21026 Venice


Built on over 100 islands in a marshy lagoon at the edge of the Adriatic Sea, Venice has a skyline that rises from the water to create a unique architectural experience. There are no roadways or cars in the historic city; instead 177 canals crossed by over 400 bridges give access to innumerable narrow, mazelike alleys and squares.

The Buildings

Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) spans the Grand Canal at the heart of the historic city and was built between 1588 and 1591.

The single-span design with a 24 ft. (7.5 m) arch included three walkways: two along the outer edges and a wider central walkway between two rows of small shops. The entire structure was built on some 12,000 wooden pilings that still support the bridge over 400 years later.

Bridge of Sighs

Designed by Antonio Contino and completed in 1602, the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) is an enclosed bridge that passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old city prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.

The bridge’s romantic name is thought to refer to the sighs of convicts as they saw their last view of Venice before being taken to their prison cells.

St. Mark’s Campanile

The 323 ft. (98.6 m) tall St. Mark’s Campanile (Campanile di San Marco) stands alone in the corner of St. Mark’s Square, near the front entrance to the basilica. The brick structure is 39 ft. (12 m) wide on each side and 160 ft. (50 m) tall, upon which sits a belfry housing five bells.

St. Mark’s Basilica

St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) is the most famous church in Venice and the best-known example of the city’s unique Italo-Byzantine architecture.

The current structure is thought to have been constructed between 1073 and 1093. The basilica is laid out in the design of a Greek cross and the tallest of the five domes reach 141 ft. (43 m) in height. 

St. Theodore and the Lion of Venice columns

Two granite columns stand guard at the entrance to St. Mark’s Square (Piazza di San Marco). Both columns are believed to have been erected in about 1268.

On top of the western column is a statue of St. Theodore, the first patron of the city. On the eastern column stands the winged Lion of Venice, the symbol of the second patron of the city, St. Mark.

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