Of all the cities that I’ve ever been in I must say that Venice is my favourite. It is like no other city that exists and to me it feels like being on a movie set. Last time we were there we rode a waterbus (vaporetti) around the whole 1- hour route three times. It gave us a great opportunity to observe people as they got on & off the bus and as we motored around the loop I sat in amazement looking at the buildings as we passed by.
Venice dates back to 421 and is constructed on woodpiles. As wood does not decay under water these woodpiles have become like stone and most are still intact after centuries. The foundations rest on the piles and the buildings above these footings. Flooding occurs frequently from the Adriatic tides usually in the winter time. Many of the buildings have lost the use of their ground floors due to water damage and you can see where the water has risen above the doorsteps. We were there in the fall once and had to leave St. Mark’s Square early due to the water which was rising up over the steps of the Cathedral. Dreadful to witness this.
Only about 60,000 people live in the historic city of Venice but 270,000 reside in the City of Venice. When we were there we met an American who had moved to Venice 7 years earlier and she loved it. Guess she must be fluent in Italian.
The most well-known area of Venice is Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square. Here there are many pigeons and they encourage the tourists to feed them! There are many little restaurants in the square and most offer entertainment. It is quite an experience to sit in St. Mark’s Square sipping a Bellini (sparking wine & peach puree) listening to some romantic music.
Another great thing to do in Venice is to climb to the top of the Campanile, the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica located in the square (piazza). What a view from up there! Venice is sometimes called the City of Bridges as there are over 400 bridges. These join up the 177 canals. You can walk for miles within the city on the narrow streets and passages, however, no cars can manage it. The most famous is the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal. There are several shops on the bridge for buying gold and other jewelery. The Rialto Bridge is in one of my pictures.
There is a train station on the edge of town called the St. Lucia Station. Good place to stay near as you can eat at a reasonable price in the station and still walk to St. Mark’s Square without spending an arm & a leg for the hotel. The train station is near a vaporetti stop. The waterbuses or vaporetti is the recommended way to get from one place to another if it’s a bit too far to walk. There are also water taxis available. These are fast but quite expensive.
Venice is also referred to as the City of Masks. The Carnival of Venice takes place every year two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday. The next time will be March 9, 2011. Many shops in the area sell masks in beautiful colours and designs.
For the shoppers it’s a must to buy a piece of Murano Glass. Al & I brought back two wine goblets and they are a delight to drink from as the glass is so smooth. I also chose some glass earrings made by a Murano glass specialist. If you visit the Belagio Casino in Las Vegas you will see the most exquisite ceiling display of glass flowers! These are all hand-blown! Truly a work of art! I love glass art as every piece is unique.
For the romantic, a ride in a gondola is in order. You may even be serenaded. The gondola is the most well recognized mode of transportation in Venice and some even have seats of velvet. When you do get to visit Venice I hope you experience the “wow” that I did. I love it!!
I didn’t mention the pizza – guess you have to go taste that for yourself! Enjoy!
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