It seems that every place in Europe has their own Venice – ‘Little Venice’, ‘Venice of the North’, or something along those lines. I can think of areas called that in the Alsace region of France, and cities I’ve been to like Copenhagen, Bruges, and Manchester have been compared to Venice as well….Manchester, really? I think anyplace that has more than one canal gets this comparison, but I finally got to see the real thing.
As the title of the blog indicates, Venice is one of the most picturesque cities I’ve been to…where so many scenes could be postcards. This is a city for photographers for sure, as it’s hard to take a bad picture here, probably even with a disposable camera – do they still make those or am I showing my age? I usually laugh when someone says a city is ‘good to get lost in’, as I hate getting lost anywhere…but Venice is the first city I’ve seen where that phrase fits. It seems that every time you duck down another alley, you come out to something beautiful on the other side. There were some amazing moments where the streets were so quiet…and it was just you, a bridge and a canal.
Flying into the Treviso airport was cheaper, but it was further away from the city than the more convenient (and prettier) Marco Polo airport. Transport to Venice from Treviso wasn’t as grueling as I expected, but then I was confused when the taxi driver I found said he couldn’t go to the hotel. I was perplexed, and thought ‘this is Venice, right’? After inquiring again, he told me he couldn’t get there because of the water, and that I needed a water taxi…first time I’ve ridden on one of these….cool! Arriving at the hotel gave the first ‘postcard’ view, as the window led directly to a beautiful canal.
In the morning it was off to Piazza San Marco, the main square in Venice. The walk there was interesting, as carnival was going on at this time, which meant many people were dressed in all kinds of crazy outfits and masks…definitely reminded me of Mardi Gras. The Piazza was as advertised, and my first stop was the Basilica di San Marco. This was your typical, grandiose Italian church, but the views of the square from the top balcony were the real attraction.
Directly adjacent to the Basilica was the Palazzo Ducale, which had some of the most gorgeous ceilings I’ve seen in Europe.
The best views by far were from the Grand Canal, which I saw by both gondola and water taxi. The gondola ride costing 70 euro was a bit steep, but hell you only live once, right? It made me think of the Woody Allen quote from ‘Everyone Says I Love You’, when he finds out that his daughter plans to quit college to be with her Italian boyfriend, who’s a gondolier. “Let me tell you what rhymes with gondolier…no lira.” Not sure about this with the prices they charge! The ride was awesome, and I ended up in quite a few tourist photos I think as we passed under a multitude of bridges.
Where I got the best pictures was the water taxi ride back to the train station. During the day this is an incredibly scenic journey, as it takes you by so many Venetian-style homes, other boats in the water, and even goes under the famous Rialto bridge.
Thinking back on the food here, I can’t really say I had a great meal. That’s my fault, as when you get to touristy areas like this you must do your research, as they’re full of mediocre yet expensive restaurants trying to capitalize on all the tourists. It sucks to be in Italy and have ‘average’ pasta…but that’s what happened. I spoke briefly to a woman who was born and raised in Venice, but later moved away because of the rampant tourism. I can’t say I blame her, as I imagine the locals get frustrated by living in a ‘postcard city’. My apologies to the locals, but for the scenery alone I was happy to be a tourist here. This was definitely an aesthetically pleasing experience, and I see why Venice is on everyone’s ‘must-see’ list for Europe.