Lockdown has got me reminiscing about past trips so bad that I am finally writing about another Italian gem, Venice!
Venice was the third leg of our Italian getaway after Lake Garda and Verona. We got the train from Sirmione and arrived at the train station in Venice. Stepping out of the station is one memory that I’ll never forget. It’s hard to describe the feeling exactly but the first view when exiting the train station is just so beautiful. It was almost like a dream, because although I’d seen many pictures of Venice over the years, seeing it in reality was unbelievable! The sky was so blue and the canal was right in front of us; the streets really did look like they were floating.
What to see in Venice
Most people typically spend only a few days in Venice, but there is plenty to see and do in that short time. It is really easy to get around Venice by foot as it’s very small and compact. We walked for the majority of our trip but you should take the waterbus at least once to see some more views of the city!
Walking the streets can feel a bit like wandering a maze at times. The streets are narrow and winding, often in the shade of the tall buildings. At night, it can feel beautiful but eerie under the glow of the street lamps.
You can also take a boat trip to one of the surrounding islands, Murano, which is famous for glass-making or Burano, which is equally as famous for lace-making. We ended up spending most of a day in Murano!
I find the use of the canals throughout Venice absolutely extraordinary; instead of a road, they have the canals! We even saw a floating vegetable market!
The most famous canal is the Grand Canal which flows through the heart of Venice. Buildings line the route of the Grand Canal; the water goes right up to people’s doors!
The most famous bridge in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. It is a beautiful stone arched bridge crossing the Grand Canal; it even has shops down the middle. Depending on which way you approach the bridge, you may happen upon it very suddenly as we did!
The bridge draws lots of visitors so it might be a bit crowded but the views both on and off the bridge are stunning and totally worth it.
St. Mark’s Square
Be sure to visit St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). St. Mark’s Campanile is almost 99 metres high; it’s the tallest building in Venice! We didn’t go into the tower but if you want to see views of the city from above then this is where to go.
Also in St. Mark’s Square is St. Mark’s Basilica. The cathedral is famous for its architecture and the painted frescoes and arches on the outside.
Turn around in St. Mark’s Square and you will see the magnificent Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale).
Over the centuries, there have been many uses of the palace. It has housed the Doge’s apartments and served as the seat of the government with grand chamber, courtrooms, even a jail, all of which can be visited as the palace now serves as a museum.
Bridge of Sighs
Another famous bridge in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs. The name sounds so sad, doesn’t it? The bridge connects the interrogation rooms of Doge’s Palace to the Prigioni Nuove (new prison) on the other side, and the name of the bridge is said to have been inspired by prisoners sighing with regret on crossing the bridge.
Nowadays, it is a symbol of romance! Legend has it that couples who kiss while passing under the bridge at sunset will enjoy everlasting love and happiness. How romantic!
Murano is a popular choice for a short day trip from Venice and is famous for its glass-making. It is easy to walk around the island to see the main sights. The main strip is along the Rio dei Vetrai and there are cute glassware shops all the way down. You can pick up some artisan glass trinkets here; I fell in love with the glass balloons hanging on invisible thread 🙂
We stopped to see the glass sculpture outside the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato and the bell tower. The church is beautiful building with many arches and intricate mosaics decorating the facade and inside.
Sunset in Venice
Venice is the perfect place for sunset-lovers. You can see some absolutely gorgeous views, here are some of my favourite shots.
“Support” – a sculpture by Lorenzo Quinn
At the time of our visit, we were lucky enough to see the amazing sculpture “Support” created by artist Lorenzo Quinn.
The giant pair of hands supporting the Ca’Sagredo Hotel looked amazing but it also had a deeper meaning. Climate change is a big concern for Venetians; rising sea water means that Venice is particularly at risk of being submerged in the future. The hands appear to be propping up the hotel from falling into the water but can also be seen to symbolise the role that humans play in both causing and stopping climate change.
I think this was removed after we visited 🙁 but you can see a picture below!