It’s been a while since I posted – and even longer since I posted something on travel.
In October 2012 I travelled across the north of Italy, starting in Venice, then travelling to Verona, Milan (with a side-tripe to Lake Como) and then to the gorgeous Cinqueterre.
Venice is, it is true, very touristy. But I love touristy places. Being surrounded not only by locals, but by travellers from the world over. I love that everything is there, available to the tourist, when you want it. Being able to wander around and just pick a restaurant when you are hungry without having to book in advance. I love the touristy shops, displays and the sightseeing, all available and on tap. And I love that everyone is so patient with my very poor language skills – after all, I am unlikely to get fluent in every language for every place I want to visit.
And we were lucky enough, arriving in the beginning of October, to miss the height of the tourist season, when Venice is packed, but still got good weather.
Venice, like all the best tourist cities, is a city for walking. Yes there are the famed canals, and a multitude of water craft to choose from – the very expensive gondolas (85 Euro for a 40 minute tour through the canals, with specific sights pointed out – Casanova’s House, Marco polo’s House, Mozart stayed there, etc), the comparatively cheap water buses and easy to use (20 Euro) or water taxis. However, having experienced all of these, wandering through the back-streets of the city centre will show you the sights as you (and, it has to be said, hundreds of other people) discover quiet canals, picturesque bridges and charmingly distressed buildings.
And of course, high-end shopping. Every designer worth their salt has a shop in Venice. Quite how they manage to save their stock and their shop-floors in the regular flooding – well I don’t know. But window shopping in this town is amazing.
Venice is also known for Venetian glass – or more accurately, Murano Glass. The Island of Murano is one of many that make up the city of Venice. A scenic water bus journey of about 50 minutes, or if you are in a rush, a water taxi of about 10 minutes, away, and a variety of glass techniques, glass blowing, and much to buy from museum grade pieces to cheap necklaces and tiny glass animals.
Below is selection of some of the best of my many (many) photographs of Venice.
Tables with a water view…..
Venice sinks at about 1cm per year, so the buildings are constantly under strain as they sink unevenly into the mud. Many Venetian buildings have damaged facades from centuries of slow subsidence, which only adds to the charm.
The famed Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal. Note the traffic on the Grand Canal, where slow moving gondolas do battle with water buses, water taxis, private vehicles and the Venetian equivalent of trucks – boats moving everything from building supplies to retail goods to post office delivery trucks.
Gondola station on the Grand Canal. There is a centuries-old law that says gondolas must be black.
Water buses leaving and approaching the floating bus-stop at the Rialto Bridge, on the Grand Canal.
Traffic on the Grand Canal, lined with restaurants and gondola stations.
View along the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge.
Parking lot for gondolas. Just to the left around the corner is the Hard Rock Café.
Piazza San Marco, viewed from a gondola.
Another view of Piazza San Marco from the gondola
One of many quiet canals, viewed from under a bridge.
The Island of Murano, where Murano glass is made.
Shops in Murano. The entire island seems to be glass shops, souvenir shops, and restaurants.
Main canal in Murano Island.
Main canal in Murano island
Murano. We had lunch at the restaurant on the right, under the white canopy.
Canal in Murano Island, taken from a bridge.
Canal in Murano Island, taken from a bridge.
Gondoliers ply their trade on the Grand Canal near Piazza San Marco. Photo taken from a restaurant. Note how many people are in the one gondola out in the water. Given the price, this is not a bad solution!
Gondola station near Piazza San Marco
Detail of one of the shopping arcades that line Piazza San Marco.
Basilica San Marco, and tourists. A moth after we were here, the entire piazza was underwater in one of their frequent Acqua Alta – which appears to be a very high tide. News photographs showed people in bathers floating over the top of the chairs in the foreground.
Tourists in Piazza San Marco, and the very distinctive pink glass street lights.
Gondola station near Piazza San Marco (another photograph taken from a restaurant table).
Venice is a town for walking, with narrow laneways, stepped bridges over smaller canals, occasionally opening up to massive stone churches, elaborately decorated (above and more detail below)