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Get out of the gondola to truly make Venice a highlight of your tour of Italy

Though widely known for its iconic canals and gondolas, Venice has much more to offer than this unique mode of transportation. The city's storied history is evident around every corner, and exploring the streets on foot is often regarded as a highlight of Italy tours. Regardless of where you go during your time in Venice you won't be disappointed, but there are several spots in particular that stand above the rest.

St. Mark's Basilica is one of the most recognizable buildings in Italy, and with good reason, but simply admiring its stature from afar is not good enough. You should make your way inside this iconic structure and take the trip up the Loggia dei Cavalli. Though the stairway up may seem like a challenge, the pay-off is certainly worth it because it offers the chance to see the church's stunning mosaics up close. Not only that, but you're presented with a view of both the interior of the basilica and St. Mark's Square below. 

Some of the architectural highlights are not as imposing as St. Mark's Basilica. Venice is also home to many stunning bridges that connect each of the city's many islands, and nearly every one is a testament to the impressive skill of those who built them. Among the most impressive is Rialto Bridge, which was constructed in 1591 and is still in use today.

Perhaps the most famous of these structures is the Bridge of Sighs. More than 410 years old, this limestone bridge is not only famous because of its unusual appearance but because of a legend that says couples who kiss on a gondola going underneath it are guaranteed eternal love. 

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