The Grand Canal,
Founded on merchant trade, ship building, luxury goods, silk and glass, Venice has always been a gracious host to visitors. This city of 60,000 is made up of a series of 100+ islands with almost 200 canals and over 400 bridges, plus a tidal lagoon protected by a series of sandbars (called the Lido). Give yourself at least a week to get the feel for the place, the art, the history, the amazing Byzantine architecture – and the Venetians themselves.
Getting around is easier than you would think: The transit gondolas (tragettos) get the Venetians where they’re going for 1 Euro. On foot, it will take you about one hour to walk from one end of Venice to the other. But you’ll need nourishment: Venetians pause at 11 each morning at their local cichetti bar for a light snack. Other must-eats include incredible fresh seafood and salt cod, fritto misto (deep-fried seafood and vegetables) and mostarda (stewed, candied fruit with a mustard syrup that you eat with cheese and biscuits). Keep an eye out for the early Renaissance, white marble-clad Santa Maria dei Miracoli, built in the 1480s. And keep the other eye out for ghosts: Mystery walks arm and arm with the romance here. Visit Venice-Tourism.com.