Built over a lagoon, upon a collection of over 100 small islands, Venice is a city of extraordinary beauty. The city's scenic canals serve as major thoroughfares, reflecting the people and places that surround its teal waters. Gondolas glide past historic buildings in the pink glow of sunset. The Grand Canal forms the city's main waterway, lined on either side by an array of Renaissance and Gothic mansions, culminating at the Piazza San Marco where the eponymous basilica inspires awe. Bedecked in Byzantine mosaics, the basilica is just one of the city's many artistic treasures, while others await down narrow streets. Each morning, the city comes alive to the call of the gondoliers, while by night, Venetian bars are filled with diners eager to sample local cuisine. The lagoon itself is a thing of beauty, formed thousands of years ago and maintained by artificial means. Several small towns and cities occupy the islands, besides the city of Venice.