Port of Venice
Cruising and Travel

As it has been since the 1700s, the City of Venice is a beautiful and interesting destination. Much as it was 600 years ago, the modern Port of Venice usually has more tourists than residents. For travelers, the Port of Venice recalls fairy tales. Cars are banned, so people either walk or boat through Venezia. There are far too many sights and tourist opportunities in the Port of Venice than we can describe here. For detailed information, please visit the Port of Venice's tourism website.

The Port of Venice 's city center consists of six districts. Cannaregio was home for the Jewish Ghetto and contains the beautiful 15th Century Ca' d'Oro, now the Galleria Franchetti. Cannaregio and Castello are the main residential districts. Castello's treasures include the library of Giovanni Querini, 16th Century paintings depicting the lives of the saints by Vittore Carpaccio, and many breathtaking churches. Castello also contains the Arsenale, the Port of Venice's great shipyards of its golden age. San Marco is the tourist district, containing Saint Mark's Piazza and the Doge's Palace, along with shops and luxury hotels. Dorsoduro is a residential district with narrow streets, several galleries and churches containing precious artwork, and reasonably-priced bars and restaurants. You'll find the Realto market San Polo and Santa Croce.

The Port of Venice also includes other islands in the lagoon. Lido offers popular beaches, luxury hotels, and a historic Jewish cemetery. Murano is the home to world-famous Murano glass. Once a world-class lace-making center, Burano is a quiet fisherman's island home to many colorful painted houses. Torcello has less than 60 residents today, but it is home to the Port's first cathedral (built from the 7th to 11th Centuries) that contains beautiful ancient mosaics. Torcello was the most important island in the lagoon in the early Middle Ages.

Summers in the Port of Venice are warm and occasionally rainy. Winters are cold and damp with lots of fog. The climate changes radically through the year. With its many canals, the Port of Venice is very humid. The waters make warm temperatures feel warmer and cold temperatures feel colder. During the fall and winter, particularly in November, the Port of Venice may flood, even though the floods normally last only a few days. The Port of Venice is well-prepared for such events. Temperatures range from an average high of 28 ? C (82 ? F) in July to an average low of -1 ? C (30 ? F) in January.

Visitors to the Port of Venice will not want to miss the Rialto Bridge and the Rialto Market on San Polo. The Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is Venice's true heart. Built in the late 1500s, it was the only way to cross the Grand Canal until the mid-1800s. The 7.5-meter arch was built on about 12 thousand wooden pilings so that galleys could pass under it, and it has three walkways. The wider center walkway passes between two rows of shops that sell Murano glass, linens, jewelry, and other tourist-related items. The bridge is not accessible for people who must use strollers or wheelchairs. The Rialto Market, at one end of the Rialto Bridge, contains fruit, vegetable, and fish markets that have been there for centuries. The markets are busiest in the morning.

The Port of Venice's Grand Canal is a major traffic corridor for Venezia, and it is busy with water buses, water taxis, and gondolas. It makes a huge "S" shape through the central city. Stretching for 3800 meters, the Grand Canal is lined with over 170 buildings, including great palaces, dating from the 13th to 18th Centuries that reveal the wealth and culture of the Republic of Venice. Every year, a centuries-old Regatta is held on the Canal. Until the 19th Century, only one bridge (Rialto Bridge) crossed the Grand Canal. Today, four bridges offer pedestrian crossings. The Grand Canal contributes much to the enchantment of the Port of Venice.

Another must-see in the Port of Venice is the world-famous St. Mark's Basilica and Piazza San Marco. Visitors should dress appropriately for a church to be admitted, and they cannot carry in large bags. Over the centuries, some of the best artists in Italy and Europe worked here to create a unique and breathtaking environment. Mosaics illustrating St. Mark's stories and scenes from the Bible lend the Basilica its Byzantine character. The first St. Mark's was built in 828 AD. Today's Basilica was consecrated in 1094, and the entrance and fa?ade were built in the 13th Century. Due to the crowds that come here, modern visitors are limited to only a part of the church. The Piazzo San Marco (St. Mark's Square) is the Port of Venice's main square and one of Europe's great urban open spaces. The Piazza began in the 9th Century and was enlarged in 1177 for a meeting of Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Today, it is the site for many of the Port of Venice's annual festivals and events.

The Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) faces the Venetian Lagoon and St. Mark's Square in the Port of Venice. It was the residence of the powerful Doge of Venice and home to political institutions of the Republic of Venice. Today's palace was built from the early 14th to early 15th Centuries, replacing earlier fortifications. The palace is linked to the Port of Venice's prison via the Bridge of Sighs. Citizens could submit written complaints about the way Venezia was run in the Bussola Chamber. Today, the building is a museum where paintings by Tintoretto and Veronese are on display. Traces of the older fortifications and corner towers are still visible.

Travelers who want to visit the Port of Venice by sea can find a long list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website or the port's cruise search database.

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