Ever since I can remember my Mom wanted to travel to Venice with my dad. But years went by, my parents never really had time for travelling. My Mom had already given up on going there with my dad but instead she wanted to go with her daughters. So she said but never actually did. This year I took matters into my own hands, booked a guesthouse via Airbnb and made travel arrangements so she could finally see Venice with her daughters (and my boyfriend. we had to take a male buffer with us.).
Venice is with around 270,000 people (of whom around 60,000 live in the historic city of Venice) the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated in the Northeast of Italy across a group of over a hundred small islands. With its many canals, bridges, beautiful architecture and artwork, the city is listed as a World Heritage Site.
In the early hours of a Friday morning at the end of July we took our car and went on our little journey to the South. With a quick stop in Udine to explore the city and another stop in Caorle so my Mom could see the sea (for the first time in her life) we arrived in Mestre – the center and most populated urban area of the mainland of Venice – where we had booked our guesthouse.
Venice by night.
After a quick refreshment we hopped on the train to have dinner in Venice and already explored the city a bit. We were able to find a cute little restaurant in a not so touristy area (is this even possible in Venice?!) and had huge pizzas with an obligatory glass of wine (or more). Then we strolled around for a bit, crossed the Rialto Bridge, which is unfortunately currently under renovation, reaching the Piazza San Marco and having a look at the Bridge of Sighs. So we even saw Venice ‘in the dark’ (with slightly less tourists around) without sleeping on the island.
On our ‘real’ Venice day we got up early-ish, headed over to the ‘City of Canals’ with the train, and had a breakfast with a view at the Canal Grande. The Grand Canal is the major water-traffic corridor of the city and you have the option of taking water buses, taxis or gondolas. The Canal Grande is lined with buildings that date back from the 13th to the 18th century with beautiful facades, representing the former Republic of Venice. However, we decided to just walk around in the beautiful streets, explore some (non)touristy corners of the city by foot. We also got our own private little boat ride across the canal for free due to a little misunderstanding with a local who was unable to explain the taxi system due to his lack of english communication skills so he just took us with his boat across the canal.
Piazza San Marco
You cannot visit Venice without visiting the overcrowded Piazza San Marco. It was quite hot that day so at the centre of the Piazza there were hardly any people – perfect for taking pictures!. Only under the archways and right next to the St Mark’s Basilica were loads of people, as those were the places where it was bearable to stand (as sitting was strictly forbidden. ts.) on such a hot day.
On the East side of the square is the St Mark’s Basilica, which is adjoined by the Piazzetta dei Leoncini (named after two marble lions, now officially Piazzetta San Giovanni XXIII). Further along the square (counterclockwise) is the Clock Tower (completed in 1499), followed by a long arcade that is known as Procuratie Vecchie (built in the 16th century), former home of the procurators of St.Mark in the former Republic of Venice. The arcades continue at the west side of the Palazzo, which is the part that is known as the Ala Napoleonice (Napoleonic Wing, rebuilt by Napoleon in 1810). Another left turn of the arcade, the building is known as the Procuratie Nuove (16th & 17th century). Next building on the Piazza is the Campanile of St Mark’s church (first erected in the 12th century) – the bell tower. Adjacent to the bell tower is the Loggetta del Sansovino (16th century), which was used as a lobby by patricians. Strictly speaking, that’s it. But then there’s also the Biblioteca Marciana, the Grand Canal, the Piazzetta di San Marco, the Doge’s Palace and the Porta della Carta right next to the Piazza San Marco.
In the hope of a sea breeze we spent some time walking along the seaside with a view at the Isola di San Michele – the cemetery island. It was indeed much chillier than in the city centre and very beautiful. Yay!
Walking around & exploring
On our little walking tour we also stumbled upon the ‘famous’ bookstore ‘Liberia Acqua Alta’, which is a must-see for book-lovers and people who like the ‘unusual’. There’s even a gondola in the middle of the bookstore. Plus we got a friendly greeting of a black cat at the door. At the end of the store you can climb up a book-staircase and have a look at the canal. Beautiful! For more information & more pictures – just have a look at this blogpost that I found.
Our little Venice adventure was better than expected! I didn’t expect the city to be so charming even though it was the middle of the summer and the place was full of people. I really want to revisit Venice – next time in the winter season to see a totally different side :)
What’s your take on the City of Bridges?