Venice

Venice – 3 deep visits to a fabulous city

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To see Venice is a marvelous city with the additional detail of water replacing tarmac.

Life in the water flows naturally  inviting us to face surprising details.

It’s funny to see weddings (and funerals) flowing in the water as common roads.

​It’s funny to see people parking boats at their doors.

We quickly get acquainted to waterways as the main displacement mean, but… workers on water? Where were them? Diving?

​It was Venice, and far from Carnival.

We quickly get acquainted to waterways as the main displacement mean, but… workers on water? Where were them? Diving?

​It was Venice, and far from Carnival.

​​The Main Avenue

Grand Canal
Grand Canal

In my first visit to Venice, I was impressed by… a funeral.

A boat with a coffin in the middle, surrounded by flowers, crossed the canal.

Natural… It’s main street.

However, it’s strange, the way the water separates things, and at the same time joins them, in a different way.

​No visit to Venice is complete without a trip in Grand canal.

​All the ways lead to S. Marco

Venice
Venice - 3 deep visits to a fabulous city

Summer or winter, under the sun or heavy rain, even when flooded by “aqua alta”, this splendid square is always filled with people and pigeons.

The harmony of the buildings give intimacy to the large square, and the monuments share the space with heavy commerce. It allows a strong sensation of dipping in history, only broke by the noise and movements of the crowds.

Website: Grand Canal

The Cathedral

Venice

Located in the square where everybody goes, the cathedral is, of course, a must see. A fabulous example of byzantine art, it deserves a detailed observation either of its beautiful exterior either of its rich interior. Permanently shaded and crowded, the observation is not easy, but its possible to admire the rich combination of stones (and gold) that makes each square inch a piece of art.

Website: San Marco

​Doge’s Palace

Venice
Venice - 3 deep visits to a fabulous city

Right in S. Marco’s square, this palace, together with the church, composes one of Venice’s most celebrated images. As a matter of fact, I’ve been in Venice at least 4 times, and never entered more than its yard.

It’s a question of priorities (and companies – changing company you have to rewind priorities), but I always leave Venice swearing: “Next time I DO have to enter”

Website: Doges Palace

​Campanile

Venice

One of Venice’s landmarks, this tower, almost 100 meters high, is a temptation.

From the top… Well, after 8 € and variable but generally long time in the line, you will find out that… it was not so good.

​The narrow windows are well protected and allow only a limited sectorial view in each direction. You may see the island’s location in the lagoon, and… roofs. Come down. Venice is very beautiful seen from the ground level. You could have spared time and money, didn’t you?

Venice

​Rialto

Venice

Rialto is mainly known by its bridge, that is not exactly a bridge: It’s a landmark, a commercial hub, a meeting point, and… yes, the most beautiful bridge over the Grand Canal.

Website: Rialto

​Salute

Venice
Venice - 3 deep visits to a fabulous city

Religious promises or thanks giving, are, in many occasions, the basic reason for some artistic monuments. Batalha, where I got married is my closer example, and Santa Maria della Salute is another one. In 1630, facing the plague, the Venetian Senate promised to build a church in honor of the Virgin Mary to stop the plague . The plague was really stopped, and the Venetian authorities honored their promise having built the church in Dorsoduro, by the Grand Canal. Baldassare Longhena, the architect, conceived a octagonal basilica, combining elements of Venetian Byzantine architecture with domes inspired by St. Peter’s in Rome. The sights from the Grand Canal are wonderful, and visiting it’s easy and free, with a vaporetto stop just in face of it.

Website: Salute

​Scalzi

Venice
Venice

The “Chiesa degli Scalzi”, or Church of the Barefoot Ones, is named after the Barefoot Carmelites monks who have been in this church for more than three centuries.

​Built between 1660 and the early 18th Century, the church, facing the grand canal, stands as one of Venice’s most beautifully and ornately designed churches, with a facade designed by Giuseppe Sardi.

Address: Cannaregio, near the train station

​Riva dei Schiavoni

Venice

The quay east of San Marco is a quiet and open space to walk, far from the crowds, with the gorgeous views of St Giorgio Magiore, Salute and Giudeca in the opposite islands.

