venice

Ciao! Venice, or Venezia, is a romantic destination that is made up of 118 flat islands off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Although the sea can be enjoyed by Lido Beach-goers, the real attractions are the canals.

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Getting Around Venice

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Atop the Rialto Bridge.

Of course, you can be enticed by a gondolier to ride the infamous long, flat-bottom boats all the while being serenaded to traditional Italian songs. Or, for a quicker ride, opt to explore the waterways in a vaporetto. The transportation from the airport to the city is one to be remembered- Devin was impressed by the aggressive taxi boat drivers passing our water bus, their high speeds creating enough waves to splash our faces through the open windows.

If you prefer staying on solid ground, explore the narrow city streets on foot. We can bet big money that is the number one recommendation on any blog post- simply wandering the puzzling routes of the streets. Connected by bridges or halted at dead ends, Venice is one place that may require the use of a map and definitely a camera. As you do walk around, you’ll absolutely being to notice and appreciate the simplicity of the trimming of the buildings. How simple it would have been to repaint, repair and reconstruct many of the homes and buildings, yet, Venice remains largely unchanged, hardly tainted by the modern styles or tourism.

The Charm is Real

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The view right outside our window.

In a typical day, you can see plenty of old-fashioned locals living the endearing Italian clichés. We were fortunate enough to score accommodations along a canal, off-the-beaten-path in a residential area. Sure, there was construction outside our door and a dance studio in the flat above us, but it didn’t take away from what it was like staying on the canal. We witnessed the stereotypical old women gossiping and shouting out the windows across the canal. They had a whole conversation which we presumed was about her recent shopping purchases, as she proceeded to try on a new pair of sunglasses for her friend. She was adorable- we smiled and waved to her every time we saw her looking in our direction.

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Smells like Tide!

Later during a walk, we found a group of suspender-wearing, cane-bearing old men sitting on benches in a piazza talking with their hands actively, probably about politics. And, but of course, there’s the laundry. How little and unimportant it seems to write about LAUNDRY. But, it truly does add to the magic of Venice. Seeing the colorful clothing, sheets and rugs draped in the alleys, mixed with the fresh, clean scent intensifies the enchantment of the city streets. However, what doesn’t is probably the dog poop, pigeons and graffiti.

Attractions

After growing tiresome of losing yourselves in the streets, you might want to follow a map to one of the many attractions that Venice has to offer:

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Typical souvenir, hand-made Italian opera masks.

1.) St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) Yes, this is where the majority of the tourists congregate, but honestly, due to the large size of the square, it’s not all THAT bad. In the square, you can visit St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) – which is FREE, Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale)- #2 on TripAdvisor, a former political building, campanile- which offers spectacular views of the city and a clock tower (Torre dell’Orologio). There are many combination tours available that offer personal visits at discounted prices. St. Mark’s Square is also pretty to visit at night, where there is usually classical music playing at different locations around the square. But, do prepare to be hassled to purchase souvenirs and flying light up toys.

2.) After you’ve made the compulsory visit at the square, you might want to venture off to see two other islands: Murano and Burano. Murano is known for its quality glass products. There, you can purchase all different types and specialties. Burano is known for its fluorescent, vibrant colored buildings along the canal. We decided to skip these excursions this time around- but it could be fun to take a glass-blowing class next time around? There’s no way any sort of glass would survive in our backpacks.

3.) See a show at La Fenice (Teatro La Fenice). Unfortunately, due to our current last-minute planning lifestyle, all the shows we were interested in were sold out. Devin did confide in Ryann when in Prague that he has never seen a ballet or opera, and wouldn’t mind seeing one in Europe. (He is going to kill me when he sees this, but it’s true. He said it.)

4.) Of course, check out the Rialto Bridge! While we went it was under construction (story of our lives). But it’s a lively atmosphere of flower vendors, bumming around at restaurants and caffès, and naturally selfiez for dayz.

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St. Mark’s Square.

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