A Visit to Venice
I think Italy is near the top of most everyone’s travel bucket list, and why not, the country has so much to offer! The last time I traveled to Italy was about 15 years ago, so I was extremely excited about my return trip which allowed me to revisit a couple of cities I had been to previously and also explore some new ones. Italy is a perfect destination for a romantic escapade, a multi-generation trip, or a “girls get-away”, the latter of which best described my journey, as I was accompanied by my sister and a cousin. We started out in Venice, one of my favorite places in the world, and we continued on to Florence and the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, up to Lake Como and then to the metropolis of Milan. In this article, I will concentrate on Venice and some of the surrounding islands, but stay tuned for future articles on some of our other Italian destinations.
Venice is such a unique and mysterious place … but what makes it so unique also challenges its very existence. How has it managed to survive after all these centuries? Truly an engineering phenomenon, Venice’s watery setting, rising sea levels, frequent flooding, and structural erosion caused by motorboat wakes have threatened the city for generations. But proud Venetians are not ones to give in easily, and ongoing measures are being taken to protect this fragile city, so more travelers from around the world will have the opportunity to discover the treasures hidden within it. The city’s labyrinth network of islands, bridges, pedestrian alleys, and canals represent a maze beyond belief — and therein lays the beauty of this destination. It’s fun to explore, get lost, and find your way in and out of the numerous alleyways and canals.
During our stay in Venice, we also visited the small island of Murano, where glass blowing is king. Murano’s reputation as a center for glassmaking was born in the late 13th century when the Venetian Republic, fearing fire and the destruction of the city’s mostly wooden buildings, ordered glassmakers to move their foundries to Murano in 1291. There you can visit shops and galleries and purchase anything from a chandelier to wine glasses to jewelry to Christmas ornaments.
Another side trip outside of Venice is the island of Burano. Burano is known for its brightly colored fisherman’s houses and casual eateries which serve fresh seafood from its lagoon. (The banner image at the top of this blog article is from Burano. Hint: Notice the bicycle in the center of the image? There are no wheeled human transportation vehicles at all in Venice per se – even bicycles are prohibited.) Burano also has some lovely lace shops where one can get table linens, scarves, or clothing. There’s even a small museum dedicated to their art of lace making.
Venice itself is incredible, and at the heart of it all is the San Marco Piazza. Located within that is the Doge Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica and clock tower. Since Venice is made of more than 100 tiny islands, all connected by bridges, there is no traffic noise, which can be somewhat peaceful. Of course a trip to Venice is not complete without a gondola ride or walking across the Rialto Bridge to view the Grand Canal. There are numerous international flights in and out of Venice which makes it very easy to either start or end a trip to Italy from this magical city.