The wonderful world of Venice, Italy

Venice, a part of Italy that many Venetians consider a separate country, and it that is hard to argue with as it is much different than most other parts of Italy with the many canals and no personal vehicles allowed. Walking Venice is a wonderful and even romantic way to see the sites, as you wander from island to island over the many canal bridges maybe getting “lost” in the streets and alleys. Which is fine, as it is small enough, you will find your way eventually and there are so many things to see. Even at night it is fun to explore and discover something you didn’t see in the day in this nearly crime-fee city. When you want to rest, there are city squares to sit in or have a delightful glass of wine at an outdoor café and people watch. If wanting to go a further distance than wanting to walk then ride on a waterbus (Vaporetto), taking in the views of the often unusual architecture, while hopping off and on in different areas of the city.

Vaporettos also travel to some of the more distant islands that you can tour in one day. The first is Murano where glassmaking began in 1291 A.D. You can, for free, watch glassmakers crafting this stunning glassware.  Very interesting is a visit through one of the glass museums such as the Harvester & Toso Museum. Of course, although you won’t be pressured, you can always buy a piece or two.

Burano, is fun to walk around and look at the houses that are painted in bright colors. It is, also, the island of Venice’s lace making and there is an interesting lace museum. Next, go to nearby Tocello and visit the beautiful cathedral with stone and gold mosaics and a tower than is easily walked and worth doing to take in the island views and the lagoon. There is a good shopping area and a walk to the beach let’s one sit and rest a bit or stroll in the low waters of the Adriatic.

Back in the “mainland” there are many choices of places to see and visit again by walking or traveling on the Vaporetta through the Grand Canal. St. Mark’s square or Piazzo San Marco is the biggest square full of places to visit such as the historical Doge Palace for example. Having a drink and/or something to eat is best in the center of the square where you can view the architecture, listen to the hourly bell, the dueling café orchestras and, watch the thousands of pigeons that nearly cover the floor of the square. The square is on the lowest island in Venice which can be rainy so bring an umbrella.

There are 354 bridges in Venice, with the most famous being The Bridge of Sighs named for the sighs of prisoners who walked over the bridge to be put to death. At one end of the bridge is the Rialto Fish market, which is just huge with a nearby flower and vegetable market.

Even if you are not an art aficionado, a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum offers a chance to see famous contemporary art by great artists such as Pollock, Picasso, Duchamp, a number of fine Italian artists, and more. The Venier House of Lions Palace (which was never finished) was bought in the 1950’s by Peggy Guggenheim who spent her life collecting modern art for her museum.

Then if you desire a further dose of art take in Venice’s most important art collection, of Venetian artists from the 14th to 18th centuries, at the Gallerie dell’Accademia. You can, also, visit the Correr Museum, full of important pieces of various types of art and many other objects.

Along the Grand Canal are a number of palaces, some of which you can go inside, the most magnificent being the Ca’d’Oro (Golden House) with its fine collections and a great view from the balconies.

Then there is the food, of which a favorite of Venetians, are the “cicchetti” (little appetizers). There are lots of types including “soppressa” (a salami), fried crab, boiled egg with anchovies, and rice balls with fillings. Many Venetians enjoy sitting on a bridge over a small canal, especially in the late afternoon. Just go to a nearby tavern, point at the “cicchetti” you want, and enjoy with a glass of wine, of course. Then pay when you are done.

There is so much more to eat such as seafood cooked in different ways and pastas, the “risi e bisi” (rice with peas). After the first course, don’t forget a second course, which is a must. No matter what you order, whether in a romantic dark restaurant or perhaps an outside café, you’ll want to enjoy eating in Venice, with, of course, a great and easily affordable wine.

Don’t forget (which is nearly impossible) to take a romantic and fun ride on a Gondola, especially at night, while serenaded by your Gondolier.

There is so much more to see and do in Venice, so one trip isn’t enough. But that is fine because after visiting Venice once, you will surely want to visit again.

Ricky May is Editor of Holiday 365.

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Comments (4)

  1. Georgina Ball says:

    I’ve been to Venice before and it’s lovely! And you’re so right about the food, mmmmm, you’ve made me want to go back there just reading about it.

  2. Lisa says:

    Venice can be extremely still despite the dramatic tourists stream. If possible, I recommend visitors go away from the tourists stream, as Venice can be sometimes a tourist trap. Away from the most beaten path Train Station-St Mark Square, there are plenty of tranquil alleys where you can find the real Venetian life, and eat decent-not-for-tourists food, like cicchetti or such. The rule is the same anywhere in the world, eat where locals eat, isn’t it?

  3. Mark Schaaf says:

    As many bridges as are in Venice there are almost as many churches with 149, although when in Venice 2 years I was told there were over 400 but I couldn’t find anything to support that information. Many of the churches are free to go in and some are on church tours. No mater whether you have to pay or get in free all the churches are wonderful inside with paintings and sculptures everywhere. Looking at most of them from the street they didn’t even look like churches and many we went in were a big surprise with there beauty. One interesting bit of information I found on the internet is the average tourist visiting Venice stays for only one day and having been there for three I can’t imagine the next time I visit Venice staying less then a week. Like I say a great vacation comes with research and planning.

  4. Lisa says:

    Mark, what you were told about bridges is correct, in Venice there are exactly 417 bridges. On churches, I actually do not know..I will take some info about.

    You may be interested in some curious facts and numbers about Venice:

    Facts about Venice

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