Planning a visit to the Italian city of Venice? Here are some recommendations*. To view all the photographs (with the captions in full) of the city, click on any image and navigate using the left and right keys.
1. Venice is known for its small islands connected by bridges (and because of poor planning we had to lug heavy luggage through the streets), though to be honest the view was not as breath-taking in the beginning. The city is extremely crowded with tourists and peddlers – of which we were a part of – and some segments of the canals did not smell pleasant too.
2. A short walk away from our apartment is the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, and while it is imposing the exterior of red bricks is far from impressive. Visitors have to pay a fee to enter the church – and my mother was incredulous – but there is a small opening to the left side of the building, through which small peeks can be made of the interior.
3. The Canale Grande (Grand Canal), the major water-traffic canal of the city. Along this stretch of water there are shops and dining establishments – which are usually overpriced – with the main districts of San Marco and San Polo on either side.
4. Before we continued sightseeing on the other side of the canal, we had a to-go street lunch of fried fish and seafood with polenta, as well as grilled calamari at Acqua and Mais.
5. The Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is one of the four bridges across the Canale Grande, and as the oldest bridge its façade should be quite spectacular. However, the stone bridge was undergoing refurbishment during our time in Venice, which did not deter the visitors from crossing it, taking photographs, and patronising the shops around the location.
6. Most tourists would first gather at the Piazza San Marco (San Mark’s Square), where the major historical buildings or religious structures of the city are located.
7. On the left is the Torre dell’Orologio (The Clock Tower), which was constructed in the fifteenth century. The most prominent feature is the blue-and-gold clock face which indicates the hour of the day, displayed in Roman numerals. On the right is the Bascilica di San Marco, which is known for its domes and mosaic decorations.
8. A sign of the city’s dependence on tourism is the mainly tourism stores across Venice, and in the background the dome of the Bascilica di San Marco can be seen.
9. Without chuckling, the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) is found on the other side of the Piazza San Marco, next to the Bascilica di San Marco. The Doge of Venice – title of the senior-most elected official of the historical republics of Venice and Genoa – used to reside in the palace, which is decorated with grand pillars and sculptures.
10. Another view of the Palazzo Ducale.
11. Food is great in Venice. Before the end of the day we had dinner – of grilled scampi, a prosciutto and mushroom pizza, and a shrimp salad – at a restaurant near the canal.
12. Traditional gondolas ferry tourists up the down the canals for an 80-euro experience, though the main public transportation vehicles are the vaporetti (motorised waterbuses). It takes some time to get used to the routes and the bus numbers – in place of the buses, trains, or trams in a typical European city – yet after some time through the system it all makes sense. With a 20-euro 24-hour pass, we visited the islands of Murano and Burano.
13. 20 minutes from Venice, Murano is a series of islands which is famous for its glassmaking industry. Right after we disembarked we visited a glass factory which had a live demonstration of the glassmaking process, and the parents had a good time shopping in the many stores which sold ornaments and jewellery made from glass.
14. A view of the canals and buildings at Murano.
15. After a forty-minute ride from Murano, one will be greeted by the small, brightly painted houses which the island of Burano is famed for. The colours of these houses – of course – are not spontaneous, which have been and will be coordinated by the government. Souvenir stores and restaurants line the streets, with small shops also run by independent artists.
16. We were very lucky. Despite an unsuccessful reservation and late arrival at Burano – after taking a wrong detour – we got a table at Al Gatto Nero Da Ruggero (in fact, the last table they served for lunch), a highly-rated restaurant on the island. We had fried king prawns, seafood soup containing mussels, clams, calamari, and scampi, grilled fish, as well as calamari which was prepared in Venetian style. Lunch was very satisfying, to say the least.
17. A view of the canals and buildings at Burano.
18. Another view of the canals and the colourful houses at Burano. A trip can also be made via the same mode of transportation to the sparsely populated island of Torcello, which houses oft-visited churches and cathedrals, as well as a number of natural attractions.
19. Because of the many positive ratings online, we had planned to grab fresh pasta from Dal Moro’s, but when we walked past a long queue and many diners with white take-out boxes on a nearby bridge we knew we had to join in right away. Even though there were many in line the orders were taken – and the food prepared – fairly quickly, and after half an hour we tried the fusilli pasta with Bolognese sauce. Not worth the wait, we thought.
* Not an advertisement, and also not sponsored (unfortunately).