and historical celebration that commemorates the marriage of Venice and the sea.
- Football: This is the most popular sport in Italy, and Venice has its own football team called Venezia FC. The team was founded in 1907 and currently plays in Serie B, the second-highest division in the Italian league system. The team’s home stadium is the Pierluigi Penzo, located on the island of Sant’Elena, near the Giardini della Biennale. The stadium is accessible by boat and has a capacity of about 7,000 spectators.
- Golf: This is a sport that can be enjoyed in Venice thanks to the Venice Golf Club, located on the island of Lido. The club was established in 1930 and has an 18-hole course that is considered one of the best in Italy. The course is surrounded by nature and offers views of the lagoon and the sea. The club also has a restaurant, a bar, and a pro shop.
Famous Streets in Venice
Venice has a labyrinth of streets that can be confusing but also fascinating to explore. Some of the most famous streets in Venice are:
- Calle Larga XXII Marzo: This is the main shopping street in Venice, where you can find luxury boutiques, jewelry stores, art galleries, and antique shops. The street runs from Piazza San Marco to Campo Santo Stefano, passing by some elegant palaces and churches. Some of the famous brands that have their stores here include Prada, Gucci, Armani, Versace, and Cartier.
- Strada Nova: This is the longest and widest street in Venice, stretching for about one kilometer from Campo Santi Apostoli to Campo San Felice. The street was created in the 19th century by demolishing some buildings and widening some canals. The street is lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, and hotels, and it is always busy with locals and tourists. The street also offers some interesting sights, such as the Ca’ d’Oro (Golden House), a Gothic palace that houses an art museum; and the Chiesa di Santa Sofia (Church of Saint Sophia), one of the oldest churches in Venice.
- Calle Varisco: This is one of the narrowest streets in Venice, measuring only 53 centimeters at its narrowest point. The street is located in Cannaregio, near the Fondamenta Nuove. The street is so narrow that only one person can pass at a time, and it has a sign that warns visitors to watch their heads. The street is named after a noble family that lived there in the 15th century.
- Fondamenta Zattere: This is a long promenade that runs along the southern edge of Dorsoduro, facing the Giudecca island. The promenade was built in the 16th century as a landing place for timber (zattere means rafts) that was used for shipbuilding and construction. The promenade is popular for walking, cycling, or relaxing by the water. It also has some notable buildings, such as the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione (Church of Saint Mary of the Visitation), also known as La Pietà, where Vivaldi worked as a music teacher; and the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Rosario (Church of Saint Mary of the Rosary), also known as Gesuati, which has a splendid Baroque facade and interior.
FAQs about Venice
Here are some frequently asked questions about Venice:
- How do I get around Venice? The best way to get around Venice is by foot or by water. You can walk through the streets and bridges that connect different parts of the city, or you can take a water bus (vaporetto), a water taxi, or a gondola to travel along the canals. You can also rent a bike or a kayak to explore some areas of Venice.
- What are some must-see attractions in Venice? Some of the must-see attractions in Venice include Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), where you can admire St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s Campanile (Bell Tower), and Doge’s Palace; Rialto Bridge, one of the oldest and most famous bridges in Venice; Canal Grande (Grand Canal), the main waterway of Venice that offers stunning views of palaces and churches; Murano, Burano, and Torcello islands, where you can see glassmaking, lace-making.