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HERE in Venice: great public transit destinations

The floating city is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, so for those yet to experience its serpentine waterways, stunning architecture and rich history, we have taken a look at its most alluring destinations, all accessible using the city’s public transit system.

Piazza San Marco - Basilica di San Marco/ Doge’s Palace/ Torre dell’Orologio

Marco-2

A hub of activity, Piazza San Marco offers visitors the chance to take in three of the city’s major sights in one go. Accessible via vaporetto, the city’s waterbus service and main source of transportation, travelers can hop aboard the No.1 along the city’s main waterway, which makes several stops on the way to the Piazza San Marco.

Stepping off the waterway and onto the Piazza, many tourists are struck by both the sheer number of pigeons (seriously, they are legion), and the beauty of the surrounding buildings. First, we have St Mark’s basilica (Basilica di San Marco), arguably he most famous of the city’s churches and one which highlights Venice’s links with the Byzantine Empire through its extravagant architecture.

Adjacent to the basilica is Doge’s Palace, a gothic palace which has been transformed into a museum, housing several exhibitions and offering visitor’s the chance to explore the inside of this beautiful, daunting structure. Once the residence of the Doge (ruler of Venice), the palace was the then hub of political activity in the city.

Finally, there is the Torre dell’Orologio, a clock tower situated on the north side of the Piazza San Marco. One of the most famous landmarks in Venice, the clock tower stands over the arch leading to Venice’s main shopping street and stands as a testament to venetian architecture. Even after 500 years, the Torre dell’Orologio remains one of Venice’s best-loved spots.

The Grand Canal

Canal

Here is a venetian treat that can only really be experienced via public transport (unless you own a boat, in which case – congratulations). In-fact, you can travel the Grand Canal en-route to Piazza San Marco via the No.1 route mentioned above.

The Grand Canal is the city’s main thoroughfare, splitting the city into two main parts and teeming with gondolas, vaporetto and private water taxis. Lining the canals are majestic palaces which have no pedestrian access (ideal to keep the riff raff out), while the waterway once held a bustling marketplace.

Indeed, traveling the Grand Canal gives tourists the chance to imagine how Venice once was – a beautiful city where the segregation of rich and poor was pronounced.

Bridge of Sighs

Ponte-1

The delightfully named Bridge of Sighs (or, Ponte dei Sospiri) is the most famous bridge in a city bursting with them. The moniker was bestowed upon the bridge as it was thought to be prisoners’ last sight of the free world before imprisonment, and they would utter a sigh at its beauty. While the myth has since been dispelled, its beauty remains intact.

Now, the bridge remains a favorite spot for tourists to gawp at and couples to glide underneath on gondolas, with another legend stating that those who do will fall in love forever.

If such saccharine prophecies turn your stomach, then please don’t be put off visiting the bridge, which is both beautiful and historically significant – it connected the halls of the courts between the aforementioned Doge’s Palace and the new prison.

Visible from only two locations – Canonica Bridge and Ponte della Paglia – visitors can gain access to these by taking the vaporetto to Piazza San Marco, and simply following the crowds to one of the most famous spots in Venice.

Gallerie dell'Accademia

Gallerie-1

If you’re eager to avoid the crowds, or if you’ve noticed a small child running around in a red mac, it’s probably best to step away from the shadowy streets of Venice and into one of its most famous museums.

The Gallerie dell'Accademia contains a huge collection of pre-19th century Venetian paintings, including Byzantine, gothic and Renaissance works. The gallery, situated on the north bank of the Grand Canal and near the Accademia Bridge, is (surprise!) reachable by waterbus, with Line 1 and Line 2 each taking travelers to different drop-off points near the gallery.

A beautiful building (it was once the city’s art academy), this is definitely a worthwhile stop if you tire of the rush of the crowd or the sight of sickeningly happy couples canoodling on gondolas.

Have you visited Venice? Where would you recommend to visit? Let us know in the comments below. 

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