City, sovereign state, tourist hub, living museum... whatever your impression of Venice, this place continues to defy all logic.
This audacious medieval masterpiece, perilously perched in the Adriatic lagoon, boasts some of the world's finest art and architecture. The City of Love almost sinks under the weight of its incredible past, yet stands tall as a fascinating window into a bygone age.
Arriving at Venice Marco Polo Airport
You can fly directly from London City Airport to Venice Marco Polo Airport in little over two hours, with flights operating seasonally between March and November. The airport lies on the mainland, just outside the small city of Tessera about nine miles (14km) northeast of Venice. The busy terminal opened in 2002, with the ground floor used for arrivals and first floor for departures.
If you're taking the train into Venice, get the shuttle bus to the nearest mainline railway station, Venice Mestre. From here it's a 10-minute ride across the causeway into Venice Saint Lucia. Services also operate from the airport to Piazzale Roma at the island gateway, from where you can access other destinations via the city's water bus network. If you're not pressed for time, this can be your first opportunity to explore the Venetian Lagoon.
Food and drink
Choosing a restaurant
Venice isn't known as a world-class foodie destination, but there are still enough places to enjoy a decent meal. A little research can go a long way in Venice, since price doesn't always correlate to quality. Your choice is mostly between upmarket restaurants, touristy pizzerias and humble trattorias; it's best to have a clear idea what you are looking for.
As a city of the sea, Venice naturally has plenty of bars. That said, most are quiet, understated and double up as cafés during the day. If you're after a relaxed cappuccino (just don't order one after midday) or a swift espresso, you won't be disappointed. The same goes for light meals - most café-bars offers snacks such as sandwiches and bruschetta, even where a full menu is not available.
A scoop of gelato
Head down any of the busier streets and you'll soon come across a gelato stand. Don't be surprised if you give in to temptation and sample the flavoursome Italian-style ice cream. Quality varies across the island, but a queue and sensible pricing is usually a good sign.