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FLORENCE :: LAKE MAGGIORE :: ROME :: SICILY :: SORRENTO :: VENICE
Culture, beauty, history, climate-Florence, the renowned "Cradle of the Renaissance," has it all to perfection! Right in the heart of picturesque Tuscany on the banks of the Arno River, Florence represents the very best of Italy, from its museums, cathedrals, and palaces to its shopping, entertainment, and cuisine. Grab a gelato or cup of espresso and stroll through Signoria Square with its world-famous statues and medieval palace. Marvel at Brunelleschi's gigantic gothic Duomo, the Baptistry's incomparable "Gates of Paradise," and Michelangelo's David at the Academy of Fine Arts. Race up the Campanile's 414 stairs for stunning panoramas of the city, then head back down to relax and shop for treasures along the medieval Ponte Vecchio.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Florence. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Florence and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Florence insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Born in Holland, with a passion for art history, fashion, and Italy, Florence was a natural draw for Helma. She now has several years of local tourism experience, and is a licensed guide. She is very happy to welcome Monograms guests to the Cradle of the Renaissance.
Enjoy a sensational view over the "cradle of the Renaissance" from Florence's most panoramic square. Climb to one of the highest points of the city, where the Benedictines erected a church in honor of St. Mennas.
Walk through the commercial heart of town—from the elegant and lively cafés of Piazza della Repubblica to the picturesque Old Bridge which crosses the narrowest point of the river Arno. Admire the patient and precious work of the local artisans and goldsmiths. Ask your Local Host about this and other walks to see the best of Florence.
Climb the interior staircase of the city's most dominant architectural feature—constructed between 1418 and 1436 on a base of approximately 150 feet in diameter and 330 feet high—by the genius of Filippo Brunelleschi. The Cathedral museum contains the major original artifacts and the original panels of the Baptistery, known as the "Gates of Paradise."
See Brunelleschi's early-Renaissance masterpiece and the mausoleum of the Medici family, built by Michelangelo, in the New Sacristy.
Florence's best food market is located in the middle of the picturesque street market of San Lorenzo; see displays of olive oil, pastas, herbs, and red wine.
Erected towards the end of the 13th century by the great architect Arnolfo di Cambio, this Franciscan basilica is a highlight of the specifically Italian architecture of the Gothic style. Wander along the three wide naves enriched by Galileo's and Michelangelo's tombs, and admire works of the Early Florentine School from Giotto and his followers in the transept chapels.
Enjoy the harmony of this medieval architectural jewel. Built in 1246 by the Dominicans, its beautiful arcades and its incredible vaults preserve works by many Renaissance artists.
The pharmacy displays the results of more than 800 years of work by Dominican monks. Following centuries-old formulas, the officina sells ancient remedies and tonics alongside hand-molded soaps and perfumed powders.
If you love Italian fashion, a visit to the designer houses of Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, or Ferragamo will make your day. Florentine leatherwork, gold jewelry, Italian craftwork, and art books are also good buys and great presents to take home.
Specialties to try include succulent 'bistecca fiorentina,' Florentine steaks; 'pappa al pomodoro,' a local bread and tomato soup; ribollita, a cabbage and bean soup; and 'biscottini di Prato con vin Santo,' the special biscuit and wine tradition to finish off a meal. Sip Chianti wine, Brunello di Montepulciano, or the Super Tuscans.
Located in the Italian Lake District on the south side of the Alps, Lake Maggiore is the second-largest lake in Italy. Set with the majestic mountains as a backdrop, it offers mild weather, lush vegetation, beautiful gardens, and dramatic scenery. A short boat ride brings visitors to Isola Bella, with its Baroque-style, 17th-century Italian gardens and palace filled with priceless works of art. A cable car ride to the summit of Monte Mottarone presents breathtaking views of seven lakes (on a clear day), and the Lake Maggiore Express, a narrow-gauge train and ferry, showcases stunning scenery including waterfalls, lakes, and chestnut woods. In addition to spectacular scenery, the area also offers many cafés and lakeside restaurants.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Lake Maggiore, Italy. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Lake Maggiore and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Lake Maggiore insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Originally from Scotland, I have lived in the Lake Maggiore area now for 22 years. After working in Milan, and giving birth to my two children, I am happy to be working close to home as a Monograms Local Host in this beautiful resort area of lakes and mountains, and know you will enjoy its relaxed atmosphere, splendid scenery, and plenty to see and do.
