Venice; A Unique Beauty

One of the most Unique cities of the world, a city of water canals & bridges, with no cars, buses or any type of vehicle allowed in it… The only means of transportation is either “Boat” or the most basic means of transportation; “Walking” J Both of them are really pleasant! Let’s explore Venice… I’ll tell you about the details of my trip there…

As soon as we got out of Venice airport “Marco Polo airport”, me and my friend took a taxi (an ordinary taxi :D ) just at the exit of the airport. It derived us to the last point cars can reach… remember, there are no cars allowed in Venice; only boats Wink We then took the public transportation water bus (“Vaporetto” as they call it in Venice), which is a public transportation water bus that sails in the main water canal of Venice; the “Grand Canal”. The Vaporetto has a lot of stations covering many parts of Venice, but all its stations are in the Grand Canal. It transferred us to the closest station to our B&B, where we left it as it couldn’t get us any closer, since our B&B was at inner small street on a very narrow canal that the vaporetto could never get in due to its tight width. 

The Gondola

To get into Venice charming, small, inner canals you can take either a water taxi, or the famous “gondola” (that wood, narrow, long boat, sailed by a gondolier who’s wearing a stripped T-shirt and a black hat Big Grin), both will take you from the wide “Grand Canal” to the narrowest canals in Venice, so you can enjoy the uniqueness of the city and watch its buildings and streets from within, while enjoying a water trip. However, we took our baggage and decided to walk to our B&B instead of taking a water taxi or a gondola. I believe it wasn’t a good decision at all… We pulled our baggage through Venice ancient cobbled streets and through a lot of little bridges that cross Venice canals… that was the hardest part of the trip since each little bridge (or “ponti” as they call it in Venice) consisted of stair steps upward then a flat part and stair steps downward, so we had to pull the baggage up the stairs of the pontis and then down the stairs again to cross the canals. This was repeated for each ponti! We finally reached our B&B, checked in our room and immediately started exploring the city Smile

If you are not that much into water trips, don’t worry, walking Venice old streets and alleys is also a super pleasant experience! get ready to take Hundreds of mini-bridges (or “ponti” as they call it in Italian) crossing Venice canals, get inside some exceptionally narrow alleys, where some of which allow only one person to pass Wow 

Stroll through Venice old authentic streets that are full of gift shops, restaurants, bakeries, cafes, small cozy hotels and inns (Sometimes they call it “Locanda” in Italian) and beautiful old houses with flowers hanged on windows. Almost Each square has a very old church, as this was the tradition in Europe long ago, as well as a fountain of potable water that people can fill their bottles from and drink it. Venice still keeps this authentic tradition, so get ready also for visiting a huge number of churches while in Venice, to enjoy their old historical atmosphere.

San Marco Square

The main square in Venice is Saint Mark square (“Piazza San Marco” in Italian). It’s the biggest square in the city, located on the start point and the widest part of the Grand Canal, it hosts the very famous, beautiful Saint Mark’s Cathedral (“Basilica di San Marco”) with its lovely architecture and sculptured details on its outer facades. On the inside, the basilica is a lovely piece of Italian art; rich paintings on the inner ceiling and inner side of domes, mosaics on inner walls and marble on inner floors… a mix between medieval parts that could manage to live till date and contemporary parts used to replace the medieval parts that were damaged through centuries. 

This photo is downloaded from internet through "Pinterest"

After enjoying that impressive piece of art and getting back to San Marco Square, the artistic ambience is still there, where in the square you’ll find the beautiful Doge’s Palace, various classy cafes and restaurants where music bands play live music while people enjoy their meals or drinks. just be aware that those cafes and restaurants of San Marco Square are really expensive compared to the cafes and restaurants in the small side roads and small squares of Venice ;) I remember quite well that a cappuccino costed 3 Euros at a small café close to our B&B but it costed 14 Euros in a café at San Marco Square Shocked… Seeing such prices, we left at once without ordering anything! location makes a difference Big Grin  take some time to get inside the lovely San Marco Church and to walk around the square and enjoy its classy artistic atmosphere. 

This photo is downloaded from internet.

The Grand Canal

A few meters from San Marco Square, you can find the Grand Canal of Venice; the widest water canal in Venice historic complex, making an S-shape through it. That’s where the public transportation water bus (Vaparetto) sails, transporting people to the 6 neighborhood of Venice; San Marco, Dorsoduro, Castello, San Polo, San Groce and Cannaregio. You can also visit the 6 neighborhoods of Venice on foot. There is a gondola stop at the Grand Canal, very close to San Marco Square, where you can rent a gondola. When we asked about the rates, we were told that a gondola costs 40 Euros per hour and can take up to 6 persons in one ride (so those 6 persons share the 40 Euros). I believe the gondola is the more interesting than both; Vaporetto  and water taxi, as the “gondola” is much slower than than both of them, so it gives a better chance of savoring the experience!  

