Venice is home to Vivaldi, glass blowing, the birth of the Renaissance art movement, and of course, the masked Carnival. This north-eastern city of Italy and capital of Veneto, sits on 180 small islands connected by canals and bridges, and has enjoyed immense wealth throughout its history, both as a powerful maritime nation and a hub of commerce.

Venice had the economy to support art and artists, and support them it did. As a major port of trade, it easily found ready markets for the plethora of decorative arts the Venetian craftsmen produced.

Modern times paint a different picture, however. In recent years, the Venetian population has fallen so drastically that in 2009, locals staged a mock funeral for a city on the brink of becoming little more than a tourist mecca.

Even so, today in Murano you’ll find the art of glassblowing is alive and well. Meanwhile Venice’s livelier districts, evocative of days gone by, can be found in its six central districts (sestieri).

Dorsoduro, for one, houses some of the most picturesque canals and palazzi, and boasts fabulous art showcases. The district’s hub is Campo Santa Margherita. In the daytime you can enjoy a bustling market, children playing, antique stalls, locals walking dogs, a supermarket and cafes. In the evening the Campo becomes Venice's liveliest nightspot.

If you’re moving here, prepare to shift down several gears. The pace of life is unhurried and cars are of another world, so relax and adjust to a rhythm of life based around walking, water taxis and vaporetti (small barges).

Lounging in cafes on Venice’s famous piazza’s relaxing to the strains of small orchestras, strolling along the Zattere (a long promenade along Venice's southern shore), and appreciating the bounty stowed in Venice's great art gallery, the Academia, are just a handful of pleasures that Venetian living has to offer.