The northeastern city of Venice is arguably one of the most famous cities in Europe, if not the world. The water city is a marvel to behold and captures the imagination of people everywhere. With the iconic image of gondola boats traversing the numerous waterways that criss-cross the city, it is no surprise that Venice is a haven for canal boat holidays in Italy .
So how did such a metropolitan and cosmopolitan world city grow around the waters of the Adriatic Sea and the shorelines of northern Italy? Is Venice built on a lagoon, and what does this add to boating holidays in Italy? Read on to find answers to these questions and more.
Is Venice built on a lagoon?
The city of Venice is built on a lagoon. Made up of over one hundred islands, the city and its surroundings are connected by many bridges and canals. Building a bustling city on a precarious lagoon might seem outlandish to some. Still, it has allowed Venice to boom over the centuries, from a port and trade centre to an empire and finally to one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
It was first thought that Venice was built on a lagoon for protection, keeping its inhabitants at a safe distance from the hostile mainland. However, recent historians believe that it grew out of the need for trade in both fishing and salt pans. As this trade grew, more infrastructure was constructed to provide housing for workers. After centuries of success, Venice is now a floating city surrounded by a picturesque lagoon.
Islands in the Venice lagoon
The islands in Venice lagoon are numerous. Many are small and uninhibited, while others are bustling islands with city streets, canals and a hive of life. The very heart of Venice is the main set of islands, known for the hordes of tourists and landmarks such as St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Taking a Venice boat rental will give you a chance to visit other islands around the Venice lagoon .
A popular and must-visit island in the lagoon is the island of Burano, which sits a few miles northeast of the main island, on the northern side of the lagoon. Burano is famed for its colourful houses and is considered to be more of an authentic representation of the Venice lagoon. With the air of a historic fishing village, Burano takes you back down the centuries and provides a romantic image of the region, something that comes naturally when you visit Italy in a boat .
Another island not to be overlooked is the small island of Murano. Murano is one of the lagoon’s most popular islands, and it is easy to see why. Famous for its historical glass-making, Murano is almost a time machine, where you can trace the booming trade in Venitian glass and Venitian culture as a whole. Aside from these bustling islands, the Venetian lagoon is scattered with smaller and hidden islands and islets, all of which are perfect for exploring on a boat.
Venice Canal holidays
The layout of Venice makes it the perfect destination for canal boat holidays. Starting from the harbour called Chioggia on a small island in the Venice Lagoon, your boating holiday will take you along the iconic canals of Venice, each of which is laden with landmarks and breath-taking scenes of Venetian life. Little-known fishing villages, long beaches, cafe culture and textured history all come to life as you boat your way along the canal highways of the water-city.