Italy: Day in Water City Venice

Travel Date : 22nd June 2013

Location: Venice (Venezia), Italy

{ Previous Post on how we arrived and the hotel we stayed in: ‘Road-Trip to Venice’ }

How We Got There

From the hotel, we walked a short distance to the nearby bus-stop to wait for the bus. The bus took us across the Causeway, running beside a rail transport to reach the historical city. It was exciting to see the buildings as we approached.

The Sights 

1. Water and Boats Everywhere

Alighting at the bus terminal, we stood there for a while admiring the Venice we had heard so much about.

First impression is exactly as we had imagined and seen in photographs. Large pools of water with buildings built right to the edge of the tiny land they sit upon.

We hopped on to the boat ride known as a ‘waterbus’ after purchasing our tickets. It  would stop at several stops along the Grand Canal and eventually take us to San Marco, a Piazza (city square) with the famous Cathedral.

There was a package on the ‘Venice Card’ but we only intended to take one return trip so did not purchase it.

It was a hot afternoon but a breezy ride as we took in the sight of the buildings along the way. Private yachts and gondolas formed part of the water-traffic.

The noises of the motorboats and loads of passengers spoilt the idea of a peaceful sail-along river ride. Frankly, we saw more people than buildings as it was very crowded at this time of the year.

2. Old Dilapidated Buildings

We all know Venice is an ancient city and it is said to be in a state of elegant decay. The images on the internet has portrayed them in a nice aging way and I was looking forward to getting a good photograph.

Sadly, those turned out to be photoshopped (I suspect) as I didn’t get to see many of them. Sadly, the once populous Venice has a great number of deserted old buildings. Apartments that have rusty gates and peeling paints off the walls. Buildings with a gloomy outlook.

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It took us some walking to finally find a nice waterway to photograph.

I guess we should just set our eyes on those formal European architectures. Those look really magnificent.

3. Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)

The building landmark here would be the Palazzo Ducale (The Doge’s Palace). It used to be the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice. It is now a museum but we didn’t tour it.

Many tourists were here checking out the restaurants and small food stores. We ate our lunch here too after visiting the St.Mark’s Basilica.

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4. St Mark’s Basilica

We were queuing up to enter the huge Cathedral when we realised that it would soon be closed! It happened to close early at 2pm that day. We only had 45 minutes!

Our friend helped us to carry our bags as he was not interested in entering the church. Otherwise, we would have to spend time depositing them and collecting them later on from a security point.

In that short span of time, we managed to squeeze in an exhibition tour on the second level. There was a charge to enter it though and we encountered a rude staff who told us to ‘head downstairs’ if we did not want to pay. We were just asking him what was in there for us to view. They did not indicate at all but just ask us to pay before we could enter.

We decided to just pay and enter. At the second level, we were closer to the interior walls and high ceiling. It was amazing! The walls and entire ceiling were covered with mosaic art using small tiles of different colour pieced together. Inside the exhibition area, there were ancient pieces of art and several items of Christianity. There was also a gallery displaying things of Saint Mark.

It was a pity we did not had time to walk the first level and look at the altar or pray and could only take a glimpse from above.

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An area allowed us to have a bird eye’s view of St. Mark’s Square.

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5. Rialto Bridge 

As we have to make our way on foot most of the time while exploring the place, we went up and down several bridges. Dar loves those bridges and we were exhaustively climbing after him while he happily skipped up and down.

Our goal after visiting the Piazza San Marco was to reach the famous bridge, the ‘Rialto Bridge’ which is the oldest bridge across the Grand Canal. While on the waterbus, we had admired the ancient look but was not pleased with the large advertisement banner hanging on it. Why did they want to destroy our visuals?

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We wanted to get on it like so many other tourists to get a good view of the surroundings.

How To Not Get Lost

  • I had downloaded a map of Venice on my handphone and we managed to get an idea of the location to head towards. Otherwise, you would need to purchase a map at the tourist’s office.
  • Next, as we walked, we noticed signboards pointing to ‘Rialto’ and followed them.

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  • There was even a shop at a corner that had a LCD signboard pointing to the direction. I guess the shop owner must be fed up with many tourists asking for directions.
  • When we reached places with no clear directions, we asked people who were coming towards us whether they had come from Rialto and confirmed our directions.

Reaching the area, we were pleasantly surprise to see the area bustling with shops and interesting souvenirs. We managed to get a good shot of ourselves and a good view of the scenery. We lingered a while there.

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[Memorable Stuff ]

1. Took Some Fun Shots

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2. Searched for good photography points

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3. Tried Two Italian Food

[ Lunch ] We specially went into an italian restaurant along Piazza San Marco just beside the Cathedral to taste authentic italian Spaghetti. It was really delicious to me and tasted quite different from what I’m used to back home.

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[Snack] Vin and Dar tried the italian ice-cream, Gelato, from one of the shops in the Doge’s Palace Building. Many people started buying when they saw Dar eating it in front of the shop.

Dar eating Chocolate Ice-Cream

[Drink] As it was really too hot, we quickly finished our two bottles of water and had to buy new bottled drinks. It was really expensive at Euro 2.50 for a soft drink! We noticed people drinking and filling water at a fountain but we didn’t dare drink this way without boiling.

Other Foodstuffs We Saw:

4. Bought Italian Souvenirs

The trick to buying souvenirs at a tourist place is to look for shops further away from any center place of interest. As all the shops sell the same range of souvenirs. We found a shop further down the Rialto Area that sold souvenirs at a cheaper rate. We bought things like Venetian Mask Magnets, Venetian Fridge Magnets and a nice lady fan.

It was near evening time that we left Venice. It has been a long day of travelling in the car and walking non-stop. We decided to take the bus back to Mestre and have our dinner there.

Overall, we felt Venice was a nice and special experience for us but enough for a day’s visit.

It was great for us to visit it for the special architecture once in a life time but beware of overcrowding and overpriced stuff. It also doesn’t seem too romantic when there are so many people blocking your views.

{Next : Italy: Enchanted by Verona Part 1}