Statues and palaces line the walkway that ends near Arsenale and St Helen’s island.

Website: Aesenale

​Wells of Venice

Venice
Venice

Venice is a city on the water, but… how to get potable water?

A very ingenious system collected the rain across filters to large cisterns in the centre of the squares.

​The water was then drawn up in buckets, under severe hygienic control.

Nowadays the system has been abandoned, but the wells remain, most of them real pieces of art, and all contributing to “tell” the history of the city.

​S Nicola Tolentino

Venice
Venice

The neglected square and facade invited us to bypass this church.

We didn’t, and it was a good idea.

​Free entrance, but no photo allowed to register the rich paintings of Palma il Giovane and Padovanino.

You have to see them for yourself!

​Market S Barnaba

Venice

This is my favorite photogenic spot in Venice, till now.

​The shape and position of the canals, the location of churches and bridges, living boats, and the people, all merged to compose a wonderful spot in a zone where we were just passing by.

​Gardens

Venice
Venice - 3 deep visits to a fabulous city

Though covered by flowers, in small vases, gardens seem to be a rarity, in Venice.

I remember the trees near Piazalle Roma, the city garden near Arsenal, and… only a few palaces show a small and shy garden.

​Technical problems to maintain them, or is this the consequence of the high prices of each square centimeter of land?

​Murano

Venice

Glass… glass… glass.

Turn north or south, east or west, and you will see… glass, but look closer: where does imagination lead us to?

What are the constraints of glass manufacturing?

​How do they manage to surprise you next time?

Because they will! While they can!

Go and have a look – it’s a wonderful activity, risking to disappear.

Another Murano

Venice

With all my professional life connected to glass, my expectations about Murano were very high.

That’s why I came back a little disappointed. I was aware of the industrial crises, but expected more from the museum.

Anyway, for those who had never been in Corning or seen Baccarat museum in Paris, it is worth the vaporetto trip.I went there again – crisis continues, but it is always an astonishment the imagination and technique used in glass manufacturing.

​A stop in the way to Murano

Venice

In my first visit to Venice I was surprised by a funeral: a boat descending the Grand Canal, with a coffin in its top, surrounded by flowers. An odd show!

Later on I found that it seems to be, really, the only way to make funerals: the cemetery is located in a island, half way from Murano, and boat is the only transport to reach it.

​I never saw it again which means that there is not much people living in Venice, or that they are resistant and healthy. I choose this second option.

Address: San Michelle

​Lido beach

Venice

I know the rules: Never, but never, make a final idea of a beach in winter.

So, this was only a first impression: thin but dark sand, wide beaches and empty restaurants and stalls.

I shouldn’t have gone to Lido in winter! It left me with no intention to return in summer, and I KNOW that in summer, it will be totally different.

Two weeks later I had a dinner with a couple of Canadian friends in Nazaré. Winter in Nazaré! What a difference… But I will check Lido in summer!

Well… almost!

I didn’t return to Lido (yet), but I spent a week in summer in a beach close to it, being almost its continuation – Lignano Sabbiadoro. It’s different… as expected, and as I describe in Lignano page.

​War Memorial

Venice

After seeing the similarities between Venice and Murano, I was expecting something alike in Lido.

What a surprise!

Lido is a modern continental neighborhood, more Mestre than Venice.

Even the unique monument I could see in the island was modern and absolutely different from Venice.

​Built after WW1, this temple is clearly seen when we approach in the vaporetto.

Positive impression Nuova Marlin

Venice
Venice

For a quick meal

We were short in time for a meeting in Murano, and entered this local restaurant because it was close to the place where we should meet, on hour later. Everything worked fine, with no special remarks. Cheap, common, and quick.

Address: Fondamenta Vetrai, 53

Price Comparison: less expensive than average

Directions: Murano

Phone: 041 739131

Positive impression Florida restaurant

Venice

How to choose ?

