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Venice Italy: A Pictorial Journey
Venice At Eastertime
Many people have written about the wonders of this City but one has to see it to really appreciate how unique a place it really is. It is difficult to envision a city with canals in the place of roads and boats instead of cars. Water lapping against the lower floors of the ancient buildings and sometimes, at high tide, floods in the piazzas. Life goes on as in any other major city. There are water taxis; water buses, called 'vaporetti'; moving and delivery boats stacked high with washing machines, boxes and chairs. Garbage is collected by garbage boats and water ambulances transport the sick past the slow moving gondolas, to the docks at the hospital - it is truly an amazing sight!
It is our hope that those who have been to Venice will relive some of their memories and that those who have never been will be inspired to visit one day.
A Sunny Day in St. Mark's Square Venice
Easter Sunday afternoon turned into a glorious day and the good weather continued on Easter Monday. More and more people began to mingle in the Square, the outside tables and chairs were wiped over in preparation for the arrival of customers and the ever present pigeons flock together to be fed and photographed.
Shop Windows Of Delights in Venice Italy
We originally wanted to see Venice during Carnival in February when Venice becomes a crazy 24 hour masquerade ball of color and glitz but that will have to wait for another time. On this occasion we were very fortunate to see Venice during the more sombre Easter celebrations. There was a feel of a busy city taking time for family and quiet reflection.The church bells sounded across the 'piazze' and the shop windows were decorated beautifully for the season. This special egg in the shop window of a Confectioners really took our interest. I wonder whether it was devoured on Easter Sunday morning or whether it has been put in pride of place somewhere because it is too beautiful to eat?
The Venetians put a great deal of effort and time into creating colourful enticing windows. They encourage a passerby to stop and marvel and hopefully step inside to make a purchase. I was particularly taken by the stacks of 'tramezzini' (Venetian sandwiches) stuffed with many delicacies like zucchini, asparagus and tuna and displays of olives, pasta and colourful gelati (Italian ice cream).
There are many shops selling the famous masks that can be seen during 'Carnivale'; sparkling glassware from the Island of Murano; high-end designer clothes; antiquities etc.
A Foodie's Paradise: Venice Italy
We were impressed with this display of Sicilian pastries neatly stacked in the window for everyone to ogle. I can tell you that it attracted many people looking for a mid-morning coffee break including yours truly who was lured in for a cappuccino and a luscious pastry. I wasn't disappointed!
Murano Glass Sculpture
The Island of Murano is Venice on a small scale. Interesting buildings of different architectural styles line its own mini Grand Canal. It is well worth a visit to appreciate the beauty of the Island itself however Murano is famous all over the world for its history of glass-making. There are workshops all over the island where you can watch glass blowers at work making their unique creations and you can purchase glassware. There is a glass museum called the 'Museo d'Arte Vetrario' but you can also see fantastic outside glass sculptures as you stroll around the Island.
Many shops in Venice and on the Island of Murano display beautiful Murano glassware. It glitters in the windows and is especially appealing at night when the displays are back lit.
Carnival Masks: Venice, Italy
The masks at 'Carnivale', historically, provided anonymity so that classes could mingle with one another during the Carnival celebrations without reproach. Today, Venetians and tourists alike wear these masks during Carnival and the masks, both full sized and miniature, are one of the most popular souvenirs.
Colourful Houses On The Island of Burano
Personally, I enjoyed visiting the Island of Burano more than the other islands. I was first struck by the vibrantly coloured houses in blues, yellows, reds, pinks, violets but I realized as I strolled that there is a real community there that takes great pride in their Island. There was a religious procession there during our visit and the whole Island seemed to take part.
The Island is world famous for its lace which is made by the skilled ladies of the Island. There are many stalls and shops selling their intricate lace-work.
The ladies of Burano make the lace using the bobbin method started back in the 1500s. The intricate lace-work shows the skill passed down through the generations. There are many outdoor stalls like the one in the picture displaying their work.
The Island of Torcello
Torcello, located north of the Island of Burano once had a thriving economy but it is a very different place now. It is quiet and very few people live here however, it is worth visiting for its Cathedral called, 'The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta', which dates from the 7th Century and contains a Byzantine mosaic of, 'The Last Judgement'. There is also the Church of Santa Fosca' and the ominous sounding, 'Devil's Bridge', which you pass on the way to the Churches. The bridge harks back to the way bridges were originally built in Venice - arched and with no protective railings to prevent someone from falling into the water.
The Bridge of Sighs : Venice, Italy
The 'Ponte dei Sospiri', The Bridge of Sighs connecting the Doge's Palace to the New Prison was so called due to the apparent sighs coming from the prisoners as they were marched from the Courts in the Doge's Palace across the bridge to the Prison. They, more than likely, would never experience life outside these walls again and the sad reality was that many of the prisoners were imprisoned unjustly.
