July 21, 2011

Venice: A honeymooner’s guide

While Paris may be the City of Light, Venice is the City of Romance.

And it is truly a delightful city to uncover. Narrow canals replace streets, with arched bridges connecting the honey-coloured stone buildings. Alleyways wind through the city like a maze, unexpectedly opening up into sunny piazzas with stone fountains and colourful flowers cascading over balconies.

The most breathtaking view of the waterscape in Venice is by the Grand Canal. The largest and widest of the canals in the city it is lined with Gothic buildings which date from the 13th to the 18th centuries.

One of the most striking attractions in Venice is Palazzo Ducale (the Doges' Palace). Built in a typically Byzantine style, it houses paintings by Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, which glorify the Venetian state. A tour of the palace gives you access to the famed Ponte dei Sospiri, or "Bridge of Sighs," which connects the Doge's prisons with the inquisitor's rooms in the main palace.

The palace neighbours the famous San Marco Square, thought to be one of the finest squares in the world. It boasts a number of famous cafes where visitors and Venetians alike enjoy the open-air atmosphere. While it is alive and brimming in the day with local vendors, restaurants, cafes and local artisan shops, it is magical by night when the square is alight.

The famed Harry’s Bar is nearby, where imbibing in a peach Bellini is on any tourist’s top 10 things to do, given the bar is the birthplace of the cocktail.

Ernest Hemingway was a frequent visitor, while the bar has also played host to Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Welles and the Princess Aspasia of Greece.

A visit to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a gondola ride. Once the main means of transportation for Venetian nobility, nowadays it’s only the tourists who enjoy this sedate and romantic way of roving the hidden canals that run through the heart of the city.

When to visit: Venice draws legions of tourists during the peak travel months of June through September, so consider timing your visit from October to April. You may encounter fog or a little rain during the winter months, but mild and sunny days are also common.

Stay at: Boutique Hotel Ca' Gottardi, Venice.

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