The Park of Villa Pallavicino is a paradise of flowers and a large variety of animals, including black swans, grey-crowned cranes, silver pheasants, zebras, and Bennet kangaroos, to delight visitors of all ages. A 10-minute walk along the lake from Stresa.
Enjoy a 20 minute panoramic ride to the top of Mount Mottarone. From the summit take in 360° views over 7 lakes and the Alps. At the mid-way stop you can visit the Alpine Garden, with over 500 essences, unique for the typology of its plants, solely of alpine origin. Departure is from Lido di Carciano (walking distance from hotel Bristol).
This museum houses a wonderful collection of parasols and umbrellas, along with the history of the families who made them. Near Stresa, just up to the hill, towards Mount Mottarone.
This picturesque town is located on small Mergozzo Lake. Its stone houses are in part arranged in the form of an amphitheatre along the bank of the river and in part cling to the Montorfano mountainside. While visiting, try the local specialty, a cookie called Fugascina di Mergozzo. The area is also famous for the quarry of Candoglia which has been exporting its precious pink marble for over 6 centuries and used in the building of the Duomo di Milano.
The gardens of Villa Taranto are known for their great beauty and the huge number of plant species they contain. A labor of love on the part of the Scottish Captain McEacharn in 1931, the marvelously landscaped garden continues to enchant visitors to this day (from March to October).
Laveno Monbello is a typical lakeside town on the western shores of Lake Maggiore. The lakefront is lined with porticoed buildings and there are elegant 17th and 18th century villas throughout the town. There is a cable car from Laveno to Mount Sasso del Ferro known as the "bucket lift". This is due to the fact that the two-man cabins are open top and resemble giant buckets. The peaceful journey up the mountain takes 16 minutes and takes you to 3,484ft which is just below the summit. Admire stunning views across Lake Maggiore, the Alps, the Po Valley and Lombardy's other lakes.
This Roman Catholic monastery, perched on a rocky ridge on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore, can be reached on foot by descending down a long winding stairway, by taking an elevator, or by a number of ferry services or boats that dock at the pier. The construction of the monastery dates from the 14th century, although the more recent frescos are from the 19th century. In 1914 it was declared a national monument.
The Rocca Borromeo di Angera, also called Borromeo Castle, is an 8th century Lombard fortress that stands on a lakeside hilltop in the town of Angera on the southern shores of Lake Maggiore. It contains a Doll Museum, founded in 1988 at the request of Princess Bona Borromeo Arese, and displays over a thousand dolls made between the 18th century and the present day.
Many cities in the world are old, even ancient. But only one city has earned the sobriquet of "eternal"-the Italian capital, Rome. As you explore the countless ancient wonders that litter the streets, it's almost easy to imagine what life must have been like during the golden age of the Roman Empire. Highlights include the enormous gladiatorial venue, the Colosseum; the Roman Forum; the well-preserved 2nd-century mall, Trajan's Markets; the impressive Baths of Caracalla; and ruins of the famous Appian Way. Some other must-see attractions are Rome's most spectacular water feature, Trevi Fountain; St. Peter's Basilica; and the Vatican Museums featuring the breathtaking Sistine Chapel.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Rome and Italy. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Rome and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Rome insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
I have many years of experience in both European and African travel. I was the first-ever, English-speaking guide to lead the Imperial city tour in Morocco. I have a great love of Rome and know all its secrets, which I take great pleasure in sharing. Monograms clients like to call me "Mama" because I take such good care of them!
Find it in the portico of the Santa Maria church and dare to put your hand in the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth) - the marble disk presumed to be the face of a river god that, legend has it, will bite off a liar’s hand.
The Ara Pacis Museum was designed by the international architect Richard Meier and houses the Ara Pacis, the 2,000 year-old “Altar of Peace” that was used (paradoxically) for sacrifices. It is a commanding work of Roman art and architecture that had been lost to civilization for centuries.
The creation of the Capitoline Museums can be traced back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated a group of bronze statues of great symbolic value to the people of Rome. The collections are closely linked to the city of Rome, and most of the exhibits come from the city itself.
