Back in spring I went over to Italy for a few days to visit an old friend and basically give my brain a little reset after a hectic start to 2015. After spending a day in Ferrara naturally the next destination had to be the historical city of Venice.
Venice is a scene from a romantic movie brought to life, a place where gondolas glide through scenic canals and where magnificent Venetian-style architecture is likely to overwhelm. Going by impulse is my favourite way to explore a new location but when in Venice there are sights that need to be on your agenda .
The Grand Canal is one of the jewels of Venice, and this exquisite waterway meanders through the bustling city. Gondolas, colourful homes and restaurants highlight the unique neighborhoods that line the canal.
The Rialto Bridge is one of the true landmarks of the city and provides fabulous views of the Grand Canal. The bridge, built in the 1590s, was once the only way to cross the canal by foot. Now it’s home to people selling selfie sticks and other trinkets that in some twisted way live up to the mercantile nature of the city.
Another place that’s well worth a visit is the San Rocco church which is located very close to the canal. The artist Jacopo Tintoretto took 20 years to complete it’s murals and canvasses and his magnificent artwork traces his vision of Christian history.
If you’re into art then the Academy Gallery will likely satiate any of your tastes. The gallery was started by Napoleon and includes an amazing number of historic pieces from artists such as Tintoretto, Titian, Bellini and Veronese.
BASILICA DI SAN MARCO
Be prepared for an amazing experience if you visit Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) — one of the most popular destinations in Venice. Distinguished Italian and European artists created its classic architecture and beautiful mosaic interior. As a lover of architecture it’s an amazing feeling when you’re strolling though history, knowing that hundreds of years ago someone else was walking these streets, hopefully having the same reaction.
For a truly unique experience, consider making a trip to the top of Campanile San Marco to see the stunning views of Venice. Note, that although the tower provides a breathtaking panorama of the city and it’s impressive architecture the queues outside can get awfully long so either get there early or keep exploring. Shuffling around for a few hours is just not worth it when you have the rest of Venice to discover.
As a massive Assassins’s Creed fan the atmosphere of St. Mark’s Square made it feel like I was walking through a video game. All that was missing was Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying machine and the nostalgia trip would have been complete.
Zara have always impressed me with their trench coat selection and when I received a trenchie from their latest spring/summer collection I knew this coat was made to be worn in Italy. Complemented by a navy stripe jumper and chinos the look was truly complete by my trusted Ray Ban sunglasses. 5 years on and they’re still one of the most reliable pairs of sunnies I’ve ever owned.
Just out of sight and adjoining the Procuratie Vecchie and St Mark’s Square is the St Mark’s Clock. Sitting its in a clocktower by the father / son duo Gian Paolo and Gian Carlo Rainieri. It took them 3 years to construct and was considered one of a number of large public astronomical clocks built throughout Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries.
Aside from the popular tourist attractions, the magic of the city is also found in the simple pleasures such as exploring shops and cafés and taking gondola rides. The iconic landmarks and quaint pleasures meld beautifully and the gondola (which I unfortunately kept calling ‘granola’) ride is an awesome time I guarantee you will cherish.
The gondolier we had on this trip was of course a charming Italian man who showed us notable places of interest such as the house of Marco Polo. On the way we also spotted Casanova’s house which was by far the most interesting. Instead of having extravagant gargoyles he decorated the outside of it with women’s faces. Truly living up to his debaucherous reputation.
Time truly does fly when you’re having fun and after exploring the beautiful Riva Degli Schiavoni waterfront we grabbed a watertaxi and saw Venice from a totally new angle. It’s probably not sustainable but imagine thousands of people taking a relaxing boat ride to work in London. The Thames would be a sight to behold.
On the vaporetto route you can also see Doge’s Palace which offers a remarkable glimpse into Venice’s historic past with its stunning Gothic architecture and artwork. Once the center of political life in Venice, the palace now stands as one of the key historical symbols of the city.
I hope you enjoyed taking this trip with me. Make sure to check out my first post about Ferrara and follow Style Division to keep up to date.