The world‘s most beautiful city? Venice is a truly unique city with so many interesting things to do and see.
Venice has a long and colorful history. Few know that this little town at one time belonged to one of the most powerful cities in the world and ruled the trade routes to the Orient. The most powerful person in Venice was the Doge, he prevailed over the city’s financial situation and took care of all sorts of tasks, even to judge people of Venice, who committed a crime to a death sentence. They were beheaded on the steps of the Doge’s Palace and the heads rolled out on Mark’s Square, there were those who even made a bet on how far out the head would roll.
The city is built entirely on stilts, pushed tight into the lagoon. The water in the lagoon is flushed through on a daily basis by the tides which sometimes overflows the city. The city tries to limit flooding by having set up large metal rockers on the lagoon bottom that controls the flow of water. At its worst large parts of Venice is flooded and people walking in knee high water, or on the temporarily gangways.
A lot of people heard of Venice smelling and sinking in to the lagoon. In a way ther are right. In the bottom of the lagoon are large gas pockets, these have been emptied of their contents and the gas smells like rotten eggs or garbage. The collecting of gas from the lagoon also made the soil and bottom fragile and the ocean bottom collapsed, and the city sank in to the waters. It is now several years since it ended with the extraction and the awful smell is not present at all in the same way as before.
The main “road” in the city is Grand Canale, a busy channel with many different types of boats. Here you can see everything from transportation of goods, to buses, taxis, gondolas, police officers and private individuals. It is a conglomeration of boats and actually really fun to stand next to the canal and see everyday life float by. One of the more fun ways to discover this city is of course on the water ways. From Mark’s Square, one can buy a ticket for the vaporetto (water bus) and take the one that goes along the Grand Canal. Why not go all the way to the Rialto Bridge?
Many of the houses are incredibly beautiful, something you only will find out if you are on one of the many canals. There are several houses with mosaic facades and decorations, a house is entirely gilded!
A must in this city is of course a ride in a Gondola. Despite what people think, it is realy the only way to see Venice and all of its glory. Take a walk away from the larger tourist areas and wander away in to the narrow streets. Gondolas are to be found almost all over the city. The queiung here is none and no waiting time. We payed €80 for the boat, for four people. Our gondolier told us that he was the fifth generation gondolier in his family and was dressed in the traditional clothes with black pants, striped sweater and hat. At one time it was almost a little too cliché when he started singing O Sole Mio. We came anyway away from the majorchannels and our gondolier showed us the house where the family lived.
One gets a glimpse of what daily life is in Venice when riding a gondola. Loading ramps for hotels and restaurants, boats transporting goods, private boats at the docks, and laundry drying from the windows. Passing by Venice’s luxury hotesl, andyou will see the beautiful bridges with red carpets and friendly staff to help guests into the hotels.
One can orient in the city by keeping track of the campanile, bell tower of Saint Mark. This is usually the starting point of many people’s visits to Venice. in St Marks Square you‘ll find some of the city’s biggest attractions. The Campanile has been rebuilt after a fire and criminals used to be hoisted up the tower, in cages hanging on the outside. In the cage they had the change to think about their sins and bad living. In Venice, an economic crime was a worse thing to do, often punished harder than both theft and murder.
Doge’s Palace is located opposite the campanile and in here lived the Doge who ruled the city. The palace is incredibly beautiful and lavish. The Doge Palace has been modified and redesigned many times between 1340 to 1565. From the palace, one can also walk over to the Venice jail. Getting there one has to cross over the famous bridge: the Bridge of Sighs.
The bridge is divided by a wall in the middle, those who would enter the prison would not see those who were on the way out. The name of the bridge comes from the heavy sighs the prisoner made, entering or leaving the prison. The windows on each side showed them the beloved Venice, either the last view or the first view they saw. The prison’s most famous inmate was Casanova, also the only one who managed to escape from the prison. It is said that all of his mistresses in Venice helped him escape the prison.
Next to the Doge’s Palace is St. Mark’s Basilica. Expect a long que to get in if you are traveling to Venice during the high season. This Byzantine church has become known for its beautiful architecture and mainly for the beautiful gold mosaics inside the basilica, illustrating Markus life and stories.
But walk away from Saint Marks Square and see the genuine city. At St. Mark’s Square, you can pay over $70 for two coffees and a little water. Walk through small streets and alleys and cross over thousands of bridges. Around tevery street corner, new views turns up and you want to photograph everything you see. Venice is so incredibly beautiful. If you travel here during the summer months, expect that it is incredibly hot and humid, and there are hundreds of thousands of tourists there at the same time.
Best time to discover Venice is from the spring until the end of April and maybe in September through November. This is the city for culture and history. It is quite expensive to stay here on the main island, but the neighboring islands can offer slightly lower prices. Lido di Venezia is a great example of an island close to the main island giving you cheaper accommodation and the opportunity to beach and swimming. Lido di Venezia sonly ten minutes away. Just 500 meters wide and 10 kilometers in length, this island looks just like the main island with canals and bridges.
Many even try to fit in a visit to Murano, the island is mostly known for its glass production. Previously, all glass production took place in Venice but after major fire risks everything was moved to Murano. A few minutes by water taxi and you are on Murano island, that has very picturesque views to show up.