Thursday, 10 July 2014

Our Time in Venezia

Using Bologna as a home base for our day trips has turned out very well. Our train left the Bologna Centrale train station at 9:20 a.m. and by 10:30 we were already purchasing a day pass for the vaporetto in Venice, which came in handy for sight seeing as well as transporting us around town. Rick Steves" guide was right on, directing us to turn right as we exited the train station in order to locate the booth with vaporettos that offered a longer and more scenic route to Piazza S. Marco.

Ride on the vaporetto is surprisingly smooth, given the turbulence caused by maritime traffic and the narrowness of the waterways
Gorgeous scenery surrounds the traveller on Venice's waterways
Having last seen Venice from afar when on a cruise four years ago, it was a treat getting up close and personal with the life of the city. On the vaporetto, it was easy to discern the tourists from the native inhabitants. We couldn't imagine what it must be like to live permanently in a city where travel by boat is an every day occurrence. One might go to work, have dinner at a friend's home, or shop for groceries, all requiring some form of travel by water; such a different way to live than what we're used to.

After a forty-five minute vaporetto ride to Piazza S. Marco, we hit the reality of the crowds! It felt like CN Exhibition on Labour Day.  We were expecting this, true, but perhaps not to the extreme extent that presented itself . The day was cool enough that the warmth of the sun was most welcome as we sat with a cappuccino and map to orient ourselves to the insanity of the maze that is Venice. As we began our walk, Charles went nuts taking photos of the amazing statues, sculptures and structures in this gorgeous piazza.  He was particularly enthralled with the winged lions :)

The winged lion, understood to be a traditional symbol of Venetian power

Another representation, they are all over the place!

The beauty and magnitude of Piazza S. Marco is difficult to portray in photographs!
The experience of taking in the incredible art, history and culture of a city like Venice is impossible to describe and surely leaves a permanent impression on the soul. However, also memorable was the fun of getting lost in the back streets of Venice as we searched for a restaurant called Trattoria de Bepi where we wanted to have lunch (also a Rick Steves" recommendation -Charles is really sold on this guy and I must admit, if grudgingly, that his guide has come in handy on numerous occasions).

More food porn :) yummy eats and great atmosphere at Trattoria Bepi on Salizada de Pistor, Venice
Although we opted not to take a ride on a gondola, we were most impressed with the strength and balance of the gondoliers. We must have watched with mouths open for fifteen minutes, completely bemused at their skill for moving gondolas filled with passengers through the canals with one oar.

Venetian canals are teaming with gondoliers who labour to provide entertainment for tourists's their job
At the end of the day, we tried S. Marco one more time, hoping that the crowds might have dissipated.  No such luck!  Although somewhat better, it was still insane at 6:30 p.m.

One final memory, we got a taste of Italian stormy weather just as we were making our way to the train station.  Strong winds, rain, thunder, lightening, you name it. We heard the next day there was a huge storm that caused damage in the north of Italy.  Luckily, we were not at the centre of it.

Next post, Florence.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like your holidays are fantastic. You could easily take hundreds of beautiful photos just in Venice. Glad you weren't in the big storm. Enjoy Florence.