The synagogue was built from 1901 to 1904 on the banks of the Tiber, overlooking the former ghetto. The eclectic style of the building makes it stand out, even in a city known for notable buildings and structures. This attention-grabbing design was a deliberate choice made by the community who wanted the building to be a visible celebration of their freedom and to be seen from many vantage points in the city. The aluminum dome is the only squared dome in the city and makes the building easily identifiable even from a distance. Also visit the small museum nearby which depicts Roman Jewish life and ritual.
The Theater of Marcellus is an ancient open-air theater built in the closing years of the Roman Republic where people were able to watch performances of drama and song. In the 12th-century the Theater was turned into a fortress. In 1368 it was acquired by the Savelli family and later transformed into a building with private living quarters. A part of the exterior of the original theater is now visible. The Theater is one of the oldest preserved examples of an entertainment venue from ancient Rome.
This is known as the city of seven hills, but actually Rome has more than that. Indeed, the Gianicolo (or Janiculum), the hill that affords the best view of Rome, is west of the Tiber and outside the ancient city, so it's not counted among the ancient seven. The panorama and the silence from the top take your breath away. At noon, the quiet is momentarily broken by a single cannon shot, to mark the exact time, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. Busts of some of Italy’s modern heroes are scattered along the pathways, and looming over everything is a gigantic statue of the great bearded hero Giuseppe Garibaldi on horseback. Families may wish to spend some time at Gianicolo Park, with its wonderful panoramic views, carousels, and puppet shows.
It begins at the foot of the Spanish steps and is named after conduits (channels) which carried water to the Baths of Agrippa. Today, it is the street which contains the greatest number of Rome-based Italian fashion boutiques. Antico Caffé Greco, a historic landmark café, was established at Via dei Condotti 86 in 1760, and attracted figures such as Stendhal, Goethe, Byron, Liszt and Keats. Today, Caffe Greco remains a haven for writers, politicians, artists and notable people in Rome. Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio, lived at Via dei Condotti 11, until his death in 1937.
When in Rome, you should do as the Romans do by eating some of the city's typical dishes. Try pizza alla Romana (thin crusted white pizza brushed with olive oil & rosemary); pasta cacio e pepe (pasta in a creamy olive oil, pecorino cheese and black pepper sauce); pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas soup); carciofi alla Giudia (fried artichokes), saltimbocca alla Romana (Veal scallops), and for dessert: Maritozzi (soft buns with raisins and candied orange peels), crostata di ricotta (kind of cheesecake made with fresh ricotta and candied fruits), Ciambelle al vino (hard doughnut-shaped cookies to be dipped in wine at the end of the meal). And don’t forget to sample the most famous delicate, white wine of the region -Frascati - produced in the nearby Roman Hills, perfect with fish, appetizers and fresh cheeses.
Located on the coast of the Ionian Sea, the resort town of Giardini Naxos, Sicily was founded in the 1st century BC and is now famous for its beaches. Nearby is Taormina, built on the cliff overlooking the sea and offering visitors a town steeped in history. Visit the ancient Greek Amphitheater, built in the 3rd century BC and still used for summer performances today. Taormina also has many restaurants and a medieval quarter with reminders of its Greek and Roman past—with its narrow streets and old shops now selling modern goods. Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is only a short drive from town.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Taormina Riviera on the island of Sicily. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Sicily and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Sicily insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path while in Sicily, Italy, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Claudia is happy to welcome you to the wonderful Taormina Riviera on the island of Sicily where you will find a warm welcome, great food, and a rich landscape. She is sure that your memories of the island will remain forever in your heart!
Visit two of the seven Aeolian islands, Lipari and Vulcano. Lipari is the largest and its soil is volcanic tuff, obsidian and pumice. The oldest rocks emerged about 225,000 years ago and volcanic phenomena are now limited to a modest activity in the presence of fumaroles and hot springs. Vulcano is very popular for those who enjoy the hot mud and fumaroles for cures.
A small island near Taormina, it is also known as “The Pearl of the Ionian Sea.” It is located within a small bay on the Ionian Sea and was a private property until 1990, when it was bought by the Region of Sicily. It is now a nature reserve, administrated by the Italian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature. There is a narrow path that often connects the island to the mainland beach. The island has a small and rather rocky beach which is a popular destination for sunbathers.
The Watchtower in Giardini Naxos was built in the 16th century to protect the coast against raids by Barbary pirates. Schisò Castle overlooks the bay, and was originally constructed between the 13th and 14th centuries.
