JANUARY & OCTOBER 2007:
Venice, capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a marshy lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Its stone palaces seemingly rise out of the water. There are no cars or roadways, just canals and boats. The Grand Canal snakes through the city, which is filled with innumerable narrow, mazelike alleys and small squares.
I have been to Venice twice – both times were during off peak season, once in Jnauary and the other time in October, so it was cold and quiet both times. However Venice is so beautiful that even in the cold weather, it can still be thoroughly enjoyed.
You need to use water buses to get around so you are limited by their timetables, and they didn’t run as late in to the evening as I would have liked. Alternatively you can use a water taxi but they were very expensive. One thing to try whilst in Venice is a gondola ride – it’s a unique experience cruising past the grand buildings and through the narrow backstreet canals.
If you want to take something home to remember Venice, they have a large number of Venetian mask shops – many different shapes and styles to choose from. They are handy for fancy dress/masquerade parties, make great unique gifts for family and friends, or simply as a souvenir for yourself.
1st Hotel: Alloggi Barbaria
Located in a quiet neighbourhood, near the Fondamente Nove. You don’t feel any of the mass tourist pressure here. It was a budget hotel but fit for purpose for just a few days stay.
2nd Hotel: Al Giardino Apartments
A tourist self-catering block of apartments, located in a small complex near the centre of the historic city of Venice and old centre of Mestre. It is part of the mainland so cars can get to this area.
PIAZZA SAN MARCO
Piazza San Marco, often known in English as St Mark’s Square, is the principal public square of Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as “the Piazza” (la Piazza).
You cannot go to Venice without a visit to this famous square. It is stunning at night time due to the hundreds of lights, however it has been known to flood in the evenings with people having to walk on tables to get around. I didn’t experience this myself but it actually sounds quite fun! I do recall having a coffee and sandwich at an outdoor cafe in the square with an orchestra playing music in the background. That was the most expensive sandwich I have ever had. You’re obviously paying for the scenery and entertainment but it was around £40 which was so highly priced that I still remember it a decade later!
When I go to most european cities, I find them to be very similar. There’s a main strip or central square and the architecture is often relatively similar. What I love about Venice is that it is different. When you‘re in Venice, you know you’re in Venice!