Arriving by airplane form Catania, Sicily about 9:00 AM, our first hint that this was a different sort of town was when we took a waterbus from the airport instead of a bus or a taxi. There is actually a “water road” marked by large piers on either side, to guide the boats through the water, each boat keeping to its right, just as in a car driving situation. On the way we passed the Island of Murano, famous for its glass blowing companies, and Museum.
Then, we were in the Gran Canal, surrounded on both sides by beautiful palaces, boats, people and lots of things to look at. Our hotel was very near the Rialto Bridge, one of the most famous sites in the city. Many of the Gran Canal pictures were taken from that bridge.
One of the most wonderful things about Venice (besides all the canals and boats), is the absolute lack of any motorized vehicles, cars as well as the ever present motor scooters in the rest of Italy. It was total pedestrian bliss; even the crowds of tourists were not too bad.
In the afternoon, we walked to Saint Mark’s Square, although somehow we ended up at Accademia, we soon corrected ourselves and came to the famous plaza. Aside from the famous church (which was undergoing some reconstruction or cleaning work, was and partially covered), the first thing you noticed was all the crazy tame pigeons… all over people if they held still, or had some grain to feed.
Although the church and Doge’s Palace were closed, we rode the elevator to the top of the Campanile bell tower, and got some fantastic shots of the view of Venice in all directions.
Early the next morning we again arrived in the area, and this time took the tours of both Saint Mark’s Basilica (beautiful and technically free, but every time you turned the corner they wanted several Euros to go further, we were quite disappointed) as well as the Doge’s Palace (quite worth the cost), including the trip over the covered “Bridge of Sighs” into a medieval prison that must have been quite ghastly when in use… we could just imagine the smells and the sounds. We also toured the Correr Museum, and returned via the crazy twisted streets, bridges, and covered walkways, finishing with a fantastic dinner on a piazza under the lights.
Two days is certainly not enough for Venice, so we are scheduling this one for a return visit.