“If you read a lot, nothing is as good as you’ve imagined. But Venice is – Venice is better.”
When the moon hits the midnight sky of Venice it sends streaks of silver into its’ running canals, forcing a hypnotising haze of mirrored images from above. Stars glisten bright as you walk over the Grand Canal, men serenade as they graciously steer their treasured gondolas carrying hopelessly romantic couples.
During my travels to set my sights on Venice for the first time, I stayed in Jesolo, a short ferry ride from Venice itself. This made things a lot cheaper as booking accommodation in Venice can be quite expensive and you have the privilege of having easy access to the golden sands of Jesolo beach on your doorstep!
Every day I took a 30 minute ferry ride to the floating islands of Venice. An early morning ride along the turquoise coast was a relaxing way to start the day before hitting the chaotic crowd of buzzing tourists. The moment you step onto the ancient, stone slabs you feel as though you’re walking back in time. You’ll meander through stalls of souvenirs and cold beverages as you grow close to the first landmark you should visit – St Mark’s Square!
What was once the homes of politicians and families of wealth and stature, here stands a square of white stoned, symmetrical housing that seems to guard the concrete courtyard. Choirs from around the world come to perform for Venice; you’ll hear musical bands play their best as relaxed tourists sit outside restaurants and bars, waiting for their deep glasses to be topped up with wine. So, soak up the atmosphere and take it all in. Don’t sit down on the floor though, the police will ask you to stand!
Birthplace to the famous Marco Polo: this magically floating city is connected by 118 islands, 400 footbridges and 170 boat canals. Catch yourself wandering the seemingly endless alleyways and bridges into this scenic maze of surprises. Going to Venice and not taking a ride in a gondola? Oh dear, that’s just as bad as going to Rome and neglecting to tour the Colosseum! It must be done…
Fact: these traditional gondolas have been used for an easy transportation around the Venician canals for hundreds of years. This exclusive group of gondoliers have been carrying the torch of honour through many generations; very few licenses are issued yearly.
Ponte dell’Accademia is one of the only four bridges crossing the Grand Canal; wooden structured and raised high above the water, this bridge gives us one of the best views in Venice. Take a deep breath and feast your eyes upon the beautiful backdrop, you’d think you were standing in the middle of a Hollywood movie set!
With the sounds of humming motors and polite chatter in the distant background, follow the narrow streets running parallel to the Grand Canal. A swift breeze of chilled air tickles your neck as you turn around each corner to find yourself presented with ancient courtyards, home to peaceful churches and glass galleries. You’ll find yourself looking up all the time, staring at the beautiful balconies laced with flowers.
If you get the chance, take a detour to Burano – an island near Venice! Hop on a boat to this colourful yet peaceful town to escape the hustle and bustle of Venice…
Fact: Burano, home to lace makers and passsionate artists. The first thing you’ll notice about this beautiful town is its’ many colours and its’ resemblance to the tv show of Balamory! Every house is painted with a colour. Why? The different colours signify a family; if you see blue houses for example, the people who live there will be related in some way. If you want to live in Burano, I’m afraid you’d have to marry into a family as it is tradition that only families born and raised can live there!
This place is perfect for an afternoon, you don’t need a whole day here because it doesn’t take long for you to walk around the whole place! Stop for a bite to eat and a glass of wine from one of the authentic, family-run restaurants to get a feel for the real Burano dining experience.
The best present I’ve ever received; my Olympus Pen E-pl7 – the camera of my dreams! I love to take photos of every destination I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.
Love Thy Traveller