Canals, gondolas, churches, romantic history and pasta. So much pasta.
What’s not to like?
With its narrow alleyways and cobbled streets snaking away from the bustling watery thoroughfare of the Grand Canal, Venice is the perfect place to get utterly and completely lost.
In fact, ask most people who have ever been there and they will regale you with at least one anecdote about losing their bearings while searching for any number of gorgeous sites that proliferate in the city.
But inevitably the conclusion of the story will detail the wonderful little shop, museum, café, neighbourhood they happened upon along the way and how finding it was the highlight of their visit (OK, maybe after St Mark and the Bridge of Sighs).
One thing you should make sure you stumble upon is Caffè Florian.
Sitting under the graciously wide arched walkways that line Venice’s St Mark’s Square on three sides, this exquisite space is the oldest coffee house in Italy having opened its doors way back in 1720.
Venice becomes even more evocative when the carnival comes to town.
Held on different dates each year to correspond with Shrove Tuesday (40 days before Easter), this is perhaps the world’s most famous masquerade party and has been celebrated in the floating city since the 15th century.
Almost everywhere you go, you’ll see locals and visitors alike dressed in extravagant baroque-style costumes and masks, so the people-watching is worth travelling for alone.
But there’s plenty more going on from parades, jousting tournaments, street performers, a procession of decorated gondolas and masquerade balls across the city.
If you want to splurge, it’s hard to go past the Aman Canal Grande. The hotel’s building – the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli on Venice’s legendary Grand Canal – is a break from Aman’s usually spare aesthetic, yet it’s a masterly break.
It’s sumptuously Venetian, a regal home that is rich with history and romance. Sweeping staircases, original frescoes (including by the great 18th-century master Tiepolo), antique Murano glass chandeliers, heirloom paintings, and Rubelli silk-covered walls are complemented by minimal modern Italian furniture.
Or perhaps you’ll fall in love with Hotel Cipriani. Skimming across the Grand Canal on the hotel’s sleek, private launch is an exhilarating experience.
The good news is Venice doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. Finding an affordable hotel room in the late summer crush of Venice can be a challenge to say the least. But all the research and effort is worth it when you luck into a place as good as Splendid Venice.
The sheer beauty and drama of Venice itself is matched in this stunning hotel, with its chic appointments, attention to detail and the incredibly warm and helpful staff.
There’s a chic little library with shelves of coffee table books to flick through, a cute lounge bar and a daily breakfast that is truly a standout.
Decent rooms in Venice are notoriously expensive, especially during the summer months, but Splendid Venice manages to deliver a lot – style, comfort, service – for a relatively good price tag.