We stood in the open mid-section of the vaporetto, braced against our suitcases and chilled by the cold wind that whipped off the canal that late November afternoon. We could have sat inside but didn't want to miss one minute of the sights, sounds, and smells that are Venice.
|Venice vaporetto taking passengers to stops along the canal|
We'd selected three cities to visit during our early winter 10-day Italian Escapade: Bologna, Verona and Venice. I think we may just have unintentionally saved the best for last!
It wasn't our first visit to this centuries-old city built atop some 117 small islands separated by 150+ canals and connected by more than 400 bridges. But it certainly had been too long since we'd been back. On this late autumn trip we had arrived by train after spending a night in Verona then boarded a boat headed for our hotel in the San Marco district. Luckily our stop was one of the last so we could do some sightseeing along the way!
Our last stay in 2012 was during a time known as 'acqua alta' (high water); a time when the city is flooded by high tide bringing the canals up over its walkways and piazzas. We didn't venture out often back then as each outing meant a balancing act on raised platforms installed for pedestrians to get around on when the floods occur. We hoped we'd not have a repeat of that weather phenomenon during this stay - and luckily, we didn't.
|Famed Rialto Bridge - Venice|
During our five day stay we planned to explore this fabled city's quarters, or sestieri, as they are called. Our overly-ambitious plans included visits to two nearby islands, Murano (for its glass) and Burano (for its lacemaking and colorful buildings). However, we were so taken with Venice we never made it to them.
|Exploring on a sunny but chilly morning|
We again set forth on foot (as you do here until you are traveling on a canal) without any itinerary or 'must see' list. However we ended up visiting more tourist attractions than we had in the past because there were no lines of tourists. We can probably thank the season and the lingering concerns over Covid for reducing the number of fellow visitors, but honestly, it was almost too good to be true.
|No one taking a photo of the Bridge of Sighs - incredible sight!!|
Take the Bridge of Sighs. . .on past visits so many tourists have wanted to take its photo - or worse, a selfie of themselves and the bridge - that we usually avoided the area all together as standing from where I took the photo above felt like being a sardine in a can.
|We stood at that railing with few others|
With maybe a dozen or so ahead of us, the line to check Covid vaccination status was longer at St. Mark's Basilic than was the ticket line. Absolutely no wait for tickets and no crowds inside. We were able to buy tickets once inside (again no wait) and visit the upper level art gallery and outdoor viewing area on the roof - again with only a handful of others.
|Waiting in the rain for the restaurant to open|
The weather was fickle - one day we'd have sunshine and on another, rain. It was chilly in the daytime and got rather cold at night which prevented us from enjoying the many bars and restaurants with tables and chairs that spill out onto the piazzas. But it was never so extreme as to keep us inside as had the acqua alta on the previous trip.
There is nothing better to our way of thinking in Venice than setting out on a walk with no destination in mind. Twisting walkways lead you over bridges, past shops, through piazzas and reveal all sorts of treasures that we find as interesting as those highly touted tourist sites. Take for instance:
A favorite walk was through residential areas, admiring flower boxes, shutters and facades on the ages-old buildings. It was fun to spot places like the window sill above. It was cold enough to keep food and beverages chilled outside and that is just for what this window was being used.
|Ambulances and emergency rooms|
We are both fans of Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti novels. Often a victim is taken to the hospital by ambulance in these 'who-dunnit' stories. It was interesting to see what the ambulances and emergency room entrances look like in a city whose 'roads' are canals.
|Dock builders balanced on beams over the water|
We found it interesting to watch workers balance on narrow beams - walking, and kneeling -- on the frame they were putting into place. I'd not seen construction equipment working from a barge before nor workers balancing as if they were ballerinas.
|Did I mention the food?|
Needless to say all the walking we did worked up both thirsts and appetites in all three cities we visited. I haven't yet told you much about Italian food and drink. The next post will take you to public markets, shops, bars and restaurants. . .I promise to make your mouth water in a 'Taste of Italy'
|An Aperol Spritz|
For those of you who are reading The Mediterranean Lifestyle magazine, you'll get a taste of Italy in my article "A Bite of Bologna" that appears in the just-published Feb/March edition. This edition is available on line and for the first time ever - in print as well!
|My article in The Mediterranean Lifestyle Magazine|
That is it for this time around. We send wishes for safe travels to you and yours and thank you for the time you've spent with us strolling through Venice on a winter's day. Please come back for a serving of Italy's culinary arts and bring a friend or two with you~
It must have been quite an experience to see Venice without the crowds. It's been many years since we've been, and, oh, how I'd love to go back! You've whet my appetite for your upcoming food post!ReplyDelete
It was great - so good we are tempted to go back again for one more shot before 'normal' returns to the travel world. Glad you enjoyed the post!Delete
A great description of Venice. My last visit there was November a number of years ago. It was the best time to go but of course you are taking a chance that you don't encounter flooding.ReplyDelete
Yes, it is a chance in November - we've now had the worst and the best of experiences there during that month! Thanks for taking the time to comment!!Delete
Thank you for the sights from Venice.ReplyDelete
There's no tiring of them. :)
And thank you for the lovely comment!Delete
Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Love the photos and information. We were in Venice about 10 years ago but we didn't get to see as much as you did. Enjoyed your post.ReplyDelete
Thanks much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I enjoyed my visit to your blog~ hope to see you back again!Delete
Nothing can compare.ReplyDelete
Just want to go back. Lucky you to awoid the hords of tourists.
The most special atmosphere we have experienced, was our stay during the carnival. Will never forget!
We did love it and have actually thought about returning for carnival. Sounds like an even more magical time there. Thanks for stopping by and reflecting on your travels there.Delete
A gorgeous series of photos!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2022/02/alter-egos.html
And thanks as always for hosting the linkup!!Delete