Venice on a budget
Amsterdam-Hotels and hotels in Copenhagen may offer great deals for backpackers and students from across Europe but if you are travelling on a budget, Venice, unbelievably, is one of the greatest cities in the world to visit.
The city oozes a rich history, which is reflected in its architectural heritage, and this can be enjoyed simply by ambling through the streets. Yes, some of the major tourist attractions are expensive, but you can still see an authentic slice of the city without having to pay a considerable amount.
The Piazza San Marco
is one of the greatest piazzas in the world. It is dominated by the Basilica di San Marco at one end, with the Loggetta and the Campanile facing it. The intricate and ornate Loggetta was designed by inspirational architect Jacopo d'Antonio Sansovino whilst the Campanile, the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica, is one of the most recognisable and famous landmarks in the city.
The Torre dell'Orologio or clock tower is also worth visiting. It must be noted that the Piazza is the lowest part of the city and is prone to flooding from autumn through to spring during periods of high tide.
The Basilica di San Marco is another wondrous example of Venetian architecture, which is again completely free. It was constructed to hold the bones of St Mark, which had been plundered by Venetian merchants from Egypt, and the building is a cornucopia of sculptures and religious artifacts which have been plundered throughout the years.
Between 11.30am and 12.30pm the gold mosaics are brought to life through illumination, resulting in a jaw-dropping sense of wonder. The building itself presents a grandeur through which a sense of God’s Almighty power is evocatively portrayed. With five domes, Byzantine architecture and colourful mosaics, the Basilica truly is one of the greatest buildings ever made by man.
Finally, no trip to Venice would be complete without going on the Grand Canal. The best time to do this is in the evening, when it is quieter. At this time of the day, it is extremely romantic as the palazzi along the canal are illuminated by candles or from within.
You don’t have to pay for an expensive gondola to experience the canal; riding the No. 1 vaporetto from the Piazzale Roma to San Zaccaria will achieve the same thing. Furthermore, you will pass under three famous bridges and get to observe seven centuries of architectural gems. The traghetto gondola ferry is another good way to get on the waterway.