Magical Venice, nicknamed "La Serenessima" (the Most Serene), is built mostly on water, which is only one part of its unique allure. You shouldn't miss the big sights such as Piazzo San Marco and the Grand Canal, but also carve out time to duck into Venice's many other beautiful churches, palaces, and halls, often decorated by such local favorites as Titian and Carpaccio.
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- Cruise down the Grand Canal in the vaporetto no. 1; it's the bargain way to take in the view.
- The colossal, yet delicate Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) has sumptuous chambers covered with works by Venetian artists.
- Napoléon founded the Venice's greatest museum, Gallerie dell'Accadamia, home to masterpieces by Bellini, Titian, and Giorgione, among others.
- Buy a Chorus Foundation pass, which gains you admission to 16 churches throughout Venice, housing some of the city's greatest art. The pass comes with a map—take both with you as you wander, and you'll be prepared for some spontaneous sightseeing.
- The bàcaro, or traditional wine and snack bar, has served as a Venetian "pit stop" for centuries. Recharge with a glass of prosecco, a variety of cichetti (finger foods), and you're ready for the next site.
- Revelers from all over the world descend on Venice for Carnevale, the 10-day party leading up to Ash Wednesday.
- The Venice Film Festival (September) and the Biennale contemporary art fair (late summer or early fall) attract bold-faced names and often introduce new ones.
- For a dose of tranquility, journey out to Torcello, the tiny abandoned island that was Venice's first settlement.