Welcome in Venice!
Discover the wonders of Venice with GUIDATOUR’s audioguides
Are you ready to trek along the winding alleyways (the so-called calli, rughe and salizade), which criss-cross the bridges and open out into small squares (campielli), not to mention also risk losing your way in the city? First of all, don’t forget to download GuidaTour, the perfect audio tour guide for an exhilarating visit to Venice. With the GPS tracker, choose your destination and you will have an authentic personal tour guide at your side to facilitate your visit with simple and intuitive descriptions.
We are certainly not the first to recognise that Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But can you find your way around? Do you want to be guided through the city without cumbersome guidebooks and paper maps?
Well, here we are, at your service and ready to go… what about you? First of all, don’t forget: Venice is now a “fragile” city, and organizations from all over the world are engaged in protecting it from degradation and neglect. Founded over a thousand years ago, it has a glorious history: it was the capital of a powerful state dating back to the period before Italian unification, named the “Serenissima”, whose victory in the 1571 Battle of Lepanto, in fact, saved Europe from the Ottoman invasion.
Today, it shows every sign of the great span of time passed, and it is this very atmosphere of decay that will enchant you. For example, you can admire its only true square: Saint Mark’s Square, with the Cathedral, built in the 9th century in the Byzantine style. Then there is the Grand Canal, which divides the city in two, and is crossed by three equally famous bridges, Scalzi, Rialto, and Accademia; and where some of the most famous buildings, such as the Ca’ d’Oro, Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ Correr, and Ca’ Foscari, reflect their façades in its waters. On the other hand, Venice also hosts global cultural events: the Venice Biennale art exhibition and the Venice Film Festival. And the New Year’s concerts at La Fenice opera house spread Venice’s spell all over the world. So leave it to Guidatour, to our intuitive itineraries, and you will be carried away.
1516-2016: It has been 500 years now since the Ghetto existed in Venice. It is the first Jewish neighbourhood to be called “Ghetto” and nowadays the Venetian Jewish community is a dynamic presence in the city’s cultural life. Such a community in fact defends and promotes its own religious traditions, spreading its cultural heritage to those who are interested in the subject or are simply curious. It is thus a privileged possibility to be able to visit the Ghetto’s five synagogues and museum. In addition, do not forget to stop in front of the so called “pietre d’inciampo” (stumble stones), placed on the residences of the 246 Venetian Jews deported during the Holocaust. Each passer-by is drawn in to read their names, to remember the people, and to ponder on the tragedy they must have faced.
The name “Madonna dell’Orto” derives from popular devotion: the church in fact holds the statue of the Virgin, which is thought to be miraculous because it used to emanate flashes of light during the night. For this reasons it became destination of many pilgrims. This is one of the most famous Venetian gothic sites: its façade and cloister belong to the first half of the ‘400, while the statues, the bell tower and the dome were made during the beginning of 1500. The interiors are decorated by a few of Tintoretto’s masterpieces. The artist himself is now buried in this church, specifically on the right nave. The church was initially dedicated to the Virgin but also to Saint Cristoforo, the patron of travellers and boatmen (for this reason maybe the church is situated near the lagoon and near the islands in front of this “sestriere” and the mainland).
Here we are in the most ancient economical and commercial centre of the city: Rivo Alto is placed on the west bank of “Canal Grande”, where the depth of the waters made it the ideal harbour for the big ships filled with local or exotic products coming from the Mediterranean. Even today it holds the biggest and important market of the city. Except for Sunday, everyday is possible to choose from a vast variety of fruit, vegetables fish and other goods.
Piazza San Marco is the symbol of Venice, the place every tourist dreams to visit one day. Renowned in the entire world, it is the only true square of the city, the only urban space deserving such a term, as the other ‘little squares’ are simply called campi. The traveller will not have any kind of difficulties in reaching San Marco’s sestiere (neighbourhood), as there are ‘pestering’ directions everywhere around the city: the thick road network made of calli (the typical Venetian alley between buildings), salizade (larger calli, paved because more important for transportation), and rughe (long calli with the various commercial activities), sooner or later will take you to San Marco.
From an artistic point of view, the Doge’s Palace is an absolute masterwork among the gothic civil buildings of the city. Historically it has been the economical, commercial and political centre of the republic of Venice from her birth in 812 to her fall in 1797. The Palace is in the monumental area of San Marco square, in the Sestriere (neighbourhood) of San Marco, in between the homonym square and the Doge’s Palace’s pier connected to San Marco’s basilica. Today, the Palace holds, in its rooms and along its exterior walls, an important number of artworks belonging to different time periods and commissioned by various Doges to manifest their power and prestige and to praise and exalt the Republic.
Each year, there are no less than 400.000 visitors at the Guggenheim Museum: Peggy Guggenheim was the most renowned art collector of 1900, and a central figure in her time’s art development. The Museum’s residence is the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Canal Grande. Such building is an unfinished architectural masterpiece of 1700. The phenomenal combination of different art pieces she owned became one of the most important museums in Italy for the European and American XX century art. It includes creations of European abstract art, cubism, American abstract expressionism, futurism, metaphysical painting, avant-garde sculpture, and surrealism.
In order to view a different, non conventional, non-touristic, silent and quiet Venice, there are no alternatives: one needs to go to Giudecca, the old headquarters of ancient noble families and centre of popular life, divided by the homonymous canal from the city centre. A wide pathway along the waters on the side of the city allows the traveller to enjoy surprising and suggestive views of San Marco. In addition one can also take a stroll from the Stucky Windmill, monument of industrial archaeology, which is now a luxurious residence, to the canal dividing the Giudecca from the Church of S.Giorgio Maggiore.
The Academia Gallery, a true casket of art, includes the richest paining collections of Venetian authors from the 1300 Byzantine and Gothic up to the Renaissance. There are masterpieces of all the artists that really count: Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto, Tiziano, Tiepolo, the so-called “Vedutisti”(landscape painters) as Canaletto, Guardi and Longhi. A great sight for sore eyes!
To visit the Scuola Grande di San Rocco it means not only to be part of that circle of painters headed by Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto, but also to be able to contemplate those masterpieces which represent for Venice what the Sistine Chapel represents for Rome: the combination of episodes taken from the Old and New Testament, and the idea that such paintings were created for that precise place.
Do not worry if you are not scholars of Venetian history, but only enthusiasts: you will not have interest in visiting the Convent of the Basilica dei Frari (which in the State Archive holds all the documents of the Republic of Venice from the IX century to its fall in 1797), but you will find three reasons to visit the Basilica itself. Inside you can admire:
- Giovanni Bellini’s ‘Triptych’, placed above the altar.
- Tiziano’s ‘Assumption’, defined by Canova ‘The most beautiful canvas in the world’ and the ‘Madonna Ca’ Pesaro’ [currently under renovation, visible from spring 2017].
- The funeral monument honour of the great neoclassical sculptor, Antonio Canova, where his heart lays.