Venice, Italy

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VENICE: “It’s like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go”.  The city of love, and, some say, the Jewel in the Italian Crown – more beautiful and surprising than imagined and, without doubt, the most enchanting of cities. Built on a myriad of tiny islands in the Adriatic, Venice appears to rise up out of the sea and despite all the pictures/films you have seen, the expected is completely unexpected. The Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs, Doges Palace, St Marks Square, Gondoliers in striped jerseys – WOW! The Grand Canal snakes through the city, which is a treasure trove of narrow alleys and small squares – a delight to explore, so do so at leisure and stumble upon tiny shops … pastry, coffee, chocolate shops and more, in seemingly deserted alleyway, and if you should get lost, don’t worry for you will discover delightful treasures during the escapade. The canal is the central hub - children being ferried to and from school, boats transporting everything from luggage to small cargo, post-office and police boats, vaporetto (water buses), gondola’s, water taxi’s – the buzz is tangible and magical. Rialto Bridge is the most famous bridge crossing the Grand Canal – join the crowds to stand and gaze along the canal as traffic flows underneath. Take the prerequisite, eye-wateringly expensive gondola ride and relish every sight and sound of Venice; Mingle with the crowds, the buskers and the pigeons on Piazza San Marco, but don’t stand too still or you may be mistaken for a statue to be perched on! The Campanile stands tall next to the Basilica San Marco and the Doges Palace, and a lift ride to the top rewards you with glorious views of the lagoon and the city. A walking tour of the Basilica and Doges Palace is a must – the opulence and history is unbelievable. Restaurants and shops surround the square, beckoning invitingly - indulge in tea and scones, or wine and snacks, at one of the restaurants, being guided to your table by a tuxedoed concierge, accompanied by live music gently serenading in the background; Enjoy some retail therapy, but linger in the Murano glass shops to be tempted by the exquisite colors and array of products on display; The Bridge of Sighs crosses the Palazzo Rio and provides one of the most famous scenes in Venice; The Rialto Fish market is a sight to behold and the selection of masks on offer around the city is astounding. Take a gentle excursion across the Adriatic to the islands of Murano and Burano to see glassmaking on Murano and lace-making on Burano, as well as the brightly colored houses the island is famous for. Did you know that requests to paint your house on Burano need Governmental approval? Venice … the name brings vivid images swirling around the mind – can you afford not to visit this City of cities? Is it on your “bucket list”?  It should be right at the top. Venice beckons, delights and doesn’t disappoint – it will be a highlight of your worldly travels