Venice is the city of doves and palaces, which is under protection as a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its 170 canals, 400 bridges, several 16th and 17th century palaces built in the Gothic Renaissance style and picturesque piazzas. It resides at a lagoon separated from the sea by a sandbar called Lido, which was made famous by the Venice International Film Festival since 1932, besides its beaches and luxury hotels. The city was once called the Republic of San Marco, and became a maritime power after defeating the Turks at the battle of Gallipoli in the Adriatic. Although the Republic of San Marco was blown over when Napoleon conquered the city in the 18th century, the city never ceased to charm visitors from all around the world. If you want to capture the true spirit of Venice, you should see the Historical Regatta, the oldest public event held on the first sunday of every September since 1300s. Gondolas steered by gondoliers in their 15th century costumes along the Grand Canal is a real feast for the eyes! So is the Venice Carnival celebrated every February, where wearing masks symbolized the liberation from all the social constraints like ethnicity, religion and social class. Venice has lately been the artistic capital of Europe, thanks to its Biennale and awe-inspiring contemporary art spaces and institutions as well. If you want to escape from the crowds, hop on a vaporetto (water bus) and visit the islands around. The nearest one to San Marco Square is Giudecca, a hidden gem with its marvellous gardens and small canals.

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