Add canal waterways to cobblestoned pathways and find yourself in the dreamiest city on the planet. Venice is literally a floating oasis, made up of a collection of more than 100 individual islands linked by a network of bridges.
As if a serenaded gondola ride weren’t enough to transport visitors to another place and time, a hauntingly beautiful stroll through the alleyways leading to Piazza San Marco will leave you breathless from the journey through the centuries. St. Mark’s Basilica itself is the gleaming jewel of Venice. Awe-inspiring mosaics shimmer from floor to ceiling, covering more than 86,000 square feet of the brilliant Byzantine church’s interior. After being dazzled by the artistry of St. Mark’s, a quick visit to an Italian “bar” for an espresso will provide just the jolt you need to go out and encounter the rest of the city—shops displaying trinkets and Carnevale masks await, as well as secluded restaurants serving the best risotto you’ve ever tasted.
From private rooms in canalfront homes to full-size apartments with patio gardens, there are innumerable opportunities to live like a local for a few days at airbnb.com. For slightly less adventurous travelers, there’s the famed Gritti Palace, a recently restored luxury hotel dating back to 1475, once used as the residence of the Vatican ambassadors. The palazzo has a prime location on the Grand Canal and immerses its guests in opulence and Venetian culture. Room prices start at $475 per night. TheGrittiPalace.com
The city of Charleston conjures up images of horse-drawn carriages bumping over cobblestone streets lined with trees heavily draped in Spanish moss. As the oldest city in the state of South Carolina, there’s much to see, do and learn in this charming and popular tourist destination.
A walking tour is probably the best way to check out all that Charleston has to offer. There are a number of enticing options available when it comes to seeing the town on foot, from spooky historic tours to those that explore the city’s many culinary delights. Here in the heart of the South, there are plenty of opportunities to experience both the ghosts and the goodies— and just about everything in between. Do yourself a favor and find out firsthand why Travel + Leisure magazine readers rated Charleston the number one city in the world.
The Wentworth is a family-owned hotel and inn with service as gracious as Charleston itself, featuring amenities like a luxurious spa and boasting an awardwinning restaurant—all just a stone’s throw from the antique district, as well as the unique shops, galleries and boutiques of historic King Street. Restaurant Circa 1886 (a nod to the inn’s birth year) is located in the former carriage house of the mansion and has been called one of the most romantic spots in all of Charleston.
Plan your visit in time for the decadent Valentine’s Day Dinner, or treat yourself to a special holiday experience with the Dickens Dinner. Room prices at the Wentworth range from $450 to $800 per night. WentworthMansion.com