You don’t need to have the budget of a prince to visit Venice.
Packed with architectural beauty, chock-full of cultural treasures and cobbled together with elegant bridges, Venice is a city of floating palaces and canal-side churches. True, it is falling to pieces and packed with visitors, but almost every visitor falls under Venice’s spell, just as famous writers and artists of the past were seduced by its charms. As evening descends, the waters of the canals turn purple and the sky is brushed with Tintoretto clouds. Lights twinkle from Gothic mansions and waterside cafés hum with life: Venice to perfection.
Walk, walk, walk. With 118 islands and 400 bridges, wanderers see the best of this mysterious city of secluded piazzas, canals and Renaissance alleyways. Part of the pleasure is getting lost. Good budget dining is well-nigh impossible, so head to the market and bakery at Campo Santa Margherita and create a picnic. After sunset, sit on the steps of the Doge’s Palace in Piazza San Marco, surrounded by marble and music. Budget stays are mostly a train ride away, but try canal-side Foresteria Valdese ($165, dorm bed $50), a battered though elegant palazzo offering simple church accommodation with breakfast.
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