City, sovereign state, tourist hub, living museum... whatever your impression of Venice, this place continues to defy all logic.
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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.
By water The Venetian archipelago consists of 118 islands, so canals - quite sensibly - take the place of roads. It's usually possible to take a traditional gondola to your destination, but the extensive water bus network (known as the vaporetto) offers a speedier and cheaper alternative. With 19 lines operating throughout the day, you can reach almost any location within an hour. A range of tickets are available for the service, including 12-hour, day and week passes.
On foot The 409 bridges connecting the Venetian islands mean you can often walk to your destination. You'll have to get to grips with a labyrinthine street network and take on the crowds at busy bottlenecks, but this is the best way to explore the six sestieri (districts) and discover hidden gems.
By train The rail network offers easy access to the islands from the mainland, but Venice Saint Lucia railway station at the southern end of the causeway is as far as you can go. This busy terminal is your starting point for day trips into the wider Province of Venice, but there are no local services on the islands.
By car Venice has motor vehicle access via the Ponte della Libertà bridge, which opened in 1933, but the road ends at the Piazzale Roma gateway. If you plan to hire a car, park it in the multi-storey facility on the neighbouring Tronchetto island.