Although the exact date when it was inhabited is unknown, the islands of this UNESCO World Heritage Site can be traced back to at least 421. It is believed that this was a place where many Romans fled from Hun and Germanic invasions. Today, it is the place where many escape the rigors of everyday life with their significant other to relax and enjoy the beauties of the city.
If you are arriving in the city by boat, you will immediately see its unique architecture, commonly known as Venetian Gothic. Buildings here date back to 1225.
Rows of gondolas with their gondoliers line the sea wall outside of the Piazza San Marco, waiting to take you on a romantic tour of this spectacular city.
As you disembark you are greeted by two marble columns. The columns hold symbols of the two patron saints of Venice on top. One holds a statue of St. Theodore and the other a lion with wings representing St. Mark. You will also see the Campanile of the Basilica di San Marco. The original fell in 1902 and was rebuilt. Its current design has been the same since 1514.
To the right is one of the greatest symbols of wealth of the Doge’s of Venice, the Palazzo Ducale. The Doges, or Dukes, of Venice lived here for over 500 years. A tour of the Palace will take you through some of the most impressive rooms in all of Europe. Gold can be found throughout the ceilings and even the staircases.
In addition to housing the Doges, the Palace also features one of the most famous bridges in Venice on the rear of the building, the Bridge of Sighs. This bridge gets its name, because this was the bridge prisoners walked through when heading to their execution.
Adjacent to the Palace is the Basilica di San Marco. The Basilica used to be the chapel for the Doge. It was originally built in the 9th century, but the current structure is not believed to have been completed until the 12th century. It is still the home of the Catholic Church’s Patriarch of Venice.
Built in the true Venetian luxury of its time, gold glass tiles create some impressive mosaics throughout the Basilica. The mosaics, although restored through the years, are beautiful representations of the Italo-Byzantine style of the Basilica.
As you exit the Basilica, you are in the Piazza San Marco. Along this great Plaza you will find some great restaurants and sidewalk cafes. This is a great spot to sit with your significant other and enjoy a meal and each other’s company while soaking in the view.
After lunch, take a stroll down the streets of Venice. Getting lost in this city can take you to some very nice places. And if you get lost? Just ask someone to tell you how to get to the Piazza San Marco.
Make your way to the Grand Canal. This is Venice’s largest waterway. It zigzags through the center of Venice, crossing under the oldest bridge in the city and the most recognizable, the Ponte di Rialto.
If its shopping you are looking for, there are shops along the bridge. This was the original market of the city, which was the reason to have the first bridge at this location.
Perhaps one of the most romantic things to do in Venice is a gondola ride. You can make reservations ahead of time or find one here. Gondola rides can be pricey. You can find them in several places throughout the city. For a more romantic experience, stick to the side canals. Its more quiet and intimate. Do not expect for all gondoliers to sing. If you want to add to the experience and want one who will sing to you during the 40-minute ride, ask beforehand.
After your romantic gondola ride, find yourself a nice canal side restaurant and enjoy a candlelit dinner with some excellent local wine. There are many restaurants throughout the city. If you want to find a good one, ask at your hotel or simply ask a local. They are usually the best guides to finding a good place to eat.
Your hotel can take your romantic trip over the top. Venice is not as small as you would think. There are many large chain hotels and even some family run operations. If you research beforehand, you will find a perfect one that will set the tone your romantic getaway.