There is nothing more romantic than taking a gondola through the narrow canals of Venice at sunset, taking in the breathtaking sights and sounds of this beautiful Italian city. Back in the 18th century the gondola was the city’s major source of public transport and there were thousands of the vessels floating around the canals. Today the craft is one of the most popular tourist transportations with several hundred of the elegant vessels available for hire. The gondola has tight seating for two people, there are some larger vessels which can carry more people, but that takes the romance out of it.. The ride can get quiet expensive, but you the experience is well worth every Euro. You can expect to pay around 80 Euro for a 30-40 minute ride and even more with a evening or night cruise. It is well worth shopping around and bargaining a bit during quieter times, you never know what deal you might strike. For a few euro extra you will probably even be able to negotiate a serenade by the gondolier. For those a bit frightened of the high cost, a cheaper although not quiet as magical experience is to board one of the public ferries that punt around the canals around twilight. You don’t quiet get the luxury of your own gondola and are usually packed in like sardines, but you can experience the amazing palaces and architecture from the water and soak in some of the charm and atmosphere of one of the world’s most unique cities.
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Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square as we like to call it, is probably Venice’s popular tourist destination, not only for people but also for pigeons, they seem to out number people 10 to 1. With Venice’s narrow streets and maze of canals there is little open space in Venice, the Piazza San Marco is Venice’s largest area and principal square. The square dates back to the 9th century, and the piazza hasn’t changed since 1810 when a new wing to the Procutatie Nuove which was converted into a royal palace for Napoleon during the French occupation. Today other than a lot of souvenir carts, thousands of people and pigeons everything is how you would have seen it hundreds of years ago, other than a few much needed restorations and touch ups. Being the lowest point in Venice the square is often flooded from storms and high water and planks are used to move across the square. Around the piazza are some of Venice’s most spectacular and important buildings including Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Clocktower, and Procuratie Vecchie, many have some of the most beautiful sculptures and artwork seen in Europe, and inside the Basilica and palaces it is even more spectacular, it’s no wonder people queue for hours for their chance to visit.
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The best way to see Venice is by water, but unless you our out to impress your lady the Gondola ride can be an expensive way to get around, with prices anything from 50 to 200 Euros. For something less romantic but just as good try one of the small ferries which travel around the larger canals, tickets are only a few Euros and you can even get a cheap day pass for only a little more. Sometimes the ferries are busy but you always get a great view of the canal city. The most magical time to travel is around sunset when the lights come on in the palaces and the long shadows stretch along the canal. Read the rest of this entry »
Venice is one of the most amazing places you could ever visit, but like all popular spots it is geared for the tourist, over commercialised and geared to catch the tourist dollar. But there is an easy fix just get yourself lost, go for a walk up some of the more backstreet lanes- they are relatively safe and you are sure to find a ‘real’ Venice cafe or restaurant the people will be friendly and the prices will usually be much lower than what you will see around the square and best of all there wont be thousands of tourists. Try some real Venice pasta, not the mass produced bland stuff made for the tourist’s taste buds. Many of the smaller establishments are family ran so you will enjoy some traditional cooking and friendly faces it will really make your trip to Venice more memorable. Read the rest of this entry »
St Marks Square in Venice would have to have the biggest flock of pigeons anywhere in the world, there are what appears to be millions. These flying rats are everywhere, and to make things worse they are encouraged by people feeding them. Fortunately most of the buildings in the area have been covered in fine wire to stop the birds nesting and destroying the historic buildings but its hard to walk too far without stepping on a bird or their waste. They are very game and not afraid of people so it’s relatively easy to get a good photograph of these colourful pests. Read the rest of this entry »
If your traveling around Venice and looking for some cheap and fancy gifts for the folk back home, you can’t go past Venetian Glass. Now some of the cheaper stuff is Chinese imports but who’s going to know its all pretty flash. You can pick up some lovely pieces for only a few euros- remember to bargain you can save heaps. Some of the more expensive and exclusive stuff can cost thousands of dollars, but its pretty easy to find something at an affordable price. Keep away from the main tourist areas when shopping you can do better in some of the back lanes and if you are interested in glass its well worth a quick ferry ride across to Murano which is about 20 minutes away. Just about the whole village makes or sells glass ware. Read the rest of this entry »
The best mini pizzas I have ever had can be found in a little lane called Salvadego which runs off the north west corner of St Marco’s Piazza (St. Mark’s Square) in Venice. The cheese, sauce and topping are delicious and the soft base is delightful and for only an Euro and 20c – beleive me you won’t be able to stop at just one. It’s too hard to decide whether the olive one is better than the mushroom one. If you are ever in Venice make sure you try a few! Read the rest of this entry »