By Ahmed Ahmed
The Italian city of Venice has to be one of the world’s most famous treasures. It’s also one of the most endangered. Built on a foundation of boggy marshland, this beautiful city is slowly but surely descending into the lagoon it has occupied for centuries. It might be time to make your move. With Oh-Venice holiday apartments, you can enjoy your own piece of the Floating City before it melts away completely.
Ponte di Rialto
Venice has always been first and foremost a city of business. The Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is more than just a great photo-opportunity, it is a glimpse into Venice’s rich mercantile past. Here, for almost 800 years, merchants and money-lenders traded in gold from across Italy and beyond. If you want to do some commerce yourself, head into the market to pick up some Venetian souvenirs.
Piazza San Marco
The heart of Venice is the impressive Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), from a visitor’s point of view at least. The square is flanked by the Doge’s Palace, the historical seat of Venice’s powerful dukes, which is well worth a visit. You’ll also find St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice’s sumptuous religious centre, and the famous campanile, or bell tower. Climb to the top for a breath-taking view of Venice and its islands.
Venice invented the ghetto. While today, the word refers to any ethnic concentration or deprived area, the Venetian ghetto was where the city’s Jewish population lived. Featured in Shakespeare’s classic play the Merchant of Venice as the home of Shylock and his daughter Rebecca, this fascinating area is still home to five synagogues. But avoid visiting late on Friday or on Saturday; the Sabbath means that most shops and restaurants are closed.
Could anyone but the Italians have built one of the most attractive cities in the world in the midst of a waterlogged marsh? The beauty and the transience of Venice go hand in hand. Experts agree that it is subsiding; the wooden foundations and mud banks that lie underneath its stunning architecture are giving way. Instead of trying to fight this, the Venetians instead seem bent on enjoying their watery city while it lasts. And you should do the same. No visit to Venice is complete without taking a ride in a gondola, one of the hundreds of romantic rowboats that negotiate the city’s many canals.