Dream Destinations – Venice

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By now you will have noticed that we have a strong desire to explore Italy with some of our featured Dream Destination posts focusing on Pompeii and Rome. Keeping in this same tradition, our next location in this series is the romantic city of Venice.

I am sure we all associate this part of Italy with a romantic gondola ride down the Grand Canal but of course there is so much more to do in Venice and hopefully this will give you a few more ideas of attractions worth exploring when you plan your trip there.

Here are some of the top reasons we want to visit Venice.

Grand Canal

Image courtesy of nanosmile (Reinhard Jahn, Mannheim.) (please use this discussion page) (Own work) [CC-BY-2.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of nanosmile (Reinhard Jahn, Mannheim.) (please use this discussion page) (Own work) [CC-BY-2.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Ok so I mentioned that Venice is the stereotypical city of romance especially when you see in all those movies the gondola rides drifting along the river but the reality is that not all of these trips along the Grand Canal are all that romantic. But one thing for sure is that taking a ride along the Grand Canal is quintessential Venice and is an iconic representation of this beautiful city.

Not only is this a must in terms of experiencing a true gondola, but this is actually one of the best methods of public transportation to get around the city and see some of the amazing attractions that Venice has to offer. The myriad of buildings and bridges that ooze architectural genius are all visible on a gondola ride along the Grand Canal, so I would urge anyone visiting Venice to take advantage of this great service.

Piazza San Marco

Image courtesy of Janmad (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Janmad (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Piazza San Marco is the heart of Venice and is where all of the day to day business, relaxation and mingling takes place for locals and tourists. The piazza is lined with local cafes, shops and bistros along with a variety of museums that offer visitors with a perfect hangout spot.  At the heart of the Piazza San Marco is the central focal point – St. Mark’s Basilica which was commissioned in the late 11th century.

Another interesting spectacle in this piazza is that it is a hub for pigeons which is great for capturing a great nature shot as they fly by the gorgeous architecture but of course it is also a problem for maintaining the square. Only recently has Venice passed a law where feeding the pigeons is prohibited and attempts have been made to control the pigeon population though with little success. So for now, it’s a case of nature and humans coinciding together and I personally think this just adds to the beauty of the Piazza San Marco.

Rialto Bridge

Image courtesy of Gary Houston (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Gary Houston (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
One of four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge is the most popular of all due its gorgeous design that also makes this the most visited and photographed of all bridges throughout Venice.

The Rialto Bridge connects the districts of San Marco and San Polo and in the past this was a popular spot for local merchants whereas nowadays it is densely populated with tourists flocking to capture a perfect photograph from this iconic landmark!

Venetian Lagoon

Image courtesy of Piero d'Houin dit Inocybe (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Piero d’Houin dit Inocybe (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Venetian Lagoon is an enclosed bay within the Adriatic Sea that Venice is part of. This lagoon comprises of a series of islands, the most popular being Murano which is linked by a series of bridges. These countless numbers of islands are all situated in close proximity but Murano along with Burano and Torcello are the most significant due to their beauty that portrays the Venetian lifestyle.

Murano in particular is famous for being the ‘Glass Island’ as one of the primary industries here is glass making that has taken place in this location for over 700 years.

Bridge of Sighs

Image courtesy of Sean William (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Sean William (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Another of the infamous bridges in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs which passes over the Rio di Palazzo. Connecting the New Prison to the Doge’s Palace, it was designed and constructed in 1600. The name derives from the thought that prisoners would give a last minute sigh as they took in the gorgeous views of Venice, before being taken down to their cells.

***This post is part of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge (#DreamDestinations #AtoZChallenge)***


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Chris Boothmanhttps://abritandasoutherner.com
Chris Boothman is the co-founder of A Brit and A Southerner. Born near Manchester, England, Chris moved to USA in 2006 where he soon after met his wife and travel partner in crime, Heather. They have since embarked on an amazing journey of travel as they challenge others to follow in their paths of working full-time but also being able to travel frequently! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Chris at [email protected]


  1. Venice is by far one of the most amazing and magical cities we have ever visited! The scenery and feeling throughout the city is simply like none other. Make sure to visit during Carnivale for an extra special experience!

    • Great point there Jeff! During my research on Venice I noticed that a lot of folks indicated that going there during Carnivale added a completely different and unique dimension to Venice, all in a positive way of course. I think the Italian flair throughout Venice just shines through and the fact that the architecture around the city is so beautiful just added to the value of this destination.

  2. I have been to Italy several times since it is one of my favorite countries in Europe. Quick tip for Venice: use the water taxis. They are a lot cheaper than the gondolas and you see the same view. I always think that public transport is one of the best ways to get to know the locals and local culture. I hope you both make it to Italy and Venice soon. As a proud Venetian told me and it is very true: “Venice is like an open air museum”.

  3. We love Italy, in fact if I had my choice I would move there, I just need to work on Paul! We are heading to Italy later this summer (not wanting to make you jealous promise! ) and Venice is on this list although we have been several times before. Its a city that we love and keep going back to time and time again – if fact we have visited here more than any other city in the world. 🙂

  4. Venice is wonderful, really unique. We struggled as backpackers because it is not cheap by any means and after a few days we were ready to move on, however I really believe it is one of those must-see places 🙂

  5. A lot of people in my expat group seem to be planning Venice trips in the near future. I wish we could go. I dream of staying at the Hilton on the canal there.

    Still don’t have my summer trip planned and these pictures might sway me (as from where we live, we could do a stopover on the way to Croatia or Slovenia).

  6. Great destinations to visit at any time of the year. We live close by and go there often. We keep going back there for the beauty, but also for their tasty bites (cicchetti) and wonderful prosecco.

    • Cheers Megan! I just commented on another response and want to emphasize how I think many European cities in general are so great to ‘get lost’ in as you referred to. You just never know what hidden gem you may come across and that’s the beauty of wandering off the mainstream routes.

    • Of course it is one of the ultimate destinations throughout Europe for relaxation! The beauty throughout this city is mind-boggling in many respects as everywhere you look there is either a piece of architecture or something that oozes beauty.

    • I think that wandering around the back streets is so stereotypical of many European cities. Whilst we were in Paris over Christmas 2013, that was one of the most enjoyable experiences to just walk around those back alleys and see the little bistros and cafes. So relaxing and entertaining!

  7. We have just returned from Venice! It’s our second trip there – the first time was in freezing temperatures – so this time we really got to wander and enjoy it. I think your list is great and really sums up the main attractions. I would add getting masks!! There are crazy masks in countless shops all over Venice and we couldn’t resist buying some and having fun around the streets. It’s a gorgeous city.

  8. I live nearby and and pass through and stop about 4-5 times a year – these days mainly to catch art exhibits. It’s very difficult to avoid the crowds, which are now getting a bit out of hand with the increase in cruise ship traffic, particularly in warmer months. That said, it’s a great city. 🙂

  9. Stunning shots…I wonder how the pigeon feeding ban is going in reality sometime laws never stop determined old ladies who have always done something. Thanks for sharing.

    • Definitely agree with you there Michele! I highly doubt the pigeon ban is really making much of an impact. Old habits die hard right 🙂

  10. The last time I went to Venice (July 2016) there was a noticeable lack of pigeons, which shows that the banning of pigeon feed sellers is working. Not sure if this adds or detracts from the trip, but the restaurant owners seemed a lot happier about it!

    Ann, if you haven’t already, go to Slovenia! I’m moving there in a few weeks and will definitely be a regular visitor to Venice as it’s a short trip over the mountains to get there and easy as a day trip.


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