Venice, Italy (Venezia in Italian) is one of the most interesting and lovely places in the world. This sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was 500 years ago, though it has certainly begun to decay since its heyday. Tourists slightly outnumber residents, but the city’s romantic charm remains.
Venice is made up of different parts. The most famous is the area comprising the 118 islands in the main districts of Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, Isola Della Giudecca, San Polo, San Croce, San Marco and Lido di Venezia where the main monuments and sights are located.
The Most Serene Republic of Venice dates back to 827, when a Byzantine dukedom moved its seat to what is now known as the Rialto, and for the following 970 years prospered on trade and under the rule of a Roman-style Senate headed by the Doge. In 1797 the city was conquered by Napoleon, a blow from which the city never recovered.
The summer may be the worst time to visit: It’s sometimes very hot, the canals sometimes stink (in the most literal sense), there are occasional infestations of flies and there are more tourists than usual. Spring and fall are probably best. Ride a Vaporetto (water bus) down the Grand Canal right before sunset. The Vaporettos are inexpensive, but the sites are priceless: amazing architecture, soft seaside sunlight, and a fascinating parade of Venetian watercraft. Or shop. Venice is packed full of little stores in every corner and crevice. The most common local specialties are Carnival masks, glass and marbled paper.