Venice, on the Adriatic Sea in Italy's northeast, is a floating treasure-trove containing more works of artistic and historical significance per square metre than any other city in the world.
Venice has continuously enchanted travellers, painters, musicians and poets with its maze of narrow calli (alleyways), profusion of luxury hotels, exquisite fresh seafood, finely-wrought architecture... and most of all, its incomparable sense of romance. When you visit Venice, prepare to lose yourself in the warren of cobbled alleys and narrow canals that connect the neighbourhoods, or sestrieri – it's all part of the experience.
Venice comprises 118 small islands, making the best way to explore the ‘city of water' a water taxi or water bus (vaporetto). Gondola rides down the famous Grand Canal, which weaves through the heart of Venice, are an iconic way to travel – though locals tend to stick to public transportation.
Venice has an abundance of attractions, but the must-sees include the magnificent Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), the spectacularly carved Rialto Bridge with its vibrant markets, the bustling Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square) and the Basilica San Marco, which is said to contain the bones of St Mark, the founder of Venice. There is an abundance of five-star hotels in Venice, including the opulent 12th century Luna Hotel Baglioni, former home of the Knights of Templar, and the Hotel Daniele, a 14th century restored palace on the waterfront.
For a day trip, take a ferry from the Lido to the artisan islands of Burano, a pretty island in the northern part of the lagoon famous for the production of delicate lace, and Murano, the centre of Venice's glass blowing trade.
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Travel to Venice in style aboard the world's most elegant and legendary train, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, for a romantic journey across Europe to some of Italy's most beautiful destinations. Leave London and cross the channel before boarding this luxurious train, which will take you to the medieval city of Verona, near Lake Garda in northern Italy, famous for its ancient opera house the Verona Arena, and then on to Venice.