Links to some interesting lenses about Venice - Including some information on 'Carnivale'
We didn't have the opportunity to experience Carnival this visit but here are two links to connect you with that experience. Also, take a look at three other accounts by visitors to Venice.
The Four Tetrarchs: - St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy
The Tetrarchs, believed to represent Emperor Diocletian and his three co-workers, are carved in porphyry, a reddish-brown stone and can be seen on the right-hand corner of St. Mark's Square. It is difficult to imagine why Emperor Diocletian should be depicted on the side of one of the greatest Basilicas of the Christian faith when he was known to be anti-Christian.
Traffic On A Venetian Canal - but no, 'O sole mio'
The rain stops and the tourists emerge from the cafes and hotel rooms to take a ride in a gondola. The narrow canals become jammed with gondolas jostling to pass one another and manoeuvre around the boats moored by the side of the canal.A gondola is designed to pivot on its axis so navigating the canals is much easier than one imagines.
You can hear the voices of the gondoliers relating some history and sometimes singing traditional and contemporary songs. Their voices rise up between the walls of the narrow canals to the tops of the buildings which puts a smile on the face of anyone within earshot. I didn't hear any of them singing, 'O sole mio', but maybe that was too much to expect.
Inside A Gondola: Venice Italy
Stepping into a gondola is like being in a sitting room decorated with satins and velvets, plush seats, plumped up cushions and beautiful woven rugs. The gondolier takes you back to a less hectic time and if you are lucky, as well as getting a narrative on the history of Venice, you may get serenaded.
The Orient Express at Santa Lucia Station, Venice Italy
We were so fortunate to be in Venice to see the Orient Express arrive on Good Friday evening. We made our way to Santa Lucia Station for about 6 p.m. on the evening of Good Friday to see this iconic train arrive at Platform 2 after its two day journey across Europe. Alas, no Hercule Poiret aboard this time but there seemed to be many smiling passengers leaving the train. They were probably very well taken care of during the journey and were escorted to the waiting water taxis for the short trip to their luxurious Venetian hotel.
Books About Venice offered through Amazon
The Florian Cafe in St. Mark's Square: Venice Italy
The Caffe is renowned as being the oldest cafe in Italy, established in 1720 by Floriano Francesconi. It is an elegant, rather expensive, restaurant located in St. Mark's Square where a cup of coffee can cost up to 5 Euros. However, the Florian is a grand place to sit and soak up the atmosphere in one of the world's most famous landmarks while being wined and dined and entertained by their own orchestra.
The Church Of Santa Maria Della Salute
On the evening of Easter Sunday we decided to walk to the Church of Santa Maria Della Salute to see the sun set. The Church is seen off in the distance from St. Mark's Square but to get there you need to walk through the Saint Marco area of Venice and cross the Academia Bridge and then walk past the Peggy Guggenheim Museum to the end of the spit. The two-domed Church, built as a thank you to the Virgin Mary for ending the terrible plague in the 1600s is one of the most impressive Churches in Venice. As we arrived there rather late, we didn't go into the Church but we are anxious to explore the interior next time because it contains many amazing paintings like one of TItian's earliest works and Tintoretto's, 'Marriage Feast At Cana'. It was truly a memorable moment to stand in such an awe-inspiring place to watch the sun set into the West.
The Rialto Bridge
This is probably, along with 'The Bridge Of Sighs', the most recognizable bridge in Venice. It is also the first stone bridge to be built in Venice and is arched high enough to allow larger boats to pass underneath. The Rialto Bridge is always busy and bustling due to the many shops and stalls lining the length of the bridge. It is amazing standing in the middle of the bridge watching Venice going about its business.
The Island of St. George
The Island of St. George can be seen across the water from St. Mark's Square and almost looks like Venice in miniature because of its own Campanile and Bell Tower. The Island is particularly interesting if you are partial to Italian works of art. The Church of St. George The Greater is very recognizable by its beautiful dome. There are paintings by Carpaccio and one of the most famous artists, Tintoretto. His painting of, 'The Last Supper' graces one of the walls of this magnificent Church.
Five Days In Venice: - Rain and Shine
Come with us on a short video journey to Venice. We arrived there on the Thursday before Easter and stayed until the Tuesday after Easter Monday. The weather could have been better but it made us really appreciate the wonderful Venetian light in the sunshine. We packed a lot into the five days and came away feeling that it is certainly worth a return visit.
Venice In The Rain
It is always a bit depressing if it rains when you are on holiday but to look on the bright side the reflections in the puddles can make for an interesting picture when all the multi-coloured umbrellas appear. On our visit we had plenty of opportunity to take photos in the rain, except one glorious afternoon.
Have you been to Venice
We would be interested to know about your trip to Venice. What did you like best about your trip? What were your favourite places in Venice, your favourite restaurants etc.
If you are planning a visit to the beautiful city of Venice, we hope you find this lense useful and any comments useful in planning your trip. Buon Viaggio!!