Will there be complaints if my drink is red, Instead of being traditional green? It is not what the ceremony bled, But it is the drink of my current scene. There is still a fair amount I will imbibe, So I can find the proper state of mind. I do not want to hear your diatribe Of how the island is not so refined, But I find myself a lot further south, And they still celebrate this holiday. Something different goes into their mouth, Toasting the saint in their own special way. The bottle of red wine will do the trick On the Venetian’s day of St. Patrick.
When you travel to a famous place, there are always must see sights, especially if it is your first time there. Sometimes these places are so important that when you travel back to these certain places, you find that you want to make it there again to see if it is the same as you remembered it the first time you were there. When traveling the Venice, there are two such places, the Rialto Bridge, and San Marco Square. These places are even better if you can make it out to them during the off season, when the crowds are not as large.
It is also interesting to see how much the place has changed over the years. Of course, the same stores and sites are still in place, but the last time I was out here, the square was covered in pigeons. Back then, you could buy bird feed and wait with it in your hands as the birds would crawl all over you to get a bite. The city of Venice was okay with this, because back then, they would add birth control to the bird feed to keep the population of the pigeons down. I found out later, that they stopped doing this shortly after I was there last time, but apparently the plan had worked. These birds were no longer all over the place, and the square was open for people to walk on through.
The pigeons are not the reason that people come to this place though. There are plenty of other great sites lined up on the square that make it worth visiting. The Doge’s palace is one of these sites. It was where the leader of Venice used to live during the height of its economic power. It is a fancy building filled with ancient art from before and up to the Renaissance. It also has the spot where people can peer out the Bridge of Sighs. People being imprisoned in Venice would cross over this bridge when they were being led to jail for the rest of their lives, and the small window would offer their last view of Venice as they made their way to this final spot. It is pretty expensive to get in to see these things, starting at 30 Euro a person, but if you walk behind the building, you can still see the Bridge of Sighs and people peering out of it in a much better mood than the people who gave the bridge its original name.
And of course, there is the Basillica di San Marco which attracts an even larger crowd. Most of this is because it is a lot less expensive to enter being only three Euro a person. This will take you inside the cathedral whose inside is covered in mosaic that is worth a fortune just in stones used for it alone. Add together the intricate patterns that are created with these stones, it makes for a place worth your time to walk around.
For a little extra, you can go up to the top floor and tour the museum. It is filled with precious pieces of art, which the one being the most impressive is the four horses. Replicas of these horses can be seen on top of the basillica, and it used to be the resting place that housed these horses. This is not the end of the story though. The horses are actually older than the cathedral itself. They were found originally in Constantinople and were stolen by the Venetians to be brought to this cathedral and placed there. Nobody is sure how old they are, but they think that they date all the way back to the third century AD.
All in all, it is a great place to visit twice, and both of the times I have come here, I have enjoyed it. San Marco Piazza is a must see place, and I hope that someday you can make it out there to enjoy it as well.
Don’t be fooled. You are not looking at a picture of Venice. This is an island very close to Venice and usually associated with a visit to this historic site. If you ever walk down the streets of Venice, you will find many shops selling the very expensive blown glass sculptures. These small pieces of art come from this other island where artisans come to show their hands at this craft, and if you want, you can take a short vaporetto, water bus, ride out there to see how it is done. You just need to find one of the buses that will take you out to the island of Murano, and you can see where all of this blown glass comes from.
The big question is whether the trip is worth it. It is not that far of a ride, and when you get there, you will be able to see more shops selling more intricate pieces. It is fun to look at the art, but the island has the same kind of feel that Venice does, only on a smaller scale. If this is a type of art form that you are interested in, there are displays that you can witness to watch how they create it. If you get tired of looking at art, there are places where you can grab a gelato, or a nice Italian meal, and when I went out there, the crowds were a little smaller than the ones I experienced on Venice. So for these reasons, it is a nice day trip to take if you find yourself staying in Venice for an extended stay.
But this comes with a warning. The way you got out there is the way you have to get back. The vaporettos only come every twenty minutes, and that is if they are running on time. There are a lot of stops along the way, and at a certain time in the afternoon, they start to get packed. I was there during the off season in March, and I had to wait for four different boats before I was able to squeeze onto one. I also left at 2:30 in the afternoon thinking that it would be before the crowds got there. I could not imagine what it would be like during a rush hour, or during the height of the tourist season. The point being if you go out there, you might find yourself stuck in line for a long time trying to get back to the main island.
To be clear, I really enjoyed the afternoon I spent on Murano. It was fun looking at the glass sculptures, and I had a great lunch. My frustration came when I tried to leave the island. The feeling I got from the island could have easily been found on Venice without the frustration of having to travel both ways to get there. Murano is not a must see, but for a certain select group of people, I could see why they would want to go there. If you are one of those people, please make your way out there, but try to plan it to avoid the frustration of trying to get back. Make sure you are on the stop that picks up passengers first, or leave later in the evening where there is not a mad rush to get back to Venice. It is the one thing that can make the time there not worth it, but otherwise, it can be a lot of fun to experience what all the noise about the Murano glass is all about.
Thanks for listening, and until next time, enjoy your time traveling.
When I was just starting off in my teaching career, I had saved up enough money to fly over to Europe to spend fifty days traveling around the various countries. I was working on a shoestring budget and spent a lot of time in various hostels, eating meals of bread and cheese to make sure that we were able to enjoy ourselves the best our budget would allow. There were many cities on that trip that I really enjoyed and I always told myself that when I could afford them more, I would come back to see them again.
Venice, Italy was one of these places. Some of the others disappeared from my mind as I continued to travel around the world, but Venice never did. It has always been one of my favorite places to have visited, and I tell people all the time that if they ever get a chance to make it out there, they should.
There is not another place in the world like it. The city has taken over this tiny island on the eastern edge of Italy. Because of all the water and canals, no motored vehicles are allowed to make their way across the cobblestone streets. This means that the roads are free for people to walk up and down at their leisure, and it also makes Venice the best walking town in the world.
One of my favorite memories from the last trip was wandering around Venice for a day. It is the perfect place to get lost in. You can’t get so lost that you will never be able to find your way out because you are on an island, and you cannot leave it. At the same time you can get lost enough where you find yourself strolling down back alleys and seeing sights that you would never suspect seeing. You will always be able to make it back to some place where you know where you are, such as San Marco Piazza, or the Rialto Bridge, and from there, you can catch a water bus back to a place close to where you are staying. It makes for a fun and cheap day of exploring one of the best cities in the world.
I am glad that I have been able to make my way back here, so I can explore more of this city. Coming back before the tourist season, in March, has been another treat. The crowds I had to fight sometimes, the last time I was here, are nowhere to be seen which allows me the freedom to get completely lost in the medieval maze and sometime feel like the whole city is here for me and me alone. It is great to know that the memories I made the last time I was out here did not steer me wrong, and it is still a great place to visit. I hope you get the chance to do it yourself some time, so you can share the corners of this city that you have discovered on your own day of wandering the city.