Riding the Canals: Travel In Venice
These days Venice is generally known for its glass, canals and gondolas, but that doesn’t mean that is all there is. Venice is also one of the more exquisite places to see some beautiful Italian sights, due to the large investment of artists of all types living among the canals and other parts of the city.
Not only will you find churches, but palaces and waterways or art galleries galore. Not only is it a romantic spot like much of Italy manages to hold, but artistic as well. But where do we start our tour of Venice?
Piazza San MarcoThis Piazza has been given so many names over the years, but the most fitting is probably ‘The living room of Venice’ because there is always some party or festival going on around this piazza, even if it is just the pigeons having a ball. You can find all sorts of things here like the bell tower that you can ascend to get a higher view or the Basilica of San Marco, which is the mosaic church, covered in all sorts of mosaics and holding to the old Byzantine designs that are quite rare today. If that isn’t enough, there is also the clock tower from renaissance time, sporting a few bronze statues that chime each hour. If you really want to enjoy the view and not so much the basilica get there at night or early in the morning so you beat the crowd.
Doge’s PalaceThis gothic-renaissance town hall, which was built over seven-hundred years ago and then rebuilt a few times, sports some great works decorating its halls, from artists such as Veronese and Tintoretto. As an added special you can also take a look at the famous ‘Lion’s Mouth’ slots in the walls on the outside, where people would accuse others of various crimes. Or you can even move to the back of the palace to find yourself at the Bridge of Sighs, which was named so because of the convicts that would pass over it and sigh at their last chance of seeing Venice before being led to imprisonment; that was of course a more romantic view though since it is actually difficult to see out of the covered bridge.
The Grand CanalThis waterway is like the great boulevard for Venice where much action occurs, including the prime real estate for Venice in the form of various palaces that line the canal. You can even pick up a much cheaper option of navigating the Grand Canal through the vaporetto lines, which are similar to gondola rides that can leave off from the Piazza San Marco. This allows you to take in all the sights along the canal while not having to worry about walking the good two mile or so ribbon of walkways along the water. Also you might recognize the area as being used in one of the Indiana Jones films, where they had to receive special permission to cause wakes in a canal that normally does not allow it.
Finally as always, you can take a gondola ride Venice tour although it is often suggested to avoid it due to the fees and that they are just done for tourists these days. If you don’t mind the cost though, and you manage to get a private one, they can certainly be romantic and a relaxing way to get around. Just remember to enjoy those canals most of all!
Sarah Murphy has worked in Dublin for the last two years as a blogger, web content manager and marketing coordinator. A journalist by training and travel junkie by nature, she regularly travels to Italy for both business and to experience some of the tours of Venice, where she mostly spends her time learning how to blow glass from the pros.