Photo Courtesy of Peter Dench
Without the lagoon between its great palazzos, churches, and museums, Venice wouldn't be Venice. Even those averse to this isolated Italian city have a modicum of respect for its modest beginnings, its nautical empire, and its spectacular ingenuity for finding ways—day in and day out—to live by the whims of the sea. The city's distinctive neighborhoods and barrier islands are resplendent with marble-clad buildings and statuary that tell the story of the extravagant rise of this maritime power. In all seasons, the city manages to find excuses and make time for celebrating its deep traditions and the influx of creativity that flows into its borders each year.