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Venice

THE TRUE VALUE IN VENICE…..
The approach along the Guidecca Canal is stunning. Ancient, weathered bell towers and massive, marble domed cathedrals splinter the skyline. On the water below you, motor boats carrying everything from sightseers to fresh caught shelllfish bumble past you like maddened wasps. The early morning air is filled with the moody sighs of a plaintive cellist. It could only be Venice.

With time at a premium, you’ll want to concentrate on the best sights. St. Mark’s Square was described by Napoleon as ‘the finest drawing room in Europe’ and it’s easy to see why. It’s like a Canaletto brought vividly to life: the vast, imposing edifice of St. Mark’s Basilica and the cool, lofting elegance of the Campanile, or bell tower, stand out like random exclamation marks. Cafes throng the edges, with concerto orchestras filling the air. Swarms of fattened pigeons flood the evening sky at sunset, as the tourists go back to their hotels.
A gondola ride is, of course, a great way to glide along the spider’s web of canals that thread their way through this amazing sea city. Make sure you check the prices first, to be on the safe side.
Just off Saint Mark’s square, you can see the beautiful, magisterial sprawl of the Doge’s Palace, with its vaulting, colonnaded archways right on the water’s edge, and the famous, diminutive Bridge of Sighs, named for the prisoners who crossed it on their way to jail-or worse.

You have to try a Bellini while you’re here; it’s a delicious local confection of prosecco and peach juice. The famous Harry’s Bar is close to San Marco but, for the real thing, linger over a Bellini in the tranquil courtyard of the famous Danieli hotel. It’s like being in part of another world.

Perhaps take a water bus along the Grand Canal to get a bird’s eye view of the looming Italianate shops and restaurants that flank it along both flanks. Or, if time allows, you could even take a ride out to Venice Lido, with it’s gorgeous, honey coloured beach lined with bathing huts, beautiful rows of fragrant plane trees, and pretty pavement cafes washed by a warm breeze.

And don’t even think of leaving without trying the world’s best ice cream. Enjoy gelato as you window shop. Good buys include the local, exquisite Murano glass, as well as leather. Whatever you do in Venice, simply enjoy this sublime, scintillating sea city.

Getting around: Cruise ships dock at the top end of Venice. You can take the people mover (it’s about a ten minute walk from the terminal) into the centre of Piazzale Roma for one euro each way. From there, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll to St. Mark’s Square in around half an hour. You can also take a water bus (vaporetto) directly to the square for around eight euros. A taxi from the terminal will cost upwards of ten euros.

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