Italian Vacation {Part IV}: Venice

I have been looking forward to writing about Venice for quite some time now! Why? Quite simply, it easily became my favorite city in the world. I love being surrounded by water, and knew Venice was a city that would suit me well. Prior to the trip, I had read an entire Venice guide book from cover to cover and had an idea of what to expect. Expectations were high, and Venice surpassed everything I could have ever imagined.

Heading to Venice

Heading to Venice

BEVENUTI A VENEZIA

We took a train from Rome to Venice, which ended up being a great experience! A three-hour ride through the beautiful Italian country-side ending at the capital of the Veneto was as picturesque as you would think.

Venice has been named The Most Romantic City in the World by US City Guides; a fact that does not surprise me in the least. Built on tiny islands, Venezia {as Italians say} is a network of canals, bridges, and a labyrinth of walkways, all fully immersed in high culture.

We stayed in a charming apartment booked through Air BnB. It was recently renovated, but decorated in the classical Venetian style. To say I loved it would be an understatement! Plus, being able to look out at a canal whenever we liked was pretty darn cool.

Venice Apartment Bedroom and View

Venice Apartment Bedroom and View

CANAL PICTURES

I probably took over one hundred pictures of various canals in a few short days. Everywhere you looked was more beautiful than the least view; I couldn’t help myself! Bear with me as I share some of these gorgeous canal shots. Romantic city, indeed.

Venice Canal Venice Canal Kristi Venice Canal

Venice Canal Venice Canal Venice Canal

MURANO: THE GLASS ISLAND

One item at the top of my “must see” list while in Venice, was a visit to the island of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. Murano was just a short ferry ride from where we were staying. The talented glass artisans have passed down their elite trade from the 12th century. If I remember correctly, to become a “glass master” one must practice for forty years. {Please let me know if my number is incorrect} It was historically a prestigious position, rewarded greatly. Glass blower’s daughters were even allowed to marry into nobility, so important was the glass master.

Venetian glass dominated the global market for centuries. Their peak was in the 15th and 16th centuries, followed by the slow decline. The market rose and subsequently declined for the next few hundred years, eventually becoming the art form it is today.

I was fascinated by the glassblowing all over the island of Murano. We had the opportunity to watch a glass master do a public demonstration. I watched intently as he crafted a horse figurine and vase. These pieces were both purposefully shattered because they cool too quickly in a demonstration. Apparently, to make sturdy glass, you must put finished pieces in ovens to slowly cool over 24 hours.

Murano glass master Murano glass demonstration

In the gallery, we spent a long tie admiring true pieces of Murano glass artwork. Though mostly everything was way out of our price range, it was such a great experience getting to view it all.

Murano glass vases

The chandeliers were particularly noteworthy. Someday, way off in the future, I aspire to have a gorgeous Venetian glass chandelier in my house. I love the romantic feeling they bring to any room.

PIAZZA SAN MARCO 

Our travels also took us to the famed Piazza San Marco, or “St. Mark’s Square.” We totally played tourist as we strolled around, admiring the architecture and history.

St. Mark's Square IMG_0372

View from the Campanile di San Marco

View from the Campanile di San Marco

St. Mark's Square

St. Mark’s Square

St. Mark's Square IMG_0392

 

GRAN TEATRO LA FENICE

Another item on my list was to visit the Teatro le Fenice, a world-renowned opera house. From my guide book, the Opera House itself looked more opulent than any building I have ever seen. As following the theme of Venice, it blew me away.

Teatro la Fenice

IMG_0396

We took a self-tour in the morning one day, and then bought last-minute tickets to the opera later that evening! It turned out to be the premier {for la Fenice} of the Puccini opera, “Tosca.” Although we bought nose-bleed seats and often had difficulty seeing, I am so grateful to have had this experience! I was also thankful for English subtitles displayed along the top of the stage. We were able to {mostly} follow along!

Waiting for "Tosca" to begin from our box

Waiting for “Tosca” to begin from our box

 

WATER TAXIS, VAPORETTOS, AND GONDOLAS

While in Venice, we definitely had our fair share of boat riding! I would take a boat over the horrid Roman Metro any day. Plus, we had to take a gondola ride once. What is Venice without riding a gondola?

Riding on a water taxi to Murano

Riding on a water taxi to Murano

Venice

IMG_0405

Paul water taxi Venice

Paul Kristi water taxi Venice

 

And last, but not least, the GONDOLA RIDE! I was giddy the entire time. I even asked our gondolier if he sang. {I had read that some don’t and some do. You just have to ask.} He said “Only at night if I drank wine.” Noted.

Gondola Venice

FAREWELL, VENICE

That was a quick overview of my time in Venice. I sincerely hope to return some day, as I loved this city with all my heart. Until next time, Venice!

Addio, Venezia

Addio, Venezia

 

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

  • What is your favorite city in the world?
  • Have you ever been to Venice? What did you enjoy the most?

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s