Venice was built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs. Imagine the audacity of building a city of marble palaces on a lagoon – and that was only the start.
Travel by gondola along the Grand Canal and marvel at centuries of Venetian architecture in the 50 palaces and six churches lining its banks. Then you can explore what’s hiding in the narrow backstreets: neighborhood churches lined with Veroneses and priceless marbles, convents graced with ethereal Bellinis, Tiepolo’s glimpses of heaven on homeless-shelter ceilings, and a single Titian painting that mysteriously lights up an entire basilica. Venice is truly a wonder, a mystery, and a romance all in one. The ideal time of year for getting married is April through October.