Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)

09 April 2010

My Italian Spring Break: Venice

Ahh, Venice.

Loved it! There must be something in the water...which was everywhere...

A view from our vaporetto stop, San Toma.

Venice is so unlike any place I have ever visited. I knew there were canals and water, but seeing everything in person is incredible!

For our first day, we decided to buy an unlimited 1 day vaporetto pass. Traveling by boat is such a good way to sit back, relax, and see the city. Rick had a specific vaporetto tour and pointed out major sights as we cruised along the main canal.

We became one with the vaporetto.

Gondolas--all lined up and ready to go!

Rialto Bridge!

A major Venetian landmark is the Rialto Bridge. A few Rialto facts: the one I saw is actually the 3rd "Rialto Bridge" in that spot and was completed in 1588. It is a bit smaller than the previous bridges and put a stop to big shipping boats passing through.

Living the life: cruising down the canal in a gondola.

Oh to be lucky enough to take a gondola ride! We couldn't afford it, but have already added it to the "with money" list. And we are going with a singer and/or musician as well... if we are going to do it, we are going to do it right!

Venice rush hour perhaps?

My pictures make it seem like it was awful weather, but it really wasn't! Visibility wasn't super clear, but I don't remember any rain.

It all just added to the mystery of Venice...

Cemetery lagoon island, Cimitero.

With our pass, we were able to venture out into the lagoon of Venice to visit the four little islands. The first stop: Cimitero. The island is also known as "San Michele", but "Cimitero" explains what the island contains: cemeteries. There were tons of beautiful and well-kept graves. It was a bit eerie walking around, but nice to see everything so respected.

Striped lamp in progress at Murano.

Island No. 2 is Murano. Murano's claim to fame is glass, and oh my goodness-- I wish I could take everything home! The island was full of talented glassmakers, little glass factories, and gorgeous glass stores. We befriended an Italian gentleman (Pepe, of course) who took us to the back to see where the magic happens. It was unbelievable seeing such perfect stripes! Sora and I have both done a quasi-glass making activity at Butler, and we knew that it is not as easy as it looks!

Sora and I with the ADORABLE colored houses in Burano.

Island No. 3 is Burano, a little colorful island famous for its lace. Since I live a master sewer/knitter/lacemaker (Esperanza!) I felt very connected to this little town.
(We spent so much time at islands 1-3 that we didn't have time to make it to No. 4. Rick says that we aren't missing much as the island (Torcello) only has a population of 20 people!)

Picture perfect--it looks like a movie set!

We stayed in Venice for 2 nights at a very lovely hostel. The building was beautiful and the breakfast was yummy (EGGS one day!) so we were not complaining!

The view from our hostel's balcony.

Hostel rumor: in the picture above is a blue apartment building. Apparently, this is a very famous apartment (in a lot of Venice movies) and the apartment that Angelina Jolie stays at when she comes to Venice!

Fact or fiction? One of the workers claimed he saw her on the balcony a week before we came!

Carnevale masks at every corner... never too early to start preparing for next year!

Carnevale (Mardi Gras) is a big deal in Venice, and there is evidence of its importance everywhere! Carnevale is a huge 10 day celebration and masks are center stage. Some of the masks were very pretty while others were just plain creepy!

Fun pasta!

Another important Italian tradition (Venice and beyond) is pasta! I loved the creative shapes and colors. All of the options made me want to learn to cook!

Could it be? Blue sky?!

The next day brought a little bit of blue sky. We set up to explore the city on foot--a difficult task given the lack of street signs, curvy roads, and many bridges!

If I wasn't living out of a little backpack, I would have left Venice with a gondolier hat.

Our destination was St. Mark's Square. The grand main square is home to St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, and the belltower, Campanille.

Native Venetian :)

Gondola traffic jam!

I might have 200 similar pictures at every little alley, but I love it!

Our explorations worked up an appetite and we were thinking PIZZA PIZZA! A little pizza place we saw at the beginning of the day stuck in our mind and Sora was determined to find it. A few hours later (no exaggeration) we were happily munching on a slice!

We walked a million miles in search of THIS pizza (and yes, it was delicious!)

A perfect break: sitting by the water.

Pretty light.

Our time in Venice ended with beautiful night views, and we headed to the train station to wait for our night bus to Rome.

Homeless... waiting for the bus.

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