The Thing about Venice
Updated: Oct 3, 2022
THE STREETS OF VENICE
You can drive (rather easily) all around the suburbs of Venice. However, once you cross over to the island there are no streets. Canals run up and down, between and through the City of Venice, with only sidewalks as a way of foot transportation.
When you picture Venice, you undoubtedly picture a gondola floating along the canals. These carefully designed boats date back to the 11th century and were once used as the primary form of transportation between the islands. Gondoliers represent one of the oldest trades in Venice, and they must complete rigorous training before they can take tourists around the canals. With 150 canals running through the city, there is just as much to see by boat as there is on foot. The city itself was built on several small, marsh-like islands, which helped to create the intricate canal system and floating city effect.
You might think canals are so much easier to maintain than streets – bet you didn’t know that the canals have to be maintained as well. In some areas, they have to consistently be dredged.
Getting around Venice is surprisingly easy. Once you arrive, you will find no shortage of boats to take you around canals. Hop on the Vaporetto (public transportation boat) for quick and easy transport along the Grand Canal and neighboring islands. If you want something a little more efficient than a gondola but more relaxed than the Vaporetto, look for the classic Venitian water taxis. Some even offer private tours around Venice!
As of this publication, you can take a 30-minute gondola ride during the day for €80 (at today’s exchange that would be about $80.80, or a night ride for €100 (about $101). Let me advise you, if you get car sick or seasick, you might want to be prepared. Depending on the traffic, the water can get pretty rough.
PIAZZA SAN MARCO - AND BASILICA
It’s kind of like St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, you get a special kind of feeling when you’re here.
The Piazza San Marco in Venice is one of the most historically significant locations in the city. If you stand in the middle and look around, you will find yourself surrounded by significant landmarks of Venetian history. The San Marco Basilica (St. Mark's Basilica) is unmistakable, but take notice of the three flag poles in front. They are former ship's masts that once represented the kingdoms Venice conquered. The Florian, on the perimeter of the piazza, is also considered to be the oldest café in Europe. What other hidden facts will you uncover when you visit Venice? Realize that unless you arrive early, you’ll undoubtedly have to wait for a table. There are plenty of other cute cafes in the plaza.
I cannot think of one single thing I would not try in Venice as far as cuisine is concerned. Here are a few things I did try. How about you?
Italy is known for their delicious pasta and decadent desserts, and Venice is no exception. Cited as the home for many fan favorites, including the Bellini, Venice is a food lover's dream. After indulging in a plate of risotto al nero di seppia, be sure to save room for a delectable fruit tart, gelato, or fritole, which is a fried doughnut that is popular in the region.
Although not the first bridge built in Venice, the infamous Rialto Bridge is the oldest in Venice. First built as a pontoon bridge (floating bridge) the Rialto Bridge has been rebuilt several times. After being built as a wooden bridge. Maintain was difficult on a wooden bridge, as it was partly burnt in 1310, and in 1444, it collapsed under the weight of a crowd rushing to see the marriage of the Marquie of Ferrars. It collapsed again in 1524.
The bridge that stands today was designed by Antonio da Ponte, and construction began in 1588 and was completed in 1591. Some predicted the bridge would face future ruin, but it has defied its critics and is one of the architectural icons in Venice.
Now I know you're ready to go to Venice and check it all out! Who can blame you. What is the best way to do it? How about a Mediterranean cruise. You can end in Venice, and stay a few days.
And who can help you plan it? I can, and I will. Just text, call, email, or DM me to get started. Cruise lines are already selling for 2024 - so don't "miss the boat" and start booking now.