Food? Restaurant’s name? Price? Who cares with such an ambience? Dining by Rialto bridge was great, before the storm expelled us from the esplanade to the interior of a normal restaurant. Rialto has lots of options (not cheap, as expected), and Florida was not a bad choice.

Address: At the base of the Rialto right on the Canal.

Phone: +39 041 528 5166

Website: Florida

I recommend Bella Venezia

Venice

Good price

The best meal in this trip to Venice, considering the price/quality ratio.

​Good location, near Rialto, good local food, well recommended wine, and a very reasonable price.

Favorite Dish: We ate pizza and a grilled steak.

Address: Lista di Spagna, 129

Directions: One hundred meters from train station

Phone: 041 715028

Doubtful impression Isola d’Oro

Venice

The signs of low season?

Nothing to complaint about the food: it was tasty, and not pricey. But we were the only customers, and the waiter evidenced all the time that he would rather be at home than working. Slow service, lazy look… a sad lunch.

​We were in December, but that doesn’t explain everything!

Favorite Dish: RisottoStake

Address: Just behind the beach on Venice Lido.

Directions: Lido Island

Positive impression Ca Dolphin

Opatija

Good dinner, at a price

A very good dinner that cost us the double of the other meals. Here as almost everywhere in the world, that’s the usual “price” for who chooses grilled fish. However, everything was very good, in a warm ambiance, and the full room was the sign that, this time, we choose well.

Favorite Dish: Grilled sea bass
Address: campiello Corner 5903

Positive impression Hotel Universo & Nord

Perfectly Located

I wanted a cheap *** hotel close to the train and bus stations, and booked this one.

The location is perfect with a short walk (with bags, remember) from bus or train. The facade frightened me: it was one of the ugliest and more degraded buildings in the street.

Inside things have changed: its an old building, and we can feel it everywhere, but it has been prepared to work.

Hotels in Venice
Hotels in Venice

A small room with a fully functional bathroom, no elevator, basic breakfast.

It would be better rated as two stars, but we have paid according to the lower standard.It is at the end of one of the busiest streets of Venice, which means that you have all close to you.

Address: Lista Di Spagna 30121 Venice

Phone: 0039041-715233

Website: Universo

Hotel7 Ausonia Hungaria hotel

Hotels in Venice

Beautiful from outside

Looking at this strange and beautiful facade, I asked myself why Lido is not commonly suggested by travel agencies as a lodging alternative to Venice and Mestre. In summer it’s easy to understand that the prices will rise, but in winter wouldn’t it be interesting? Hard to reach? Maybe!Next time, if out of season again, prior to reserve anywhere else, I will check the prices in Lido. Ausonia is perfectly located close to the vaporetto arrival.

Address: Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta 28, (formerly Hungaria Palace Hotel), Venice, Veneto, 30126, Italy

Phone: +39 041 242 0060

Website: Hungaria

​Gospel

Ronne
Ronne

There was not much to see at night this winter in Venice.

We walked a while, searching for live music somewhere, but we only saw a few tiny bars spilling wine into many noisy but not musical tourists.

Suddenly, someone came out the church of St Geremia. Strange, at that hour of the night!

​We entered, and found a choir in a gospel performance.

​Unexpected, and a good detail to end the night!

Venice
Venice

​Bridges

When I was young I practiced much sport. That allowed me to understand the true meaning of the obstacles in the 3000 meters race.

The hurdles, the wall, the trench are very easy to transpose when you start, but, turn after turn, they become “higher” and “wider” and their sight mean from a challenge in the beginning, to a nightmare when approaching the end.

Venetian bridges, are a blessing in the morning, allowing us to cross all the wide or narrow canals, but after a day walking around, when you walk back to your hotel, look at their size.
Much bigger… right?

​Vaporetto, my dear… vaporetto!

​Cheap Carnival

Memories of Venice
Memories of Venice – Carnival

Funny thing:

While in all Europe, in December, commerce is directed to Christmas, Venice is already selling… Carnival.

Yes, if we search for it we may find some gadgets included in Christmas paraphernalia, but the core business in early December is already masks and costumes.

