Venice

Definitely be on deck for your grand entry into Venice. The ‘bride of the sea’ is almost awash in a stunning surfeit of incredible architecture, from the cool, Palladian pomp and majesty of the Doge’s Palace, to the perfect, magnificent sprawl of St. Mark’s Square, once described by Napoleon as ‘the most perfect drawing room in Europe’.

Definitely see the impassive, magisterial might of Santa Maria Della Salute, and the simple, gracefully tapering spire of the Campanile, the soaring bell tower that looms high above the city skyline. Take an early afternoon coffee in Piazza San Marco, as a full orchestra swings lushly through a Strauss waltz, and scores of fattened pigeons flock in droves across a duck egg blue Venetian sky.

Venice is a city laced and threaded by a spiders’ web of intricate canals, vaulted by bridges and bordered by tall, pastel coloured houses with paint peeling slowly in the fading light.

See the tiny, hugely evocative Bridge of Sighs as you take a motor boat or a gondola along the glistening, sun dappled expanse of the city’s ancient waterways. You have time for a bellini at the legendary Harry’s Bar, or a delicious hot chocolate at the famous Cafe Florian, dating back to medieval times.

As far as shopping goes, the local Murano glass is world famous. There are creations every bit as beautiful, colourful and fragile as any butterfly, and the legendary carnival masks on sale almost everywhere in the city are world famous.

For something really different, you could even go to the beach. Venice Lido is easily reached by one of the water buses from any of the main stops along the route. This is where many of the scenes from Death In Venice were filmed. There’s a beautiful, sweeping beach lined with private cabanas and deck chairs, pedal bikes for hire, and row after row of umbrella shaded restaurants flanking the beach. It looks and feels like a different city entirely.

Venice is a grand, slowly decaying sweep of monumental buildings, long, winding canals and moody cello soloists, flooding the air at sunset with wistful melodies as small ferries and local boats race up and downstream like maddened water beetles. Once seen, always savoured; a destination that stays with you forever.

Getting around: You can take the overhead people mover from the dock to Piazza San Marco for one euro. Allow twenty minutes walk in the dock area. Alternatively, you can take a water bus into town, but this is more expensive.

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