The city of Venice (Venezia to the Italians) stretches across numerous small islands in a lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. It has a population of about 272,000. Lord Byron called Venice "a fairy city of the heart" and it has earned the nickname La Serenissima, "The Most Serene." Venice is a unique cityscape of well-worn buildings that seem to float on water and marble steps that descend into lapping waters. Inhabited since the 6th century AD, Venice became a major sea power during the Crusades and a center of commerce and art during the Renaissance. Positioned at the crossroads of the Byzantine and Roman worlds, Venice acquired a unique heritage of art, architecture, and culture. Today, the hordes of traders and merchants that swarmed Venice have been replaced by tourists, but there is so much to see here that you can still have the "real Venice" all to yourself in the many charming alleys, churches, bridges and piazzas hiding just off the beaten track. And even San Marco is quiet if you get up early enough!
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Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Venice
St. Mark's BasilicaA Byzantine wonder that looks more like Istanbul than Italy, the 11th-century Basilica di San Marco is covered in golden mosaics and filled with art treasures.
Santa Maria dei MiracoliThis barrel shaped church covered in marble slabs is a favorite among Venetians for weddings. Inside, the ceiling glistens with golden miniatures of holy figures.
Santa Maria della SaluteOne of the most well known churches in Venice, this Baroque church at the entrance to the Grand Canal houses a precious Byzantine icon and works by Titian and Tintoretto.
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei FrariA Franciscan church built in 1330, I Frari is best known for its masterpieces by Titian and other artists.