Venice, Italy is a magical city of canals and bridges, built originally to avoid invading barbarians, but today a near perfect preservation of art and architecture. This sanctuary on the lagoon is virtually the same as it was five hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character of the city.
Because Venice is on a lagoon, the water plays a crucial role in transportation. The most popular way to approach Venice is by boat or train.
The closest airport is the one near Mestre on the mainland, and industrial city without much charm in itself.
Trains from the mainland run through Mestre and to the Santa Lucia train station on the west side of Venice. From here, vaporettos or private boats can take you to hotels or other locations on the island.
Since there are no cars allowed (or even possible) on Venice, this is not an option.
Boats are the "cars" of Venice, which gives it much of its charm. There are vaporettos which are the public water taxis, and they run along the banks of the Grand Canal. They offer a bit of excitement as they don't truly "dock" as much as pull up along the platform, requiring passengers to leap precariously across the gap. There are also private water taxis that work the same way as a automobile taxis.
Otherwise, take a walk! The city is not that big, and you can walk from one end to the other in a few hours, and along the way discover the marvelous art and architecture around every corner.
Many times a week, there are musical concerts featuring music of the composers who called Venice home. Especially popular are performances of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. What better experience than listening to the music in the same halls where Vivaldi himself visited.
Venice still has some residents who work in non-tourism industries, but these are quite few today.
The city is well known for its artisans and artwork. Visitors are drawn to its glasswork and its decorative Venetian masks.
Venice is packed with wonderful restaurants, featuring cuisine of the Veneto. Specialties include polenta, made of corn meal; risotto with cuttlefish ink sauce; .
Around the Ventian lagoon are other smaller islands, which have since been deserted but are worth a visit. There is also the Lido, which is a long narrow island with more modern buildings, hosting a youth hostel and a hotel.