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Venice needs no introduction, it is epitomised quite nicely by the romantic gondola, rowed by an even more romantic gondolier. Then there are the eternal favourites of all Venetian guidebooks, the grand Piazza San Marco, the Basilica of St. Mark and the Doge’s Palace, not to mention the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge.
Follow the cobblestone path
But there is much more to Venice than is depicted on postcards and finding it entails a trip down the maze of alleys that entice visitors to lose themselves. A number of cafes and bars offer just the right jolt to keep exploring the traditional lifestyles and routines of the locals who live here. A narrow alley may lead to a tiny square that abruptly opens up and offers space to relax, have a hot pastry or take a deep breath and try to find the way out. To find the way back to the water’s edge, just look out for the seagulls as they fly overhead in circles and then follow their calls.
The view from the bell tower
A bird’s eye view of the “floating city” is well worth the effort and there are many ways of going about it. It can be achieved easily by taking a helicopter ride from the Lido or by lining up for a lift ride up the bell tower in Piazza San Marco. Better still, the monks of San Giorgio may be prevailed upon to take visitors up to their bell tower, which affords probably the best views of the city of Venice.