Venice, one of the most remarkable and extraordinary cities in Europe, has been a first-class cultural centre from time immemorial. The ‘Queen of the Adriatic’ has given birth to such eminent personalities such as Marco Polo and Giacomo Casanova, who are famous throughout the world. During the epoch of the Renaissance, Venice was among the most important art and cultural centres, with its own style of musical composition and a host of great painters and artists. Today, Venice is still a city of culture, which can be felt everywhere through its unique atmosphere of romance, art and architecture.
The charm of Venetian culture is best experienced during the marvelous festivals and carnivals that are the highlight of local cultural life. The most attractive event is undoubtedly the Carnival: a splendid celebration that makes both locals and tourists forget everything else within the eight days in January (or February) each year when this colourful event is carried out. The programme consists of a row of concerts, balls, theatre performances and emblematic processions with masked participants. Namely, the rich decorated masks and costumes with magnificent ornaments represent the major appeal of Carnival. Their mass production has become one of the most profitable branches of tourist industry in the city. The Venetian Carnival is the second most renowned and spectacular event of this kind in Europe after the Fasching in Germany. Carnival first appeared as a typical Catholic custom and its origins can be traced back to the 18th Century, when the glorious winter parties took place on the streets of Venice.
Venetian architecture and urban planning are also a characteristic feature of local culture. Splendid imposing palaces, cathedrals and churches reveal the high level of development of Venice’s economy and society during different historical periods, particularly the Renaissance. These cultural monuments of extraordinary significance symbolise Venice worldwide, as the countless canals and waterways are widely recognised as one of the most miraculous facilities in urban planning – ever. They give the ‘City of Water’ its unmatchable romantic and glamorous ambience.
For those who want to gain a more detailed impression of Venice - and its art and history - should by all means drop in at one of the various museums and art galleries that show valuable treasures from all fields of knowledge, science and culture. The best place to start your museum tour is at Doge’s Palace, an amazing building that amalgamates styles from all epochs; and all lords of the city throughout the years have left their own imprint on it. Today it is used as a massive museum with its spectacular interior and precious collections of paintings by great artists like Tintoretto, Veronese and Titian. Other exclusive museums are Marciano, with valuable manuscripts and mosaics on display; Correr, dedicated to the history and art of Venice; and the School of San Rocco, the greatest destination for art lovers in Venice.
Venice boasts a large number of prominent composers that brought the city fame as one of the musical centres of Europe during the Renaissance. The world-known Venetian School has produced extremely talented composers over the course of time, with Antonio Vivaldi and Tomaso Albinoni being the most important. Today the Venetian musical scene ranks among the most prestigious in the world with its top-level opera and musical performances that form a great part of the cultural programme of the city. If you are keen on theatre, Venice is the right place for you. The legendary Teatro Italia has given stage to world classics for more than 500 years. Also, the emblematic Teatro la Fenice provides a delightful experience for art lovers of all tastes and preferences.
Museum houses of eminent citizens of Venice, or the ‘Queen of the Adriatic’, will also give you a special insight into the essence of Venetian culture. Quite possibly, the most famous person to ever live in Venice is Marco Polo. His house hosts interesting objects and documents concerning his life - plus priceless exhibits from the places in the Far East that he visited and popularised in Europe. Antonio Vivaldi, Titian and a galaxy of great artists and musicians also have museums and houses where tourist can become acquainted with their art and work.
As one of the most picturesque and romantic cities worldwide, Venice has an undeniable presence of works from all branches of visual arts and literature. Shakespeare’s tragedy, ‘Othello’, is set in Venice, as well as countless films such Casanova, James Bond and Indiana Jones. More than 100 pieces of visual art are connected to Venice, including a large quantity of video games.