Located in northeastern Italy on the Adriatic Sea, the main part of Venice occupies the low-lying Rialto Islands in the Venetian Lagoon. The entire city is a World Heritage site: it has more treasures of art and architecture per square mile than anywhere else in the world. No cars are allowed on the narrow streets of Venice, which contributes to its serene atmosphere. Sightseeing is done on foot or on the vaporetti (water buses), water taxis and gondolas that glide along the city’s famous canals.
Most cruise ships dock at the modern Venice Passenger Terminal on the city’s west side.
Cruise Holidays can provide guidance on the best ways to get to the sights you want to see, helping you maximize your time in port.
Historical buildings that rise straight from the water are everywhere in Venice. Must-see landmarks include the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), once home to the ruler of Venice and now a museum. Located along the Grand Canal and on the famous Piazza San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale’s exterior is a wonderful example of Venetian Gothic style.
Piazza San Marco is the primary public square in Venice, fronted by the Basilica di San Marco. The Basilica’s Byzantine arches and domes are breathtaking; the interior is richly decorated as well (don’t forget to look upward to see the beautiful ceiling mosaics).
Climb the stairs of the basilica’s bell tower for a panoramic view. On a clear day, you’ll see the city and lagoon; the Lido di Venezia, a barrier island that has lovely and glamorous beaches; Murano, the island where glass of the same name is made; and the Dolomite Mountains in the distance.
It’s easy to spend an entire day in Piazza San Marco, but you should venture beyond the square, too. Stroll the narrow streets; stop into the churches and squares along the way, and you’re likely to see precious works by the many master artists who have called Venice home.
For more information about cruise itineraries that call on Venice, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.