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Basic information

  • Area: 414.57 km² (160.1 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +3941
  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
  • Population (EST): 270,660
  • Official language: Italian
  • Time Zone: CET (UTC+1)

Venice – Overview

Famed throughout the World for its Canals, Venice is an archipelago of around 118 islands and where other cities rely on roads for transportation, Venice relies on, in the region of 150 canals. The canals also mean that the city is safe for pedestrians, as you can only cross to the other side on bridges or boats and are not tempted to cross at unsafe points.

Another aspect of Venice known around the world is the Carnival of Venice, first held around 1268, since its inception colourful and elegant masks have been a constant feature. After 1798 the carnival began to decline and it was not until the 1970’s that it saw a revival. The Carnival begins on February 2nd and finishes on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

The carnival is not the only long running event in Venice. The Venice Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica) was started in 1932 and is the World’s oldest celebration of cinematography.

Venice and its mainland are particularly rich of museums and historical buildings of great artistic and cultural importance. Here you can visit a wide variety of museums, churches and palaces.

During the 18th century Venice was a part of the Grand Tour, which in loose terms was an educational journey for young wealthy British noblemen. During the tour they would become acquainted with the aristocracy and fashionable society of Europe, as well as the Renaissance and cultural artefacts of olden times.

Between 697 AD and 1797 the ruler of Venice was known as the Doge, which to all intents and purposes was an elected Monarch. To this day the Doges Palace is one of the most visited attractions in the city, along with the Bridge of Sighs or Ponte dei Sospiri, which connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace.

Venice has over many years been a been popular setting for writers, authors and film makers from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice to Ian Fleming’s James Bond series and films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

The city is a must for food lovers no matter what their tastes or appetites; tasting the dishes of the local cuisine you can discover the beauty of a tradition and culture! Beginning with a 'classic' such as spaghetti with clams - on to stronger tastes with the 'sarde in saor', finishing with some typical Carnival sweets.

To think of Venice as only being the city, is to limit you to the city alone, when there is also much to be explored outside of the city. The Venice lagoon is one of the most important moist earth's in Europe and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From north east to south west it shows a tangled schema of large and narrow channels, islands and sandbanks where hundreds of bird species spend the winter. The boat is the best way to discover its wonderful places.

For first time visitors to Venice, guided tours are a great way to learn about the city and its history in a relatively short time.