by Lorna Dykstra on 18/01/09 at 8:23 am
I give a short description of the most famous landmarks in Venice which should not be missed by the first-time visitor.
Venice is a magical city; a place where the past and the present intermingle to create a city which is like no other. It is one of those places that you have to visit at least once in your life. With Venice there are no half measures: you either love it or hate it. Venice is a unique city; built entirely on a series of small islands in the Adriatic, Venetians literally live on the water’s edge. All transportation in the city is either on foot or on some type of water-craft. In its heyday Venice was a powerful maritime republic ruled by a Doge. Its riches were derived from its command of the trade routes to the East. In Venice one can find an eclectic mixture of architecture: Byzantine, Baroque and Gothic styles rub shoulders side by side.
My first visit to Venice was memorable. We took the ferry from the mainland and approached Venice by sea. Having visited Venice a second time and approached it from land, I can say that the water route is the best way to see the city for the first time. Chugging through the Venice lagoon, the expanse of the water stretches before you. Then, almost out of nowhere, you can see the spires of Venice rising out of the blue water. The ferry approaches and the buildings get closer and landmarks are more distinguishable. Soon one can make out the domes of St Mark’s basilica and the world famous Campanile. The ferry berths on the quay a short distance from St Mark’s Square. From there a short walk will take you to the main square of Venice.
The Bridge of Sighs and The Doge’s Palace
On your way you can stop to admire the Famous Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs). This bridge connects the old prison rooms to the interrogation chamber in the Doge’s Palace and convicts on their way to imprisonment could get a last view of Venice from its windows. Adjacent to the Bridge of Sighs is the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale di Venezia). This magnificent building is in the Gothic style and used to be the residence of the Doge of Venice. A visit to the Palace and the adjoining prison will give the visitor an interesting insight into the past magnificent history of this maritime republic. The upper rooms of the Palace also provide a magnificent view of the Venice Lagoon and of the island of Giudecca.