Venice – The sinking city

Ah Venice, the city for hopeless romantics, powered by endless canals enriched with the gorgeous gondola’s that glide through the sea. Within 5 years, this beautiful city could be engulfed by the rising oceans of global warming, so let us give you a review on how to get Venice captured in a day, or as much as physically possible!

Accommodation

Camping Serenissima, a cheap alternative to 5* locations along the Grand Canal, is situated outside of Venice centre. We went for the lowest of the low and it was pretty grubby but at least the heater worked…

Food

We cooked gorgonzola & veggie pasta and sandwiches, so have no real input on fine places to eat in Venice. As with any major tourist city, the places trying to drag you in tend to be the worst!

Sights 

  • St Mark’s
  • Grand Canal
  • Piazza San Marco
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Jewish Ghetto
  • Gondola Rides
  • Campanile – A bird’s eye view of Venice
  • Burano, Murano and Torcello – the three colourful islands off Venice

Our 2 night, 1 day stay, started with a sketchy trip out to the outskirts of Venice to find our campsite. Camping Serenissima, a general hotspot for people wanting to avoid the extortionate charges of central Venice, came to our budget rescue. There is a local, regular bus for €1.50 from the Venice Bus Station that drops you right outside. The first evening was just a stroll around the area to get some food and another top up of limoncello, with serious signs of an addiction brewing to the stuff. We wined and dined and hit the hay in our portable shed.

So here goes, 1 day in Venice. Get up bright and early and make yourself feel fresh with a healthy dose of Italian coffee and breakfast. If you’re in the centre, you’ve got a head start on us but a bus every fifteen minutes helped our ordeal.

Blue skies and crystal waters would’ve helped our experience but we treated to British weather, murky and grey with the odd pitter patter of rain. Nevertheless, you are awestruck by the waterways and way of life that seeps out of the city. There’s an aura of class, that clashes with an eruption of tourism :/

We wandered round aimlessly for an hour or so and it’s important to avoid this! Buy a map for €3 and wander the narrow alleys. Window shopping was great but the direction we took was Piazza San Marco. On the left of the piazza is the Torre dell’Orologio (Moor’s Clock Tower) with its distinctive clock face and two moors standing on top and hammering the large bell on the hour. To the right is the Campanile, towering over the piazza and offering a panoramic view over Venice.

The Basilica had five beautiful ornate domes that evoke the merging of Romanesque and Byzantine architecture. Originally built to house the body of St. Mark, rescued from Alexandria by Venetian traders, depicted by paintings inside the domes of St Marks body being hidden in barrels of pork as the Muslims would only glance over the pork in disgust due to their religion. Pigs save lives!

Moving through the Piazza San Marco, there are the two granite columns signifying the gateway to Venice’s magnificent Palazzo Ducal (Doge’s Palace). Nicknamed “the wedding cake”, it had wonderfully ornate arcades and its facade was covered in pink Verona marble and Istrian limestone. For all people with tight wallet strings, it’s amusing to look around the restaurants and revel in the fact some people find worth in a €22 espresso. Even for the gorgeous setting, come on! There is the downside of a tonne of pigeons however, although some people like the attention of them and get them resting along their arms!

The €80 gondola fee seemed quite steep for us, so we opted for the €2 taxi gondola which crosses the water between the two islands. A little less romantic perhaps but it was enough for us! It took us across the water to the BIG WHITE CHURCH, otherwise known as Basilica di Santa Maria della Statue which was another stunning representation of Italian architecture. There is a ferry bus that you can use daily, known as the ACTV water bus service of Venice.

We ended up going to the Jewish ghetto, via the Rialto Bridge and explored the streets and canals around there, ending up in a lovely cafe. This was an area where Jews were compelled to live under the Venetian Republic and this is where the English word “ghetto” derives from! A lot of history and quirky culture is found here.

And that really is about that! We had grub and departed to Verona the next day. If we had chance, we would’ve soaked in the 3 islands around Venice and taken in their colour and splendour. It really is an expensive playground, yet you can still embrace the charm and elegance Venice expels on a shoestring budget.

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