The last three centuries have brought little change to Venice scenery. The Italian city seems frozen in time, and being there has much in common with acting in some fabulous theatrical production. From magnificent Basilica San Marco to romantic gondola rides, here’s the ultimate guide to this cradle of renaissance.
As soon as you leave the airport, you immediately find yourself in unusual conditions: you’ll most likely be moving in the city area by a boat rather than a four-wheeled transport – from the public vaporetto to the lovingly decorated gondolas with singing gondoliers. Not something you experience every day, right? Spending a day or two here is certainly not enough: you can be misled by roaring crowds, get tired and, as a result, never truly feel the place. Scratch beneath the surface, breathe it in, and you’ll never want to leave. Crowds, by the way, dissolve in the evening, leaving you surprised at how quiet and at the same time majestic is Venice. At night San Marco square turns into a ballroom with seemingly burning candles around the perimeter. And on some cool morning, no one but you will hear the bells ringing and witness a slight fog over the water and empty gondolas that are swaying on the waves. 
The history literary follows your every step here. Giacomo Casanova, Carlo Goldoni, Marco Polo and Antonio Vivaldi were born in Venice. Look behind every corner and you’ll find an architectural masterpiece. Countless palazzos bear the marks of former luxury, hundreds of significant paintings of the Italian Renaissance are hiding in the churches, as there were such masters as Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Giorgione and others. The museums have some best works of art in the history of mankind, and many of them offer exclusive programs after the official closing hours. So, you can get private excursions to the Palazzo Ducale and the Basilica of San Marco, as well as see one of the most important collections of the 20th century, assembled by Peggy Guggenheim in her palazzo. 
Don’t forget about the surrounding islands: in Murano one should look at the art of glass blowers, in Torcello go to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta for its preserved IX century baptistery and magnificent mosaics of the XII century, in Burano enjoy the houses lovingly painted in all colors of the rainbow. Spread across the Adriatic, Lido is known for its sandy beaches, prestigious hotels and Art Nouveau villas. Every September Lido hosts an international film festival. Anyone can buy a ticket or even a subscription and get to the hottest premieres while been in one hall with the cast. Impressions for the next year are guaranteed! 
Perhaps, while you were wandering around the bridges and streets, museums and festivals, there was no time for shopping. However, in Venice, this option of leisure is extremely diverse. All major fashion brands are concentrated around the St. Mark's Square, and of course the city offers a lot of unique shops with locally produced goods, including mandatory Murano glass, Venetian lace, olives, and cheese.