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Venice in love

Friday, April 05, 2013

Nobody arriving in Venice for the first time can really claim never to have seen this ‘Wonder of the World’ before: It has been described, sung about, shown in pictures and films so often that it has long made its way into the collective consciousness of Europe as a whole.

The palaces on the main canals with water lapping around them really look just as opulent and crumbling at the same time as they do in opulent coffee-table books and travel brochure.

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The Piazza San Marco, with the basilica of the same name at one end, is as chic and perfect in reality as it appears on film sets.

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After only walking for an hour or two through the labyrinth of small streets, squares and back courtyards you will start to realise that you are discovering much more than simply a city of exceptional architectural beauty with more priceless art treasures than any other.

No, here you will understand that it is necessary to try to capture the feeling of what is possibly the most wondrous city in the world with all your senses and, hopefully, at your leisure.  

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More than 15 million visitors from all over the world descend on this urban miracle every year and the contrasting feelings it produces gives you an idea of how multifaceted it is.

The melancholic, morbid atmosphere can be felt everywhere. A total of six districts – the so-called ‘Sixths’ (Italian: sestieri) – form the historical city centre (centro storico) and are surrounded by dozens of islands.

Some of them are still used for specific purposes – San Michele, for example, is the cemetery island, and Sant’Erasmo and Le Vignole the vegetable islands.

Not to forget the glassblowers’ island of Murano and the old episcopal see of Torcello with Burano, the lacemakers’ haven, in between, and the Lido, the narrow sandy promontory between the lagoon and open sea on the southern horizon.A lively restaurant and cabaret scene.

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 Thanks to Marco Polo Travel Guide.

 

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