Oh Venice, you’re a dream. You look and feel like a movie set. (Dangerous Beauty anyone?) 118 small islands laced by canals, connected by over 400 bridges and in a beautiful state of decay. Sure is easy to see why approximately 20 million people flock to Venice each year. Truth be told, we didn’t visit any of the museums or palaces but instead enjoyed wandering the alleys, crossing bridges and admiring the sheer splendor that is the floating city.
We stayed in an Airbnb across from Campo San Barnaba in Dorsoduro and the neighborhood felt about as “non-touristy” as one can get in Venice. The view from our window was charming and picturesque even with the rain that decided to join us. We made the most of it… surrounded by water, what’s a bit more? 😉
Once upon a time, Venice’s waterways were filled with over 10,000 gondolas! Horses were banned from the streets and boats became THE way to get around town. That number has dwindled down to about 400 and now only used by us tourists. All gondola’s must be black, a 17th-century law designed to eliminate competition for the fanciest boat. But each can have unique interior detailing with upholstery, rugs and decoration. We didn’t ride in one because they are quite expensive!
We cruised up and down the Grand Canal on the public waterbus, the Vaporetto. We passed under the famous Rialto Bridge a few times, the oldest bridge in the city with rows of shops lining the covered interior. The Vaporetto always seemed to take longer than we expected and we almost missed our train on the way out of town!
We hopped over to Piazza San Marco in the early evening and lucky for us, the rain had let up. The Square has many of Venice’s top attractions including St Mark’s Basilica and Bell Tower. We spotted several winged lion statues and carvings, the symbol of Venice.
Next to the Basilica is the Doge’s Palace. The Doge was the elected leader of the Republic of Venice between 726 and 1797. We learned that citizens found guilty of crimes against the state were said to have been executed on the balcony between the red marble columns.
We waited for the sun to go down and the square to light up. We walked by Caffè Florian, one of the oldest cafe’s in Europe where a cappuccino will set you back 15 euros!