That means two things:

  • Venice is not a child’s destination
  • Venice’s Carnival keeps being a special event.

I tried to discover the price of the beautiful costumes in display – no way! Either they were only displayed for decoration or the price is so frightening that it is only announced by demand.

​The masks are very expensive, as expected, but in some popular stalls it’s easy to find something alike, for half the price. Unbranded, of course, no guaranty, doubtful quality, ordinary design, but… it’s carnival.

​What’s the problem?

​Dusk colors

Venice
Memories of Venice – Dusk colours

It happens that all my visits to Venice took place in winter or spring. That way, I always saw a rainy or grey town.

The balance between dusk and artificial lights allowed, in my last visit, this good picture of Rialto by my friend Paulo.

It’s interesting to see the face of town changing so deeply and quickly, and, no matter the weather, each direction you look or picture has its own beauty (if you forget degradation…).

​Maintenance

Venice
Memories of Venice – Maintenance

One of the bad points of Venice is the degraded look of most of its buildings.

​However, when you think at the hard conditions faced by those who work in the maintenance of the facades to the canals, it’s easy to understand that the work cannot be done as often as the lovers of the city would appreciate.

​Illumination

Venice
Memories of Venice – Illumination

The beauty of most Venetian’s buildings is an invitation for light games, enriching the night.

Surprisingly, even before the crises, the lights were dimmed, and the illumination was discreet and subtle.

Is that intentional, to increase the intimacy of the spaces or… anything else?

​I don’t know, but for a badly equipped photography lover, it’s a small frustration.

Warnings or dangers Warnings in Venice – Dusk

Sudden dark
Memories of Venice – Sudden dark

Dusk comes early and quick in winter.

In my previous visits to Venice I didn’t notice it, but this time, the first one where I had the chance to see Venice under a clear sun, it didn’t last long, and at 4 PM it was getting dark.

A common thing for people from the north, but strange and sad for us, Mediterranean people!

I still miss Venice under a bright sun, but I tried to get the best of the city even in the dark!

​Art in Venice

Business in Venice is… tourism, glass, carnival and art.

I can imagine a large market for the first three things, but I can’t figure out to whom do they sell the thousands of art pieces in display.

I didn’t check it but… if they are reproductions their prices may not cover the costs of so many stalls, so many people, so high expenses; if they are original… my God!

Passing in San Marco I noticed something connected to Dali.

To buy in Venice
To buy in Venice

I didn’t check it but… if they are reproductions their prices may not cover the costs of so many stalls, so many people, so high expenses; if they are original… my God!

Passing in San Marco I noticed something connected to Dali.

It was!

Of course, a reproduction of a watch of Dali, at the entrance of the art gallery, was an appealing idea, but I looked inside, and behind it, two Picasso…

No!

Reproductions, for sure! But, to pay the rent in San Marco how much should they cost?

​Don’t ask me! I didn’t take the risk to see. Be careful!

Vaporetto

Special transports
Special transports

The best way to move around Venice is… by foot, but distances are not so short, and when we get tired a transport becomes a blessing.

​Bus in Venice is vaporetto, a ship that stops in both sides of the grand canal and with carriers to the other islands. Though stopping quite often, the efficient work in docking saves time, allowing a trip quicker than expected. There are several tickets, so it’s better to plan the visit before buying.

Website: Vaporetto

​Gondola

Special transports

A part of each people’s imaginary, gondolas are present all over Venice.

It seems that their only use now is travelling tourists for the mandatory pictures.

I never used them, but from the bridges it is easy to notice something missing in the cliché: the boatmen don’t sing anymore.

​Well, with so many tourists around maybe that must be considered a progress towards peace of mind…

​ Dusk

Sudden dark
Memories of Venice – Sudden dark

Dusk comes early and quick in winter.

In my previous visits to Venice I didn’t notice it, but this time, the first one where I had the chance to see Venice under a clear sun, it didn’t last long, and at 4 PM it was getting dark.

A common thing for people from the north, but strange and sad for us, Mediterranean people!

I still miss Venice under a bright sun, but I tried to get the best of the city even in the dark!

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