Venice. About 3 years ago I found myself in this city at a really short notice of 2 days. With no time to research or read on it, I was quite unprepared as to what to expect or the unique things to see and do here. So I just spent all my time just walking around and exploring the nooks and corners of this unique city.
As luck would have it kept raining all day. But I still managed to explore quite a bit of this city and capture some of its beauty through my camera. Sharing the same with you all via a photo essay below.
On first impressions Venice seemed to me to be a shabby, old and a dying city. But after wandering through it all day, I somehow felt that these characteristics lent an air of beauty, nostalgia, melancholy and mystery to it. I think it is this feeling that also lends the famous air of romance that people associate with the city.
Venice is a city teeming with centuries old history and art and is a photographers delight. No matter where you walk, there is always a sight or scene you just want to capture through your lens and in the memory cells of your brain forever.
Many buildings here have a beautiful mix of the old and the new. I loved this old building with its lovely windows and the modern additions of pipes and water storage tanks.
Venice is a city of many bridges and some of the most beautiful and ornate ones too. Apparently there are 417 bridges in all and 72 of them are private.
I recently read “The City of Falling Angels” by John Berendt wherein a local Count makes an interesting observation on Venetian bridges. He says that globally everyone sees a bridge as an obstacle. But for Venetians bridges mean transitions or links. They go over them slowly and as part of a rhythm.
Venice is famous for its canals. There are a total of 177 canals and the main route of communication. Hence all houses have main gates on the side of the canal and a parking station for their boats in front of it. And in the evenings, with no cars and the boats moored for the night, Venice is one of the quietest places you would have ever been to.
Like we have street corners all over the world, Venice has canal corners 🙂 And not all canals are clean.
Venice is not easy for directionally challenged people like me to navigate. The lanes are narrow, with no names and numbers, and all look pretty much alike.
Venice is full of people no matter the season or time of day. Hence to make the most of your Venice experience the best way is to quickly explore the crowded touristy sights (and as early as possible in the day) and to then leisurely enjoy the empty bylanes and the other beautiful sights Venice has to offer.
In Venice, all articles recommend taking a ride in a gondola. But all my friends were strictly against it and instead recommended taking a normal water taxi instead for an authentic Venetian experience. They were all of the view that gondolas are too over-priced and not worth it. I stuck to their advice and didn’t ride one. But I felt they make beautiful subjects for pics.
After my random walking around the city, at some point I found myself at one the most famous square in the world – Piazza San Marco.
I couldn’t visit the St. Mark’s Basilica from inside as the queue was just too long but I had a nice time clicking away some of its beautiful exteriors.
I love this pic of the Campanile and what I term as the dancing figurines 🙂
The Square provides ample opportunity of people watching and I loved this small kid. He was running after the pigeons and trying to get them to fly. But the pigeons just refused to oblige leaving the kid mystified 🙂
I loved the beautiful pink lampshades all around the Piazza.
Many authors (over centuries) and filmmakers have been inspired by this city and looking at sights such as these, you don’t have to wonder why.
Tips for the trip –
- Venice is a pedestrian city and hence be prepared to walk everywhere.
- It is always extremely crowded and an expensive city. If you are planning to visit then be sure to book your accommodation as early as possible. I tried booking a place 2 days in advance and there was nothing available.
- The city is not that big and you can stay pretty much in any corner. You can also stay in another island and use a water bus to commute.
- Don’t buy souvenirs or eat at cafes in the touristy areas. Its super expensive and in majority of cases, a tourist trap.
- Many restaurants in Italy have a cover charge i.e. they charge you to sit at the restaurant and eat, a charge for regular drinking water and an additional service charge. If you are a budget traveler, then do consider taking a take-away and sit in any of the public parks and squares to enjoy your meal.