Islands Close to venice

Burano Island

There are 118 islands that lie in the Venetian Lagoon of the Adriatic Sea, close to Venice. It’s called the Venetian Lagoon as those islands on the map are forming the shape of an ellipse, enclosing a big lake (lagoon) within, with only few water spaces between those islands, making links between the Venetian Lagoon & the sea. I visited 3 Charming little islands of them; “Murano”, “Burano” & “Torcello”. We made the 3 of them on one organized trip that we booked online before we go Venice. The Vaporetto “Public transportation water bus” (Please check the previous post :D ) also goes to those 3 islands, where it can be taken from the Vaporetto station close to “San Marco” Square. After going on an organized trip, I recommend the Vaporetto since it passes periodically, so it gives you the freedom to decide the time you pass on each of the islands, as in case you like a specific island too much and you want to pass a longer time there, you can simply skip many Vaporettos and finally take one after you’re done with that island, unlike the organized trip where we were given a certain duration to stay on each island. Sometimes that duration was not enough to fully explore the island.

Murano Island

Glass manufacture workshop

It took us about 30 minutes in a beautiful marine trip from the Grand Canal start point (close to San Marco square) to reach the first island; Murano.

Murano island is mainly about the Marvelous glass industry; it hosts the main factory of the precious Murano glass, which manufactures extraordinarily stunning decorative glass products, with marvelous creative shapes, eye dazzling colours and top quality clear glass and… very expensive prices :D Don’t miss Murano glass factory experience even though you don’t want to buy any glass product; the experience itself is really unique and the displayed products are real master pieces of fine art that cannot be seen anywhere else Wink they also sell little pieces of Murano glass as rings and accessories that were much cheaper than the decorative pieces. Unfortunately, they do not allow photos inside the glass products display areas! They only allow photography and video shooting in their workshop that shows – live - the basic steps of glass manufacture. I loved a glass vase there that had the shape of a deer, in yellowish orange colour. I asked about its price, to my great surprise, the price was 18,000 Euros! Hearing such a price, I believed it was time to leave Murano Big Grin Went back to our boat to complete the marine trip.

Burano Island

The second boat stop is Burano island; originally, a fishermen island. It is a very colourful place, full of brightly coloured houses, shops and cafes. It also has an inner water canal where you can see fishing boats. As soon as you step there, it is as if you entered into a lovely, brightly coloured painting! It has also a little leaning tower, of course cannot be compared to the one in Pisa, but still nice to watch! In Burano, you can find a lot of sea food restaurants, cooking fish according to the Italian cuisine; remember it’s a fishermen island Wink it has also got Murano glass souvenirs like rings and other accessories at low prices (unlike Murano island Wow). Shops in Burano also sell lace fabrics. Don’t miss that colorful experience, it really refreshes one’s soul to pass some time in such a bright place!

Torcello Island

The third boat stop is Torcello island. This is a very serene place that also has a water canal with trees on its both sides and a lovely old brick bridge crossing it. Photos on that brick bridge are lovely! There are some elegant restaurants on the island with lovely gardens but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to try them, that’s why I’d recommend the Vaporetto for this trip Wink and It also has a very old little church that could be considered a symbol of simplicity, through its inner brick finishing and simple metal stringed cross. At the other side of Torcello, there is a serene lake surrounded by trees, which completes the beautiful, delicate atmosphere of Torcello. Once you finish strolling in Torcello, just head back to your boat that will take you again on a lovely marine trip back to Venice.  

The old, simple, beautiful church of Torcello

Masks

Venice is famous of masks Big Grin While strolling in Venice’s 6 neighborhoods, you’ll see their amazing masks, being sold in almost all gift shops there. Some masks fully cover the face while others just cover the eyes, some have feathers, some represent famous movie characters… a wide variety of masks, in addition to the variety of mask colours. I Bought some of those masks as souvenirs of Venice. 

Food

Needn’t mention that while in Venice or any other part of Italy, the pizza and pasta could be considered the official food all through the trip Big
 Grin The Italians have a wide variety of pizza and pasta, with different additives and ingredient mixes. Italian cuisine lovers will have an extra privilege Wink They usually serve thin pizza with some burnt parts at its bottom Big Grin When I first ordered pizza in a restaurant in Venice, I wanted to replace it with another one as the pizza bottom was slightly burnt! The waiter told me there was no problem to get me another one, but it would also be burnt the same way, as the ovens used in Venice usually make the pizza like that!  

Good Bye Venice!

Water Taxi on the left

After 2 complete days in this unique city, when it was time to leave, there was still one more exotic experience to try… The water taxi Smile we learned from our arrival day that crossing “pontis” with baggage is not the best option, so we called a water taxi… it turned out to be a small motor boat with leather-covered chairs in a closed cabin and a smaller open area. The water taxi reached us through the small canal right in front of out B&B. We loaded our baggage & went on that lovely, last marine trip to the airport of Venice.

Venice was really unique since the first moment we stepped into it & till our last moment in it Wow 

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Kind regards

Mai