I always had a fascination for the city of Venice. When I think about Venice, I think about Gothic architecture, masquerades and masks, elaborate palazzos and grand palaces, romance and tragedy.
And I am sure you would have your own impression of Venice too – it’s after all one of the most iconic tourist spots in the world.
In October last year I finally had a chance to visit… I really really loved it.
The buildings in Venice are quite literally on top of the water:
Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco)
We dropped off at St Mark’s Square. Here’s the Doge’s Palace! If you had been to The Venetian in Macau or Las Vegas, I am sure the facade is familiar! But this is the real deal.
St Mark’s Square.
We walked around a fair bit, before proceeding for our gondola ride.
Gondola rides are expensive – I Googled the rates and the average starts from 80 Euros and up! Something you should take into consideration (and budget for) if you are planning to come here. Still, we paid for the ride because we felt that a gondola ride was a quintessential part of Venice after all.
The gondola was amazing-balls!
Ok, we were still part of a tour group, so it was five to a boat and not a romantic river ride with an Italian cutie, sigh.
The gondolier was so good. I have no idea how he navigated the boat without knocking into other gondolas or the buildings.
Passing under the Bridge of Sighs. The Bridge of Sighs was so named because it offered the last view of Venice to prisoners before they were led to prison.
A man out for fresh air from the restaurant.
So close to water.
And the gondoliers do sing to you!!
As we passed through the canals which eventually led to narrower canals, the sky grew darker and made everything looked golden and mysterious.
There was music drifting out from this building we passed and you can see there’s one room that was quite lavishly decorated. I can’t help but wonder if some ball/party was going on.
Saw this mask shop through the darkness. I wanted to go to the shop the next day, but couldn’t find it again.
When we ended the ride, it was dusk and oh-so-lovely. I think it was during this gondola ride that I decided Venice was amazingly alluring. It was cold but there was music everywhere (really!) and so many people.
The next day, we explored Venice properly. Another mask shop!
Decided to visit the famous Rialto Bridge with this lovely Italian uncle and auntie who were super nice and took care of us – it was like going on an excursion with our grandparents.
Hidden canals and hidden streets.
The view from Rialto Bridge!
Awww.. so sweet!
Us trio on the bridge!
Venetian people are quite adamant about how their wares are not made in China. When I was there, signs similar to this one below were everywhere.
Headed to an osteria nearby for coffee.
Beyond the Rialto Bridge was a stretch of canal-side dining restaurants and cafes. The pavements opened up to the canal itself, like a mini-boardwalk.
I went to chase them seagulls. Look at the water level – almost flooding the sidewalk. 😦
Visited Rialto Market. Unfortunately the fish market side wasn’t opened because it was a Sunday.
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant. There was a cute waiter who tried his badly accented Chinese on us!
Pasta and more pasta. Also, beer.
We also tried a traditional Venetian appetizer called sarde in saor which is essentially cold sardine preserved in vinegar and some other ingredients. I like fish in general so I liked the dish, but it may not be to everyone’s taste because it’s quite fishy.
Wandered around Venice after lunch. Of course by then we were a bit tipsy from the beer. We played a game – cross every bridge we saw, and attempt to get lost in Venice!
We wandered and wandered into what seemed to be the residential area of Venice.
Then we got tired of being lost and headed for some dessert.
The restaurant we found was an expensive tourist bait with good views of the Grand Canal, but we were at the end of our Italy holiday and had Euros to spare. Plus we only had drinks and desserts.
The waiters were all outrageous flirts! But I am really quite impressed at how…. uncynical and nice they are to tourists. They must have seen hundreds, if not thousands of tourists throughout their years there, and yet they continue to be patient and crack jokes and ask you about where you are from, how long are you going to be in Venice, do you enjoy Venice etc – even though I am sure they must have heard every single answer by now.
Boy doing random pushup!
We wandered around a lot more, and found a mask shop. I bought a really pretty golden mask home. A bit impractical (and I had a lot of problem making sure it wasn’t squashed during my flight back) but omg pretty.
We got tired and decided to find another place to sit down. I decided to try a Spritz – heard that it was a traditional Venetian cocktail!
It was quite bitter though! Well good experience. We waited until the sun set. Sat at the cafe and people-watched. I wished so much I had more days there.
My last photo taken of Venice.
Yes, I was very enamoured by Venice (as if you can’t tell!).
I reallly don’t know why. It is so crowded, and so touristy. And it stinks in some areas. But I just love it. Maybe I am just taken by how romantic it was?
I leave you with this old song by Gareth Gates – Stupid Mistake. They shot it in Venice and you can see the reflections of the canals in the night scenes. Maybe you can see the appeal if you watch the video. 🙂