Mario Puzo enthusiasts may wish to visit the Godfather film sites of Forza d'Agrò, Savoca where Bar Vitelli and the wedding church are located, and Castello degli Schiavi.
This tiny, picturesque village, built to defend Taormina, is well worth a visit. Castelmola is famous for its almond wine and for the medieval castle ruins. See the cathedral dedicated to San Nicolò of Bari and the 17th century church built to honor San Giorgio.
In Taormina, learn more about Sicily's rich history at the Regional Museum of Archaeology. Located inside Palazzo Badia Vecchia on a Roman bath site, the museum has finds from Greek and Roman sites. Excavations of the first Greek colony on Sicily can be visited at Giardini-Naxos. There's part of a Greek temple and a museum.
Alcantara River Park is famous for its gorges, fashioned into the rock by geological phenomena. Walking along a stretch of the river bed (from May to September due to water levels) is a truly unique experience.
Savor fresh fish such as swordfish, tuna, mackerel, sardines and anchovies prepared according to Sicilian tradition. Enjoy salads dressed with local olive oil. Try a granite al caffè con panna (iced coffee with whipped cream); Sicilian pastry filled with ricotta cheese, or delicious ices in soft round rolls, unique and wonderful on a hot day!
Ask your Local Host where to buy colorful local Sicilian ceramics and embroidery, Modica chocolate, and olive oil.
Just below Taormina, find beaches, coves, and a peaceful sea - perfect for relaxing. There are paths between the town and the coast as well as a cable car to Mazzaro, a nearby beach resort. Your Local Host will have the details.
Families will enjoy this water, theme, and prehistoric park. Ranked 15th among the 20 most beautiful parks in the world by the Los Angeles Times and winner of two "Parksmania Awards" (a worldwide amusement park award) for “Park of the year 2013” and “The Storm - Best European new attraction 2013”.
Join the locals and promenade in the cool late evening. Your Local Host will have suggestions about local Sicilian music and cultural events.
Few places in the world match the magical atmosphere of Sorrento in southern Italy's Campania region. Delightfully situated above the Bay of Naples for breathtaking views as far as Mount Vesuvius, the picturesque resort town boasts an outstanding climate, winding streets lined with boutique shops, fascinating museums, flower-festooned terraces, and a vibrant nightlife. Spend some time people watching at Piazza Tasso, Sorrento's main gathering place, and relax in the glorious Mediterranean sun with a glass of locally produced limoncello or delectable gelato. Excellent ferry and hydrofoil service to Capri, Amalfi, and Positano make Sorrento an ideal jumping-off point for area sightseeing.
Monograms provides traveler's access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Sorrento and Italy. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Sorrento and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Sorrento insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
My name is Annamaria and I was born here in Sorrento. I really enjoy sharing the culture and secrets of my land with Monograms visitors: from the world-famous island of Capri and the extraordinary excavations of Pompeii to the enchanting atmosphere of the Amalfi coast, not forgetting the wonderful flavors of Mediterranean cuisine.
Walk through the Old Town along the fisherman's path to Marina Grande, once the main harbor of Sorrento and location to some of Sophia Loren’s movies. Stop at one of the restaurants to enjoy fresh fish brought in by the local fleet.
The eighteenth century Palazzo Correale di Terranova houses the town's museum, Correale. The rooms hold precious examples of crafts and local art from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On exhibition are some remarkable pieces from the Greco-Roman age, medieval elements from the Cathedral, furniture, clocks, porcelain, glass and a fine collection of paintings. Of special interest are the 19th- century marquetry items made by local artists according to the tradition which has brought international fame to Sorrento. A trip to the new Marquetry Museum is well worth your time to learn more about this decorative art. The Museum's principal objective is to promote and ensure continuity of the tradition of Sorrentine marquetry.
The little city train travels from Piazza Tasso to various parts of the city. It is fitted with an audio system giving an insight into interesting locations plus musical background of various Italian musicians and popular tunes. Many places can be difficult to walk to and the approximately 30-minute ride is an easy way to learn about Sorrento.
Enjoy some of the best views of the peninsula, its Mediterranean vegetation, blue sea, and small, picturesque towns and villages. Hop off the bust at the stops of your choice to admire and explore, then catch the next bus according to the circuit's timetable. Audio guides with commentary are provided on board.
