I am very fortunate right now to be living next to Bath, a World Heritage city situated in the southwest portion of the UK.
Bath is part of a select group of cities around the world that Unesco has dubbed as areas considered so important to the history of humanity, that every street, every building and the complete landscape need to be protected for the entire world to see.
Bath is beautiful, but one of her sister World Heritage cities is even more stunning in my opinion. That city is Venice, the jewel of Italy.
Why is she such a special city? Well, if you have ever walked down her majestic streets, or witnessed the grace of her buildings, you will understand why.
I am not just talking about the history, I do not reference what has been and gone, even though that is a huge part of the story of ‘why’, but I also mean the present day. But let us start with the past. After all, one of the reasons that Venice is a World Heritage city is her colourful history.
For nearly 2000 years Venice has been at the centre of the development of humanities. She has given birth to artists such as Titian and Bellini, allowed developers and thinkers like Manutius to help Venice grow with his printing press. She has formed empires, waged wars and helped develop merchant routes that expanded the world and allowed Europeans to discover foreign lands and distant cultural entities. She has had an extremely rich past full of glory, sadness, faith and democracy.
Veering to the 21st century, there may not be an empire, nor the pageantry of the once splendid Doge to show you the heart of the city, but that is not to say the heart of this city cannot be found. It can be found in the most amazing restaurants, theatres, art galleries, museums, cafes and so much more!
Venice is still very much alive, and she still has artists that dance, draw and dazzle the visitor. As you walk up and down her beloved canals, you see them commanding the paints as if to capture a moment in time. Her cafes and restaurants deliver some of the best food I have ever tasted. Partnered with eager staff ready to make you comfortable and create a feeling of peace and relaxation, these places are wonderful.
Her museums tell you stories that you will never forget and they make you fall in love with the city all the more.
The culture, the society, the atmosphere and the past that has shaped her waters have led her to become one of the greatest cities in the world.
She might not be as busy as London or as loud and lit as New York, nor as wide and open as Paris, but she is the kindest, most pleasant city that I feel Europe has to offer.
Unesco only protects those things that are at risk of vanishing because they are so important to all of us. They call out and develop plans and policies so that the heritage of today can be reclaimed and safe housed for the generations of tomorrow.
Venice is one of a very select group of cities in the world deemed important enough to see it protected and saved. So the next time you walk around the canals, eat at her cafes, or see an exhibit at one of her museums, remember that the eyes of the world watch over her, thinking of her protection, always.
–Aaron Crossley is a Heritage Professional, writing and commenting on how governments and organizations protect and conserve our global heritage. He is a duty manager at a historic house in Bath. Follow him on Twitter and read his blog on Venice at http://keystovenice.wordpress.com/
Concierge tip: Enjoy the most romantic city in the world with a historical tour of the Doge’s Palace and a special dinner in another private palace. This Venetian Signature Experience can be arranged for you by our concierge when you book a stay at Baglioni Hotel Luna.
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