A honeymooner’s destination, a city where love & dreams flourished. Love, Lust and famous lovers, the entire history of Venice is intimately linked to Cupid. The singing of the gondoliers echo from house to river and is accompanied by the laughter of children. In short the history of the city is linked to love, art and particularly music.
But, in the Venice I saw…. The Gondolier wasn’t singing ‘that’s amore’ as portrayed in movies and musicals, although he gave us a Venetian perspective of the city. Venice was an absolute tourist hell; expensive and crowded, fascinating yet confusing at the same time. Trying to follow one’s progress on a map too was confusing.
So we did what we could do best ‘Get Lost’.
It was easy, since all the buildings kind of look like the same, in water. But as we got off the tourist trail, I discovered there’s much more to this charismatic city.
Travelling in Venice:
The city introduces us to the Grand Canal. Water-way is the only medium of transportation other than foot. By foot, there are bridges built to connect the canals, although very confusing for tourists even with maps.
We travelled from Florence, Florence station to Venezia S. Lucia, leaving at 08:30 am reaching 10.35 am. The train was a Frecciargento. Most tourists prefer to tick off Venice from their bucket list when in Rome and prefer spending a day in the city, but I had only till sunset.
What to see at Venice:
The Bell Tower:
Most churches have a bell tower in Venice offering a picturesque view of the city & the skyline. The most famous and the tallest of them is the Bell Tower of San Marco Piazza at 98 meters. We climbed up the top of the tower of Saint-Mark for a higher perspective of the Adriatic Sea and its shores and was well worth it.
St. Mark’s Basilica:
Churches are everywhere and the melody of their bells is unavoidable. Of them the most famous Roman Catholic cathedral is the St. Mark’s Basilica.
The Gondola ride:
In one of the most romantic water cities, travelling down the Grand Canal by the vaporetti (a fancy Italian word for boat) is an absolute must. There are different types of waterways available in Venice. The couple Gondola prices range from 50-100 Euros, depending on your negotiation skills. The Gondola ride takes you through some of the landmarks of Venice, at a slow & heavenly pace to savour the essence of the city. And the manoeuvring skills of the gondolier through those thin canals is commendable.
The Rialto Bridge is one of the 4 bridges offering a breathtaking view of the Grand Canal. The Rialto Bridge is laden with shops and is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the city. The bridge is built on the narrowest point across the canal.
Fancy some glass souvineirs and want to see the glass makers in their workplace, blowing up bubbles of glass and creating fascinating sculptures, then head to Murano. The place is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon. It takes about 20 minute with a water bus ride from Venice city centre to reach the place. Tourists flock to see the glass shops & the colourful houses lined up on this island.
For renaissance art lovers there’s the Gallerie dell’Accademia. The audio guide made our visit very special.
Eat & Drink:
The morning Rialto market is the liveliest part of Venice. This is where locals shop for their food. Often you’ll see them drop by at one of the bars for a drink on the sides of the streets here.
- Try the white wine Bianco De Vinato, the Birra Moretti, and the red wine Chianti classic. The Bellini has become quite fashionable as a pre-dinner drink.
- Pasta is famous with varieties of penne pasta. Begin with a starter (antipasto), and continue with a pasta dish (primo piatto)
- Try the dishes made from lagoon fish.
- A Burano or a Panna Cotta is usual with desserts
- Vegetarians fear not; just ask the waiter if they can prepare a simple dish without meat and usually they’d be willing to do this for you.
- For someone more adventurous, try the traditional octopus dish & the cuttlefish in black ink sauce. It can be cooked in a variety of dishes including pasta.
- A normal meal will cost about €15. Most importantly stick to where the locals eat, to avoid being fleeced and get a glimpse of their food.
- Also try the Baicoli or Ship biscuits for snacks
Cool things to do in Venice:
- Try Venice’s Ghost Walking Tour at night
Venice lives in water and there’s magic with the romance the city exhibits. With lagoons, canals, tiny streets, bridges & colourful buildings, Venice is one of those places you would love to be in.