Venezia

12 Nov

Our handmade, paper-mache Venetian masks!

Mitch and I had the awesome pleasure of spending our last long weekend in Italy in the mysterious and beautiful city of Venice, or Venezia in Italian. After a bit expensive, but very comfortable ride on a bullet train we arrived at the main train station, San Lucia. We had a bit of an antsy situation when we arrived at our hostel, 45 minutes outside of Venice. We decided to try our luck at finding a hotel/hostel closer to the city center and headed back toward the island. Funny part about this our attempt… either 5 hotels were fully booked on a Thursday night in November, or Mitch and I looked super sketchy that night! We finally decided to just send me in to ask and for Mitch to stay outside with the backpacks and… SUCCESS! Thank goodness, because I was seriously coming to terms with sleeping under a bridge 🙂 It worked out in our favor because the suite was the only room available and they gave us a deal. We had a beautiful view of one of the canals and was very nice. Actually, the nicest room we’ve had in Italy. So now that we had a bed to sleep in, we could be off to enjoy the city!

The beautiful multi-colored homes of Burano

That evening we just walked around exploring the narrow alleyways and poorly lit corners. It’s part of the ambiance of Venice, the city definitely has a darker side. Everyone went on and on about how expensive Venice was, but we really didn’t find that to be the case. Rome, Florence and Venice are all equally expensive, I mean they make their money on tourists so that is to be expected. People spend more money in Venice because they are so many dazzling things to spend your money on! Murano glass, hand-painted masks and romantic gondola rides to name a few. Friday morning we woke up early to get a head start on sightseeing. We bought 12 hour water taxi passes and went to both Murano and Burano islands. Mitch and I fell in love with glass blowing 2 years ago at a Chihuly exhibition at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, TN. That being said, Murno was amazing! We were able to watch glass-blowers at work, and marvel at everything from 6ft tall chandeliers to the smallest, most delicate flowers. From Murano we went to Burano which rather than glass, is famous for bright and fun painted homes along the canals. It is safe to say Burano is a rather picturesque site.

One of Venice’s canals

Next we took our next best alternative to a gondola ride, the public water taxi system down the Grand Canal from the top of the city at San Lucia to the bottom of the city at St. Mark’s Square. Even with the hordes of people and loud engine, the sights along the canal are awesome. One of my favorite aspects that displays that character of the city are the uniquely painted poles that are in the canals to tie the boats to. Many are painted different colored to represent the different families that own them and the corresponding building. It is awesome to see so many families still upholding the tradition that used to be an important indication of family ownership. It’s funny the slight alternatives that we’re willing to take because we’re pinching pennies, but it really works! We’ll take our romantic gondola ride when we come back and aren’t planning a wedding haha It was an awesome hour on the water and we ended at the Byzantine Basilica of St. Mark and enjoyed the chapel. Venice was a center of trade for hundreds of years and because of the Venetian merchants, Venice has a large international influence and you can see it evidently in the architecture. We proceeded to walk through the city up to the Rialto Bridge. We had been told of how beautiful it is, but even more beautiful is the view from the bridge. We shopped a bit and than caught some gorgeous views of the sun setting behind the city and Grand Canal. The sun is setting rather early this time of year so we knew we needed to get all of our daylight sightseeing done early. That evening we found a very cool wine bar, nice restaurant with reasonable prices and  bar full of touring Americans. It was a very fun and relaxing evening wandering from watering hole to watering hole in the city.

Sunset over the Grand Canal on the Rialto Bridge

On Saturday we booked our tickets home in the morning for 1:30pm and spend our last view hours visiting various museums and churches in the city. We visited the Scuola Grande di San Rocca, Accademia Galleries and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. We were on a hunt to see Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man and because we recieved various spots that it could be located it felt a bit like a wild goose hunt. When we got a fairly confident answer that the print was at the Accademia we went and after hunting the whole museum were told that yes it was at the museum but “too precious to be on display”. Ahhh!!! 5 hours and tired feet later, Venice is lucky that we were able to hundreds of priceless works of art and Leonardo inventions along the way.

Venice isn’t the easiest city to navigate with over 400 bridges connecting some 118 islands. The best way to get around is to simply follow the few signs in hopes of finding your end goal. I’m a huge fan of these routes, actually my friend Allie and I love to get lost when visiting cities on our travels. This is great on days when you don’t have a time schedule, however we had a train to catch and walking back up to the train station Mitch and I got remarkably lost. This is rare for us, but non the less sent us sprinting across bridges and through throngs of tourists to make it to our train with 4 minutes to spare. It’s hard to believe that a mysterious city like Venice can be as real as the pictures, but it truly is. Mitch and I loved wondering through the tight streets and discovering the beauty of Italy’s Venezia.

Farmers market on the water! Awesome!

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2 Responses to “Venezia”

  1. Mom November 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Looks like a great trip!! So glad you were able to visit this enchanted city!! See ya soon!!!

  2. Vicki Chryssos November 12, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Didn’t I tell you that you’ll fall in love with Venezia. One of my most favorite places. Will visit it when I remarry. Ha!!!! :-). Keep enjoying everything that wonderful land has to offer. Love ya! Momma Vicki

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