Italy’s great arrogance was to site one of its finest cities atop a lagoon – a labyrinth of laneways and waterways fringed with aristocratic excess. Our collection of Venice holidays include stays in the city’s finest hotels, all handpicked by our experts. There’s even the chance to arrive in unmatched style aboard one of the world’s greatest luxury trains – the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
Venice’s rich history
Venice’s mercantile past has brought in great wealth over its near 1,400-year history as a once all-powerful republic. Its unique position and progressive innovations both economic and technological led to privileged relations with such far-flung exoticisms as Asia, Egypt and the Byzantium Empire.
Maybe it’s this unheralded level of influence that lead to the sheer audacity of building a floating city of marble palaces, gilded basilicas and treasure-trove art galleries where the main thoroughfares are grand canals and back alleys wind past hidden churches. Whatever the reason, today the city's waterways are a joy to explore, whether on a traditional gondola punt or by the ubiquitous vaporetto water taxis that ply the waters of the Grand Canal and out to the islands of the Venetian Lagoon.
Punting in Venice
Venice’s standout art, culture and cuisine
It’s this rich history that’s informed not only the architecture – the golden Byzantine mosaics of the St. Mark’s Basilica are particularly impressive – but the celebrated cuisine too. Exotic flavours hint at ancient spice routes while just-caught seafood represents more local contributions.
And, in fact, much of Venice’s beauty is home-grown unique, best exemplified by the Doge’s Palace. This Gothic palazzo hides a stunning array of whole-wall paintings and frescoed ceilings behind an elaborately arched façade; needless to say, it overlooks sweeping, watery vistas.
Doge's Palace, Venice
Amazing hotels and journeys to remember
Indeed, it’s this unashamed sense of grandeur that’s reflected in the city’s present-day collection of hotels, from the Baroque sensibilities of the iconic Cipriani and Baglioni Hotel Luna to the three-palace setting of the world-renowned Danieli.
And, what better way to arrive in this city of extravagance than on board the world’s most glamourous train? We’ve got a full range of breaks travelling aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, from the classic London to Venice route to trips combining Italy’s great lakes and its capital of opera – Verona.
The Danieli, Venice
The Venetian Islands
Where most cities dissolve into an endless urban sprawl, Venice’s suburbs consist of a series of picturesque islands floating in the azure waters of its lagoon. It’s a delightful setting for day trips out of the city, taking in such star attractions as Burano, famed for its colourful houses and homespun restaurants serving up delicious seafood feasts, and Murano, whose workshops are responsible for some of the world’s most ornate glasswork.
Other favourites include Guidecca, which offers arguably the best views of Venice from afar, and Torcello, whose 12th-century mosaics are the oldest and most intricate in this corner of Italy.