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Video:Tips for Visiting Venice

with Jonathon Stewart

Learn the best tips for visiting Venice before you go so that you don't miss any important must-sees.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Visiting Venice

Venice, Italy is known as one of the most romantic and unique cities in the world. Before you go, here are a few tips that are sure to help point you in the right direction. Which, in Venice, is no easy task.

Information About Visiting Venice

Venice began as a lagoon with many small islands where many sought refuge from the barbarians tied to the Roman Empire rule. The Venetians began to develop their own culture, based on sailing and the merchant trade. Eventually becoming a rich and noble city, Venice was soon known as the place to seek funding for the crusades. However, over the centuries, Venice lost its power base due to many invasions. Now, it relies on the tourist trade to keep it afloat. And, as a tourist, you most likely want to take in all that the city has to offer in terms of art, architecture, and its intricate maze of canals and winding streets. But first, you've got to get there.

What to Know About Visiting Venice

Most major U.S. cities offer flights to Venice on a direct or connecting flight. You will fly into Marco Polo Airport, which is quite small and can get very busy. Flights out of Venice on your return home should ideally be booked for very early in the morning or in the evening. To get to your hotel or cruise ship, there are transport companies that you can book in advance like Viator.com or VeniceLink.com.

Visiting Venice

One of the best times of the year to visit is in the late spring or early fall. These tend to be quieter with fewer crowds than the busy summers. The weather is also better. It is not as humid and there are fewer mosquitoes.While out and about be sure to explore many of Venice's interesting neighborhoods and historic sites. Some places not to miss include St. Mark's Cathedral, Piazza San Marco, Bridge of Sighs, the Grand Canal and Doge's Palace. Other sights not to miss include glass-blowing demonstrations on Murano Island, enjoying the brightly colored buildings of Burano Island, and escaping the crowds by communing with nature on Torcello Island.

And, if you enjoy the culinary experiences, sample the gelato and visit the gourmet Rialto Market for new tastes and flavors. One tourist trap not to miss is seeing the city is by gondola, especially if it's at sunset. Gondoliers are the best guides you'll meet, and the best ones come from a long line of skilled oarsmen before them. You can book a gondola ahead through many companies or your hotel (although you will pay more), and be prepared to also pay more at night.

Finally, be sure to pick up a map, which may be your sole saving grace when wandering the streets of this city of wonders, with its winding roads and abrupt ends.Or, just wander until you find your hotel, or a good restaurant, or maybe even your future spouse. I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.
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