In the heart of the city, relax in the peaceful atmosphere of “L’ Agruminato” a citrus garden with dozens of orange and lemon trees typical of the Sorrento peninsula.
Surrounded by elegant gardens and camellia trees, Villa Fiorentino is one of the most charming villas in Sorrento. During the summer, the villa is home to art exhibitions, and musical concerts are held on the grounds.
Catch the local “Sita” bus to enchanting village of Nerano Cantone, famous for the crystal clear sea. Relax on the beach and treat your tastebuds to the fresh fish caught just offshore by the local fishermen.
Stroll out of town to the Queen Giovanna's Baths and ancient fortress to view the Mediterranean up close. Walk back or catch the local bus.
Good buys of local craftsmanship include inlaid woodwork 'intarsio', created in anything from small musical boxes right up to large pieces of furniture. Cameos and corals make splendid jewelry pieces. Admire lifelike Capodimonte figurines created in the Naples area. Other shopping possibilities are embroidery and silk work made at home by local ladies, or look out for ceramics from the Amalfi coastline.
The Sorrento and Naples areas are well known for their cuisine, but perhaps the most famous of all is the Pizza Margherita, invented in Naples. Sorrento is renowned for its fresh fish dishes, shell fish (often served with scialatielli home made pasta) and other sea food such as the delicious calamari (squid). Spaghetti with clams is certainly one of the favorites and for dessert maybe try the local pastiera (cake with ricotta cheese, wheat grain and candied fruit).
Via Cesareo is the main shopping street and the best place to start your walk is where it intersects with Plaza Tasso. Find a wide variety of items including lemon products, walnuts, olive oil and a large selection of candies. There are also some local crafts available such as embroidery and wood intarsia. What to buy: lemons, which grow abundantly throughout the hills, are in every form…. from soap to candies, liquors, cookies, cakes, and pies.
Sorrento offers everything to visitors, sea and sun, magnificent mountain views, music and culture, a relaxing atmosphere...and everything within a short distance.
Breathtakingly beautiful and one of the most popular destinations in the world is the remarkable floating city of Venice. Founded more than 1,500 years ago on 117 different islands, this romantic travel mecca is linked by over 150 canals and 400 bridges. A gondola ride around the Venetian lagoon or boat ride through the canals is a must, as is a stop for a coffee and the ambiance at the world-famous Caffé Florian and visits to many of the city's famous landmarks, including St. Mark's Square and Cathedral with its exceptional gold mosaics; Rialto Bridge in the heart of Venice; Doges' Palace and the evocative Bridge of Sighs; and the island of Murano to purchase spectacular blown-glass souvenirs.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Venice. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Venice and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Venice insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Hi! Monograms Guests, you can call me "Grace" or my Italian name "Graziella." After studying foreign languages in schools abroad, I started my career working on a cruise ship and travelled around the world. I continued as a tour guide around Europe and Morocco until I came back to my hometown of Venice to be a Monograms Local Host. I feel so lucky to work in this magical place, where everything provides our guests with unique emotions - from the canals, monuments, and the lagoon itself, to the colors, perfumes, and music on the Piazza. The splendor of the past and its traditions are all to be shared with my guests who enjoy it very much.
Travel to the top for an unrivalled view of Venice and its surroundings. The tower is 323 ft (98.6m) tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark’s Square. The belfry houses five bells and a cube with St. Mark’s lion and the female representation of Venice (la Giustizia: Justice). The tower is topped by a golden weathervane in the form of the archangel Gabriel.
A characteristic boatyard (squero) dating back from the 17th century on the rio (small canal), of San Trovaso, in a particularly picturesque position. It's one of the last traditional squeri still constructing gondolas.
The Island of Burano, in the Venetian lagoon, is made of picturesque canals lined with brightly colored houses. It even has a leaning tower, the bell tower of the 15th century San Martino Church. The island is also famous for its artisan lace makers and there's a Lace Museum as well as shops selling lace. An under-appreciated gem, the Lido Island, more residential than traditional Venice, still offers small canals, a variety of dining and impressive views of the city from across the Lagoon. Lido is the beach of Venice and is famous for its Movie Festival. Sant'Elena Island lies at the eastern tip of the main island group and was centered on the Church of Sant'Elena and its monastery, originally built in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 15th.
