Be shaken and stirred by the old-fashioned romance of this stunning city of water...
Wednesday , 17 February 2010
© Venice

Even the most jaded romantic cynic couldn’t fail to be seduced by the charm of a gondola trip around Venice’s waterways. But whether you’re taking a loved-up vacay with your man, holidaying with the girls, or on a solo sightseeing tour, it’s the city itself which threatens to steal your heart.

Historically-rich, and surrounded by old-school villages, imposing palazzi and squares, the city boasts an array of artistic and architectural treasures. Succumb to the Venetian labyrinth and get lost amongst the crowded markets and bustling bridges, discovering hidden gems beyond the expensive tourist-packedn bars and restaurants on the main thoroughfares.

Tick off three major must-visit sights in one place at the heaving piazza San Marco. Housing St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Torre dell’ Orologio – a 15th-century clock tower – the square was described by Napoleon as the “drawing room of Europe,” thanks to its cultured population. Movie buffs may also recognise the Torre Dell’ Orologio as the clockface James Bond sent his would-be killer flying through in Moonraker, while the awesome Santo Stefano palace was the scene for Daniel Craig’s shoot-out in Casino Royale.

If you like your culture fixes a little more old school, check out works by Venice’s grand masters Titian, Tintoretto and Tiepolo, great artists who have all left their mark on the city.

Meanwhile, fashionistas can inject some Italian chic into their wardrobe at gorge boutique Ottico Fabbricatore. Run by a husband and wife team, it’s the place to pick up the staples to every Venetian ‘It’ girls look – think oversized designer sunglasses, soft cashmere scarves and luxe leather handbags.

And, if all that shopping has made you thirsty, make like a local and grab some aperitivo time. Come sundown, Venice’s cool kids congregate in the canal-facing bars Naranzaria or Bancogiro, so get there early to bag the best spot to enjoy a local speciality tipple, an ombra, or
a spritz. Bellissimo!

While you're there...

Take a romantic gondola trip
No trip to Venice is complete without an iconic gondola ride along the picturesque waterways. See for the best routes.

See Juliet’s balcony
In nearby Verona visit the 13th- century palazzo, home of the Cappello family – who, according to legend were the inspiration for the Capulets in Romeo Juliet – which has become a place of pilgrimage for lovers everywhere.

Get a bird’s eye view
From the city’s tallest building, the Campanile – originally built in 888 – the views of the lagoon and the Dolomites in the distance is breath-taking!