Venice

After all the pictures this week of water where there really shouldn’t be quite so much water, I thought it would be nice to show a place where the water is supposed to be there.

In early May, my sister took a birthday trip to Italy, and we started in Venice.  I met her in Venice and we did touristy things together.  The weekend was intensely busy, so I’m not going to write a blow-by-blow travelogue for this one, I’m just going to talk a little bit about each of the pictures I’m posting here, in no particular order.

The airport in Venice is on the mainland, not on the island of Venice.  To get to the island, you can take a water taxi, a vaporetto (a sort of water bus,) a train, a land bus, or a taxi.  Wheeled vehicles can’t go past the very front edge of the island, so the most direct way to your hotel is a private water taxi.  It’s pricey, but it’s really worth it.  Plus, you get views like these.  The first one is looking back at the airport, and the second one is my sister enjoying being in Italy.

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I refer to Venice as an island, but it’s actually roughly 118 small islands connected by canals and tiny bridges.  The one famous snaking s-curve of canal that everyone knows is the Grand Canal-  this is what everyone thinks of when they think of Venice, and it looks like this from sea level.

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We took the water taxi to the hotel, dropped our bags off, and headed immediately to the Royal Garden near near Piazza San Marco, which is a lovely little garden and a great place to stop for some peace and quiet.

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Piazza San Marco is the largest open courtyard space in Venice.  There’s a couple of giant pillars facing the sea-  they used to execute people there by hanging them between the pillars.  There’s also an enormous bell tower that you can climb.

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These long white buildings were originally official offices for the people who ran Venice.

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The Basilica of St. Mark is hugely impressive.  The Doge’s Palace sits off to the right.

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Inside the Basilica there are tremendously ornate mosaics with real gold inlaid into the tiles.  It’s pretty stunning to see.

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Near the Basilica is a recently restored astronomical clock.

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You can climb the bell tower for a small fee, and the views of the island are fantastic from the top.  For example:

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Back on the ground, there’s a small canal where you can see the Bridge Of Sighs in the background.  It’s the enclosed bridge in the background of this next picture.  You can’t walk across it from the outside, because it connects the Doge’s Palace with the prison building next to it.  You can see it from the inside on a special tour, though.

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Two very common things to see in Venice-  Gondolas and street musicians.  There was street music everywhere.

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In every city I’ve visited, there are street performers and buskers also.  These people pose for pictures.  Taking a picture of them without tipping is considered rude… oops!

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The docking posts with stripes or colors are privately owned.  The ones without are “anyone can park here” tiers

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This is the stairway at the hotel we stayed in.  The office, check-in desk, and breakfast room is at the top of these stairs.  Our room was pretty near the bottom of these stairs.   We did a lot of climbing in Italy.

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The famous Rialto bridge is one of the larger pedestrian bridges in Venice.  This one spans the Grand Canal, and it’s wide enough to have shops in the center of the bridge itself.

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This is a Vaporetto, or water bus.  There are several different lines that cover getting around Venice quite nicely.

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Our hotel was in one of these buildings, right on the Grand Canal.  I’m still not entirely sure which building it was, though.

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The gondolas were very nice, and they were all uniquely ornamented.   It takes three months to build a gondola-  they are custom made out of eight different types of wood, fitted for the specific gondolier who will be rowing it.   The metal ornament at the front is usually a counterweight for the gondolier standing at the stern of the boat. Because each gondola is balanced for the specific gondolier, if the gondolier gains more than about 10 Kilo, he will need a new boat.

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Have you ever been on a gondola?  Was it in Las Vegas, or Venice?

9 thoughts on “Venice

  1. Great photos! I went to Venice once, but we didn’t get to go in a gondola. It was December, so cold, and the people I was with weren’t really interested. I would love to go back and have a less rushed look at the island.

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  2. I only went once and found the stench of the city quite a turn off. I’ve also been in Vegas, but found the real Venice to be rather Vegas-y with all the tourists and souvenir crap. Still pretty though and worth seeing since it’s sinking and all.

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  3. Amelie

    When I was in Venice, I had the worst allergies to I’m-not-sure-what the entire time I was there. It was kinda funny, because I had a nose bleed from hell that went unnoticed for a good ten minutes until a kindly lady inside the Basilica pointed it out. 😛 Slight repeat in the Accademia, which kept me from doodling, but for this little art nerd, Venice is still was one of the most beautiful places, ever. 🙂

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