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.
Take in a concert Venice's nightlife is centred around performing arts rather than bars and nightclubs. The city has unusual concentration of opera houses and concert halls, which help keep the Venetian tradition of classical music alive. Many of the churches across the six sestieri organise evening concerts, which are open to members of the public through advance booking.
Dorsoduro bars The city may be short on late-night spots - held back by tradition, accessibility and noise regulations - but the upcoming Dorsoduro wants to change all that. A number of drinking establishments have opened up in this student-focused part of town in recent years, with Campo Santa Margherita increasingly active when the sun goes down. The cobbled Calle Lunga San Barnaba offers an alternative, particularly if you're looking to eat out.
Head further afield For a wilder night, the nearby university city of Padua is your best bet. You'll find a larger concentration of pubs and bars here, with more opportunities to go dancing. You'll still have to be home by midnight (the last train back to Venice is shortly after 2300) but the 25-minute trip is worth it for a night on the tiles.