The last stop on our Italian tour was Venice. By that time, the kids had all spun off to various locations of their own choosing, Abby and Grayson to the Dolomites, and Jeremy and Gina to Gina’s Italian relatives in Naples. After a short stay at Lake Como, we took the train from Milan to the floating City and it was an entirely unique experience.
A World Apart
From Venice’s’ modern train station, we took a brief boat ride across the Grand Canal to our hotel, and to a different world. Of course, I knew about the canals, but I didn’t appreciate how completely Venice is frozen in time. The narrow winding streets reminded me of the Boston’s meandering “cow path” roads and, except for the antennas, the city’s buildings have changed very little since the Renaissance. Despite the crowds this is a place that seems to run at a slower, more relaxed, pace. Venice’s streets feel much more like paths, especially since no vehicles are allowed, not even bicycles.
A Photographer's Paradise
|You Must Have a Gondola|
Italy was a wonderful place for photography, but Venice provided, by far, the most beautiful and varied photographic opportunities. As I have reviewed my images, it seemed clear that Venice is a city that can best be understood visually – the majestic Grand Canal, the many interconnecting narrower canals, the variety of boats and gondolas, busy Saint Mark’s Square and the quiet narrow streets that invited getting happily lost – thank God for my GPS. It seemed that every turn provided a new vista. The canals provided lines of view on the classic architecture and the changing light continually altered the feel of the scenery. The opportunities for interesting compositions were endless. My greatest frustration was that we only had a couple of days to explore.
Church of San Giorgio Maggiore
We chose to schedule our visit a little after the busiest season. Many of the back streets were quiet but the main streets were still crowded with mid-day shoppers. On the first evening we found our way to the waterfront for a simple diner and a spectacular sunset, only interrupted by the passage of one of the monstrous cruise ships.
Quiet Morning Streets
|No One on the Bridge|
The next morning, I got out just after dawn and, for about an hour, I had the streets and canals mostly to myself. The bridges were clear of gawkers and the canals were navigated only by delivery barges. For a moment, it was dream-like and then the people arrived, first the natives heading for work or school and then the tourist signaling that it was time to find my back to my hotel and breakfast on the Grande Canal.
|Saint Mark's Square|
The morning brought more wandering eventually leading to a tour of St. Mark’s Square, the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Our evening stroll included lingering with the crowds on the Rialto Bridge, which arches over the Grand Canal. I had to work my way to the edge, but the views down the Canal, especially at sunset were spectacular.
|Rialto Bridge Evening|
|Water Bus to Diner|
For diner we took a water bus to meet friends in another quarter of the city. Once you figure out the routes the buses are a lovely and inexpensive way to get around.
|Blowing Murano Glass|
The first half of our final full day in Venice was spent at the glass works on nearby Murano Island. Murano glass is known the world over for its quality and artistic expression. It was fascinating to watch the glass blowing and, of course we had to come away with a couple of lovely little pieces of art.
Not the Murano Glass we Bought!
Rialto Taxi Dock
Back Street Cafes
The afternoon was spent with more walking, and of course, more eating at yet another picturesque café. The evening was spent on a food tour of best restaurants off the beaten track. We were reluctant to head back to our hotel since we knew that early in the morning we would be taking a water taxi to the airport and our flight home.
Foggy Morning Trip the the Airport
|Festival Masks Everywhere|
Did I mention that Venice was a photographer’s dream? It was the ideal way to finish an amazing three weeks exploring beautiful Italy. Given all the cold damp early New England spring weather, working my way through the glorious Venice pictures this week has been a perfect escape. Now back to reality - But there will always be Italy :
- Italy 2017 Gallery
- Italy Part Uno, Rome to Tuscany
- Italy Part Duo, ( Tuscany )
- Italy Part Tre, (Florence)
- ItalyPart Quatro Bologna and Lake Como