There are many places in the world to see,visit and experience; yet there are only a few and in fact only one that I can say will give you the feeling that you are dreaming and you will need to pinch yourself to make sure that’s it’s not a dream when you see Venice for the first time.
It’s sheer beauty, the baroque architecture and magnificent Palazzos in rich earthy colors,reflecting off the shimmering waters of the Grand Canal,makes Venice somewhere that you will never leave behind; intoxicating and romantic, this glorious city on water is like no other place on earth; no wonder it’s has inspired so many writers and artists – Peggy Guggenheim created an ongoing landmark in Venice with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the most renowned museum in Italy, for European and American artists to exhibit.
Inaugurated in 1980 it features Peggy Guggenheim’s personal collection of the 20th century and is located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former home,on the Grand Canal in Venice.
Although Italy is full of Piazzas, no where will you be treated to a place like St.Marks square in the heart of Venice; one the most photographed landmarks in the world, defined by surrounded walkways of baroque arched columns framing the imposing giant square.
During the season,St. Mark’s Square is filled with people and pigeons; feeding the pigeons in the square is a popular activity.You can visit St. Marks Church or go to the top of the Bell Tower where you will be treated to spectacular views of Venice.
After visiting some of the sights, stop for a drink at the historic Caffe Florian or Caffe Quadri, both of which feature, live open air orchestras playing in the square – full classical orchestras entertain you while you sip your proseco at an outdoor table, or if you prefer you can choose the cafe that features a cool jazz orchestra on any given day; a soulful experience, indeed.
Every region in Italy has it’s own produce and cuisine, the Veneto region is well know for it’s delicious dishes and fabulous wines,but even more for it’s pastries; many pastry shops line the narrow alleyways offering trays of freshly baked cakes, one being the famous strudel influenced from the northern parts of the country. Don’t leave Venice without sampling the pastries.
Yet Venice would not be Venice without it’s Gondoliers, showing their artful balancing style perched right at the end of their Gondola’s, a traditional Venetian rowing boat, all wearing their recognized trademarked, navy and white, horizontally striped Gondolier tops.
Gondolas were for centuries the chief means of transportation within Venice; called traghetti ( ferries )today their primary role, is, as a means of transport and to carry tourists.
I had always used the bridges when going from one side to the other of the Grand Canal; however I learnt, only during a recent trip, via a friend, that there are seven points on the grand canal in between the bridges, where a Gondola service takes you from one side to the other,for just 50 cents; just hand to the charming Gondoliero who will hold his arm out to steady you as you get on and off.
I found the whole experience absolutely enlightening and a quick,easy way, to cross the canal and be treated to spectacular views at the same time.
If you catch the traghetto near to the Rialto market in the morning you will see the local women who do this daily with their shopping bags, standing all the way, with their experienced sea legs.
Whether your coming to Venice for the sites, the art, the food, the music, the gondola ride, or all of these pleasures – which is usually the case, you might like to try renting a self catered apartment which seems to be the new way of traveling when looking for Venice accommodation; saving on expensive hotels and experiencing the city like a local, shopping at the open fruit markets docked at the canals and doing some home cooking, without the obligatory need to eat in restaurants.
Many people are finding that renting an apartment in Venice; you may be lucky enough to find one with a canal view, gives them more space at more affordable prices than a a hotel.