It is quite difficult to describe Venice: even those who have never been there have certainly seen the photos of its most famous buildings, but only those who have been there have felt the sense of bewilderment and wonder when you see such beauty live. And then the strange sensation of walking through the thousand alleys, strolling along the canals, discovering incredible views with such a singular architecture, unique in the world.
Few cities can boast an inestimable artistic and historical heritage like Venice. This city with its magical and spectacular scenery is not only beautiful: it is a true miracle of architecture and art. A city built on the sand and mud of 100 islets, in a difficult, inhospitable swampy context: thus waterways and canals have replaced the roads.
The center of Venice is Piazza San Marco with its splendid Basilica: an incredible mix of styles, Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, which testify to its long history. It was begun shortly after the year 1000, but for nearly 600 years it had renovations and additions. At first glance the singular structure of the facade stands out, with its golden mosaics, the four bronze horses taken in Constantinople during the IV crusade and many materials from the East.
In the Basilica there are works of immense value, such as the Pala d'Oro on the main altar with the relics of San Marco, and the Treasure of San Marco, about three hundred pieces in gold and precious materials: the oldest come from the conquest of Constantinople (13th century), others were produced by Venetian artists, some are gifts from famous people. Next to it stands the Palazzo Ducale, a masterpiece of Gothic art reinterpreted in a singular way, enriched with pink and white marble: the building that stands out the most when you arrive from the sea.
There are many places in Venice that characterize the illustrious history of the city and the link with the arts and architecture. Just take a boat along the Canal Grande, the main artery of the city, and look at the splendid Renaissance-style buildings that rise on the banks. Among these we can mention the Ca 'd'Oro, a Gothic-Venetian palace that houses a collection of Renaissance art. We must also remember the Rialto Bridge in the middle of Canal Grande, well known in the world as a symbol of Venice for the many images spread by tourists.
Those interested in works of art can visit the Accademia Gallery with its works from the Renaissance period, while those who prefer modern art can visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, one of the most illustrious collections in the world. Other alternatives are the works of art in the Correr Museum or the mix of Renaissance and modern art at Punta della Dogana.
All this is the Venice that can be found in tourist guides and art books. But then there is also the more intimate, colorful, romantic Venice. The best one, that you discover getting lost in the alleys and between the canals, looking at the buildings reflected in the water and listening to sounds so different from the usual: a magical world in which there is no urban traffic noise, but only the chatter of people and the rustle of the gondolas.