About Venice and the Veneto

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Venice is truly a unique city, one of the world's great treasures. Its architecture reflects the paradoxical place it now holds: one sees a mix of fragility and strength, evidence of great power in the past and true elegance today. While Venice dazzles and confounds, the area around Venice – the Veneto – continues to move forward, always on the cutting edge of business and trade. The Veneto encompasses the lands of the Venetian Republic, historically one of Italy's powerful maritime republics (along with Amalfi, Pisa, and Genova) and one of its longest-standing, beginning with the election of the first doge in 729AD and ending in 1797, when Napoleon arrived.

It is ideal to arrive in Venice by boat – either gliding on the Grand Canal from the train station or zooming across the northern lagoon from the airport as Venice grows closer in the distance. After getting settled and exploring Venice a bit on your own, go off the beaten path to the tiny bacari and wine bars where regular Venetians eat. Don't miss visiting the church of San Marco, whose glittering gold mosaics shelter the body of St. Mark. Piazza San Marco is one of the great public spaces in the world, each building more beautiful and interesting than the last. Make sure also to stop by the colorful fish market, next to the equally fabulous fruit and vegetable markets – open each day until 1pm. Here you will find that the cuisine of Venice starts and ends with the lagoon and its islands, which still provide fruit, vegetables, and fish for Venetian dishes. Finally, like a constant symphony of light blue and yellow, notice the play of sunlight on the water that continues to create the special Venetian light so important to painters over the centuries.

Venetian cuisine has its base in seafood, and the light, delicate flavors are subtly captivating. Risotto is a deceptively simple Venetian dish that combines very few ingredients to produce nirvana on a plate. In the early summer, you will also find fiori di zucchini, zucchine flowers stuffed with fish mousse and lightly fried – incredible! The Veneto and its neighboring regions of the Trento Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia are the premier white wine producers in Italy. Just north of Venice is the Valdobbiadene, where generations-old makers craft the best prosecco. Finally, don't miss the region's bold, complex reds, such as Amarone and Valpolicella.