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Essential reads:
5 minutes guide to Venice

Venice, “La Serenissima”, evokes a unique and overwhelming sense of awe that goes beyond the weight of human history. Built upon a lagoon, Venice is a masterpiece of engineering, artistry, and resilience. Wooden pilings were driven deep into the marshy ground beneath, acting as a stable foundation for the city’s buildings. Venice is now adorned with lavish residences and charming boutique hotels, ideal to dive into its magic.

Venice’s history dates back over a millennium, to the 5th century AD when refugees fleeing barbarian invasion settled in the lagoon. A bustling commercial, intellectual, and cultural hub for centuries during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Venice dominated the Mediterranean. Venice, unlike any other city in Europe, has aptly been referred to as “the hinge of Europe” given its unique strategic position. Venice was the head of a vast empire, stretching down the Adriatic and encompassing islands in the Aegean, Crete, and Cyprus. In its heyday, from the 12th to the 15th century, Venice was a significant power in European politics and was famed for its culture, intellectual ferment, military power, prosperity, and diplomacy. Venice was renowned for its freedom from religious fanaticism during the upheaval of the Reformation, contributing to its frequent conflict with the Popes. It was only with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 that Venice began to slowly decline, although it made up for its diminishing military and economic strength by turning to culture and the arts – the Venetian Carnevale entranced aristocrats across Europe to Venice to celebrate and enjoy themselves.

Venice’s strategic location between East and West is evident in a stroll through the labyrinthine canals and bustling streets – with a remarkable incorporation of Arab and Middle Eastern architectural styles, and unique local dishes incorporating spices from as far afield as the East Indies. Venice’s endlessly fascinating political and economic history is reflected in the grandeur of St. Mark’s Square, with its stunning Basilica and the ornate Doge’s Palace. Travellers must also visit the Rialto Bridge, a symbol of Venice’s commercial prowess and where merchants from across Europe congregated for centuries to do business, as well as the Arsenale, a complex of former shipyards and armouries dating from 1104. For centuries the Arsenale underpinned Venice’s naval might, and in turn her empire. From the 16th century the Arsenale could produce a ship a day, employing assembly-line production techniques by floating galleys down to workers and materials and using standardised, interchangeable parts – something entirely unique for its time, and predating Henry Ford’s assembly line in the early 20th century by centuries.

The city’s intricate network of canals, lined with opulent palaces and elegant bridges, evokes a magical and dreamlike atmosphere, and a profound sense of wonder inevitably settles upon the traveller that finds themselves lost strolling amidst the narrow streets. The city’s fragile existence, constantly threatened by rising tides and erosion, adds to this sense of awe and impermanence. Embark on a Venetian odyssey within our opulent lodgings and immerse yourself in an extraordinary escapade, crafting timeless memories.

Further Reading


Italian Culinary Symphony

Essenza's guide to gastronomic adventures and dining etiquette


Florence's "Wine Windows"

A Whimsical Tale of Tuscany's Vinous Legacy


5 minutes guide to Sicily

Sicily is a captivating island nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea offering a magnificent historical heritage, diverse blend of cultures and breath-taking landscapes.