Palazzo Mocenigo houses a history of Venetian fashion and perfume. Accademia Gallery contains works by Tintoretto, Bellini and Carpaccio. Peggy Guggenheim Museum located in Peggy Guggenheim's former home, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal, houses one of the most important collections of American and European Modern Art. Ca'Rezzonico a beautiful Venetian palace and residence, is home to a collection of 18th century Venetian furnishings and paintings. Jewish Museum Visit the Jewish Ghetto dating back to the early 16th century, its Museum exhibits traditions of goldsmith's and textile arts. The Arsenal and Naval History Museum founded in 1104, was once the hub of Venice's naval power and is now a closed military zone, but its impressive gates are well worth seeing. Visit the Museum's fascinating collection of model ships, including the amazingly lavish ceremonial Doges' barge, the Bucintoro.
Venice has a wealth of churches showcasing fine religious art and historic testimony. Here is a selection of the most famous which are well worth a visit. Your Local Host is available with more details.
Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo: after the 15th century funeral services of all Venetian Doges were held here, and 25 Doges are buried in the basilica. Church of San Rocco: built between 1489 and 1508, then underwent major alterations in 1725. It holds paintings by Venetian artist Tintoretto (1519-1594), and was one of The Plague sanctuaries. Santa Maria Formosa: built in 1492 on the site of a church dating from the 7th century where the Virgin Mary was believed to have appeared. Santa Maria dei Miracoli: known as the marble church, was built in 1481 to hold a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, and is one of the finest examples of early Venetian Renaissance architecture. Basilica of San Pietro di Castello: designed by Andrea Palladio, dates from the 16th century, but has been a religious site from early times. From 1451 to 1807 it was the city's cathedral, serving as its spiritual and religious administration center. San Giorgio Maggiore: located on St. George Island, is a masterpiece of architect Andrea Palladio. The church houses paintings by famous artists, including Tintoretto.
Visit one of Italy's most famous theaters, the reconstructed La Fenice which is famed for its acoustics. The world was stunned when it was destroyed by fire; millions of dollars were raised and stars such as Luciano Pavarotti and Woody Allen offered their support so that it could be reconstructed.
Murano, the center of the Venetian glass blowing industry for more than 1,000 years, is also known for its Glass Museum and the Byzantine church, Santi Maria e Donato with its beautiful mosaic floor. Venetian shopping specialties include Murano glass crafts and glass pearls, lace, carnival masks, and unique Christmas gift calendars.
Fortuny’s showroom on Giudecca collects and displays the company’s mementos, textiles and other works, plus carries a range of products, including pillows, accessories, and fabric. Fabrics made by the prestigious firm, Bevilacqua, have been used to decorate the Vatican, the Royal Palace of Stockholm, and the White House. Master artisans still weave the fabrics in Venice on 18th-century wooden looms, and the front-room display is just a sample of their artistry.
Atelier Nicolao is in the very heart of the city, and here deft and expert fingers create unique and wonderful costumes that are appreciated all over the world. The Nicolao Atelier has become a point of reference for theatre, opera, films and historical parades and processions.
Sample “cicchetti” which are various small snacks or side dishes, typically served in traditional "bàcari" (cicchetti bars or osterie). Some classic Venetian dishes are Sarde in Saor, (sweet & sour sardines), Bigoli in Salsa (pasta in a salted sardine & onion sauce, one of the oldest recipes of Venice), famous Risi e bisi (rice & peas), Baccalà Mantecato (a creamy soft mousse-like cod), Pasta e Fagioli (pasta & beans), Fegato alla Veneziana (liver cooked with onions) and to satisfy your sweet tooth, the traditional Carnival Frittelle (little sweet fried dumplings) and Tiramisù.
Harry's Bar was one of Hemingway's favorite haunts, see where the novelist created his signature cocktail … made of 15 parts gin to 1 part vermouth! Or try its world famous "Bellini". Stop for a drink at Caffè Florian, situated in the shadows of San Marco and listen to its orchestra.
If you have already visited Venice, take advantage of its excellent location to visit nearby mainland areas such as Verona, Padua and the Dolomite mountains.
Held every two years from June through November, The Venice Biennale, has for over a century been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Ever since its foundation in 1895, it has been in the avant-garde, promoting new artistic trends and organizing international events in contemporary arts.
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