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Venice is definitely one of the most attractive world destinations. Regardless of a considerable distance, you can get there by a fast and very comfortable ship. On board there is a duty free shop and 2 bars, offering refreshments in hot summer days. You will sail through narrow canals to the pier. St. Mark’s church, Doge’s palace, Bridge of Sighs and other famous sights will take your breath away.

History of Venice

It is built on an archipelago of 117 islands formed by about 150 canals in a shallow lagoon, protected by the sandbank Lido. The islands on which the city is built are connected by about 400 bridges. In the 5th century, refugees from the Roman city of Aquileia who were fleeing from the Huns, settled to some of those islands. There developed a city state, presided by a doge, which eventually flourished into a commercial metropoli, dedicated to St. Mark, whose bones were brought from Alexandria. Doge Enrico Dandolo seized Constantinople in 1204. In the 15th century Venice, populated by more than two hundred inhabitants, was the centre of the world trade and the largest harbour city in the world. Next to luxurious buildings with oriental flare, new palaces were built, housing works of artists such as Tintoretto, Veronese, Tizian and Giorgione. Venice reached its peak then.

The fall of Venice started with the Turkish conquer of Constantinople. Even more devastating was the Portuguese discovery of the sea route to India. For example, this meant much cheaper pepper from Lisbon than from Venice. As its commercial connections, power and wealth were weakening, Venice was turning into a dying city.

Venice has actually retained its appearance from the glorious days. In the eyes of tourists it has turned into a stone monument worth seeing. The most attractive sights are on the 175 meter long St. Mark’s square; the church adorned by columns and mosaics, a detached, 99 meter high Campanile (belfry), and especially the Doge’s Palace with pointed arches. Above all, the canal system is attractive with its almost four kilometer long Grand canal, making a large S-shape through the central districts.

A romantic gondola ride along the Grand Canal is preferred by any visitor, even though there are only 400 gondolas left (in 1750. there were over 12000), while most Venetians now travel by motorised waterbuses ("vaporetti"). Theodor Fontane, who visited Venice in 1874, found the city magical and poetical, but also compared it to a beautiful girl with unwashed neck. He wrote: "Moonlight becomes her, as everything is half seen". Actually, the splendor of the past pitilessly illustrates the city’s decay, not only historically, but materially as well. The palaces erected on sandy and unsafe grounds, over the lattice of timber and wooden posts, are gradually sinking into the lagoon.