Venice is one of the most treasured jewels in Italy’s considerable crown and, as a tourist destination, is a perennial favourite with visitors from all over the world. This extraordinary floating city is fascinating and compelling in equal measure. It is steeped in a long and turbulent history and brimming with art and culture, which is evident at every turn through its many galleries, museums and, of course, its exquisite architecture.
For visitors looking to explore a little of Venice’s expansive history, you don’t have to go too far, with quite a lot packed into a small, easily walkable area. In fact, the act of simply walking around has the potential to reveal some unexpected joys.
The fact that the city even exists in its watery surroundings is the first marvel, but once you’ve got your head around that, make sure you don’t miss these highlights that will help unravel some of its many historical secrets.
4 Unmissable Historical Highlights
Basilica di San Marco
There’s no better place to start than the most iconic of all the city’s landmarks, the magnificent ninth-century St Marks’ Basilica – or Basilica di San Marco, if you’d like to sound like a local. Instantly recognisable, it’s hard not to be completely over-awed by the sheer size and magnificence of this church. Featuring numerous domes of different sizes, portals, arches, and a profusion of stunning gold mosaics, the exterior is intricately adorned and designed to make an impression. If you can believe it, the interiors are even more extravagant, and it takes quite some time to digest the swathe of Byzantine treasures within. The gold altarpiece, known as the Pala d’Oro is a highlight, decorated by more than 2,000 precious stones and gems. Make sure you leave enough time in your itinerary to devote a couple of hours to exploring the basilica.
The Gothic Palazzo Ducale, aka the Doge’s Palace, is set in a stunning waterside location on the Grand Canal. Its majesty and opulence extends from its intricately carved exterior colonnades, to its exquisite pink marble interiors and the vast collection of priceless works by celebrated Venetian masters, including the famous Paradise, by Tintoretto (the largest oil painting in the world). As evidenced throughout so many of their most prized constructions, the Venetians had a penchant for gold, and the gold-vaulted staircase, Scala d’Oro, is a sight to be remembered. For a unique experience, you can book onto a private tour to walk across the Bridge of Sighs, and visit the infamous Prigioni prison cells.
The Gallerie dell’Accademia comprises three separate buildings, filled to the brim with an expansive collection of Venetian artworks from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The building itself is spectacular, with its incredible domed, carved and gilded ceilings. Due to the size of the museum it can be quite overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to do a bit of research and make a plan for what you want to see.
Works are displayed in chronological order across the complex, which allows for an interesting observation on the development of the Venetian style. Some of the most famous works include Madonna and Saints by Giovanni Bellini, St. John the Baptist by Titian, and Cain and Abel by Tintoretto, among many others.
The opera house, La Fenice (“The Phoenix”), represents a very important part of the city’s history. Since its construction in 1792, the building has been virtually destroyed by fire no fewer than three times. While from the outside it is somewhat understated, its extravagant gilded Rococo interiors are not. The premieres of some of Italy’s most famous operas have been performed here, including Verdi’s Rigoletto and La Traviata. If you can get tickets for a performance in this hallowed opera house, it will definitely be a memorable experience. However, be warned, its capacity is small so tickets are not easy to acquire.
Where to Stay
The St Regis Venice: With stunning views over the Grand Canal, this lavish luxury hotel features elegantly appointed rooms, wonderful onsite amenities, including a panoramic restaurant and bar, and a superb location within walking distance of all the highlights of the city. St Regis is the perfect place to soak up the romance, history and ambience of Venice.
Hotel dei Dragomanni: Set in the city’s beautiful historic centre, this wonderful 4-star accommodation is around the corner from from St Mark’s Square. Some of the rooms have a balcony, from which to enjoy a beautiful view over the Grand Canal, and all are decorated in a sophisticated, contemporary style. There’s a lovely breakfast buffet and other facilities include free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning.
Palazzo Pianca: With stylish decor, extensive amenities and a fantastic location just 600m from St Mark’s Square, this quality guesthouse offers all the comforts of home and more. A stone’s throw from a host of central attractions, it offers the ideal location from which to explore everything Venice has to offer.
How to Get There
Flying to Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) from the UK takes just 2 hours and 10 minutes, making it a great option for a short break. You’ll have a good number of flight options, with multiple airlines to choose from, including British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair. For the most stress free and convenient solution to get the rest of the way to your accommodation, a pre-booked Venice Airport transfer with Shuttle Direct is the answer. By pre-booking before you leave home, you’ll ensure you don’t waste any time queuing for taxis or trying to navigate public transport to get you into Venice. It’s quick, easy and very convenient.
UK to VCE Flight Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
VCE to Venice Distance: 13.2 kilometres
Shuttle Direct Transfer: 15 minutes approx.
Types of Transfer
Shuttle Direct has a service to get you from Venice Airport to Venice accommodation in the centre of the city no matter what your budget or how you prefer to travel. We take care of the logistics so you can get started on your holiday without any delays!
For anyone on a budget, or those just looking to save a bit of money, booking a shared shuttle is another great option. Because you share the cost with other passengers it’s a lot cheaper than a private service, but it’s still safe, clean and convenient.
When you’re travelling with a family group or a number of friends, a minibus from Venice Airport to Venice can be a good choice. Not only will you all be able to travel in the same vehicle, saving a lot of logistical headaches, but there’s also plenty of room for all the associated luggage.
If you want to get from the airport at Venice to Venice central accommodation without sharing with other passengers, a pre-booked airport taxi is one way to do it without having to join a queue with everyone else! Because it’s organised before you leave, once you land, your driver will be there to meet you and get you to the door of your accommodation straight away.
If travelling in luxury and the height of comfort is important to you, then one of our door-to-door private Venice Airport transfers will definitely appeal. A professional driver will be there waiting to escort you to your vehicle, and then they’ll whisk you to your accommodation without delay.
Choosing the Right Transfer
We recognise that everyone’s budget and travel needs are different, so only you can decide on the best option for you. Generally the things you need to consider are cost and convenience, and which of those is most important to you.
Cost: If you’re on a budget, or just prefer to spend your money on more important things on your holiday, a shared shuttle where you travel with other passengers will give you the service and cost-savings you need.
Convenience: If money isn’t an object and a luxury, door-to-door service is what you’re after, then one of our pre-booked taxis or private transfers will suit you best.
About Shuttle Direct
Here at Shuttle Direct we’re proud of our dedication to providing the most convenient and affordable airport transfers to and from a huge range of destinations. Our friendly, professional drivers will get you wherever you need to go, and no matter what you’re looking for, and what your budget, we have a shared or private airport transfer service to suit you. Get in touch today!