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Best Local Scene in Venice

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The only Venetian square to be granted the title of 'piazza', St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, is the city's political, religious and social center. The square lies at one end of the Grand Canal, surrounded by some of the city's most iconic historic edifices. The Basilica di San Marco is the focal point of the square - a 12th-century, Venetian-Byzantine church highlighted with gold mosaics and lavish carvings. On either side lie the Procuratie Vecchie, stately buildings that once harbored the offices and apartments of the procurators. Two columns erected in honor of the city's patron saints, St. Mark and St. Theodore of Amasea, stand nearby, while the splendid Doge's Palace, the towering Campanile, the Procuratie Nuove, the National Library, and a couple of museums take up the rest of the space around Venice's largest square. The city's history comes together at the awe-inspiring St. Mark's Square.

Houses of every imaginable hue line the canals of Burano - an island in the Venetian lagoon. A collection of brightly colored fisherman's cottages form the core of this modest town, vying for attention alongside teal canals plied by equally vibrant boats. Burano is famous for its lace, a local tradition that dates back to the 16th Century. Down the narrow alleys and winding paths, local women can still be seen working on these intricate works of art. Burano's Museo del Merletto chronicles the history of this craft and showcases an extensive collection of lace. The leaning campanile of the Church of San Martino, wooden terraces and quaint bridges are other charming sights.

The Grand Canal carves a path through the heart of Venice and serves as the city's main thoroughfare. While water taxis and water buses operate on the waters, the canal winds its way through the center of the city, terminating at the lagoon at one end and the basin, at San Marco square, at the other. Along the way, the jade waters flow past historic structures and sprawling squares, alive with the call of the gondoliers. From the Medieval, Byzantine and Gothic to the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical, the structures that line the Grand Canal form a chronicle of sorts of the city's architectural change across the ages. Romanticized by numerous movies and novels, a gondola ride down the Grand Canal is an essential Venetian experience.

The Lido di Venezia is a pristine sandbar that has become a thriving tourist destination, thanks to its accessibility from mainland Venice. One of the most photographed and talked about places in Venice, this island is not only famous for its panoramic views and beautiful summer beaches but also home to Venice Film Festival. Most of these beaches are private and often visited by international celebrities from diverse fields. The gorgeous sandbar, stretching luxuriously to almost 11 kilometers (6.83 miles), has featured exclusively as the location in Thomas Mann's Death in Venice.

On the second-largest public square in Venice the first carnival took place in the year 1497! In the summer months it is used for open-air events such as film shows and bull fights. Around the square traders offer carnival masks, costumes and other souvenirs for sale. Those who wish to watch the hustle and bustle can sit at a table in one of the cafés.

Driven by a Gondolier, someone who is both a specialized operator and knowledgeable of the Venitian history, a Gondola is a wooden boat with a flat surface and cozy seats. Initially used by the upper-class Venetians, over the years, a gondola has become a popular activity among couples. Accessible from several landmarks, Grand Canal is one of the most popular and busiest sources of boarding a gondola. From here, you pass through popular attractions such as Palazzo Cà Dario and Chiesa della Salute and you can also learn about their significance in Venetian history.

Venice is the land of canals and a trip to this breathtaking city is never complete without a visit to its myriad waterfronts. While in this island city, head to its southern tip in the Dorsoduro neighborhood where you will come across the Zattere Promenade. This seafront once served as a quay and was active in the trade of timber. Sauntering along this walkway, visitors are flanked by the deep blue waters on one side and magnificent Venetian buildings, exhibiting 15th and 16th century architecture, on the other. Whether you are ambling in solitude and soaking in the tranquility of the spot, strolling with family or friends, or walking hand in hand with a loved one, this promenade will ensure a magical experience for all.

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