Unique Venice, Italy… by Ray Raposo


The Unforgettable Venice, Italy 

Venice is located in the northeastern coast of Italy, all around the Venetian Lagoon. Venice is truly one of the most unique cities in the world. What makes it so different is that Venice is a city made up of over 100 small islands separated by winding canals and connected by a maze of over 400 pedestrian bridges.

By Grand Canal and the Santa Lucia Train Station

Venice is divided into 6 boroughs, one of these is the main historic Venice which in turn consists of 6 areas. The 6 areas, are Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce and most notably San Marco. They are the ones most visitors usually go to when visiting Venice.

Writer Ray on one of the many pedestrian bridges over the canals

Unless you have visited Venice, you might not know that there are no motor vehicles in any of these islands. There is a long causeway that allows both cars and trains to approach from the mainland to the Santa Lucia train station. Once there you can either walk or ride one of the many boats available to get from place to place. Venice is Europe’s largest vehicle free urban area by far.

Restaurants like this are featured all around San Marco Piazza

These days you can also fly to Marco Polo airport, or arrive by large cruise ships to Venice’s surrounding areas. When visiting Venice, I suggest you stay in one of the numerous hotels within these 6 main areas of Venice. Some tourists make the mistake of staying on the mainland and thus waste invaluable time getting into and later returning to their hotels, not to mention spending more time and money buying tickets for different forms of water taxis.

Honeymooners Blake and Lauren at San Marco Piazza with Basilica and Campanilla

Some of Venice’s main tourist attractions are found in San Marco. Starting with the large Piazza that features St. Mark’s Basilica and the Campanile, or bell tower. The plaza is surrounded by restaurants, many featuring outdoor seating and at night have bands and singers performing. There are also small storefronts selling anything from Italian Gelato to fine leather goods.

San Giorgio Maggiore Church on San Giorgio

By the Grand Canal, the views of San Giorgio island across the water and the many gondolas tied to the wooden docks provide one of the most picturesque scenes in all of Venice. If you get a chance, buy a ticket to the top of the bell tower for some incredible 360 degree views of the surrounding area. I suggest to wait towards the end of the day to avoid the long line to enter. Venice is a huge tourist destination, it can be overcrowded, it averages more than 50,000 tourist a day! However the earlier you get out and about the better to avoid crowds in general!

Overlooking the San Marco Piazza, writer Ray, cousins Blake and Lauren, and wife Peg

Venice’s architecture is made up of Renaissance and Gothic palaces. These buildings have been constructed on wooden piles spaced closely together and the foundations lay on limestone footings. Amazingly these piles are still supporting these structures after centuries being under water. There are times, specially at high tide that water creeps up in areas such as Piazza San Marco and the Basilica, and walking platforms are placed to aid in getting around; it is yet another unique Venetian sight to behold.

Writer Ray & Peg with the Rialto Bridge in the background

Other places many tourist gravitate to is the famous Rialto Bridge, a beautiful ornate covered 16th-century stone footbridge which arcs over the Grand Canal and hosts a number of stores and eateries. The bridge’s steps and facades have been renovated as of late 2016 making it even more beautiful.

Venice is also very well known for hosting masked Carnivals and masked balls several times a year. Stores sell these very ornate masks of many sizes and all kinds of incredible costumes in stores all over Venice. If this festival is of interest to you, schedule your trip accordingly!

The magnificent San Marco Basilica

Besides the large San Marco Basilica, there are numerous other churches throughout Venice which you can find just walking around from area to area, going over both small and medium sized bridges. Venice’s winding narrow streets can be like puzzle pieces, but no matter where you windup you’ll likely to be enthralled by the surroundings. You’ll run into museums you can visit and an endless amount of restaurants, all kinds of goods and souvenir stores, and cafes you can try. You might run into an open farmer’s market full of fruits and vegetables and any imaginable fresh seafood ready for you to buy.

Another larger canal with two pedestrian bridges in the distance

One other island outside the main six is Murano, located just north. You’ll find many hotels inviting you to take a free tour to Murano to see their famous glass creations actually being made by glass blowing artists. These Murano glass creations are anything from elegant necklaces to artistic vases, goblets, different animals and numerous decorative pieces, both large and small. They also sell these creations all around Venice storefronts, they can cost from a few Euros to hundreds and even several thousand.

The Basilica dei Frati features 12 huge columns inside.

Venice, Italy is definitely a city you’ll want to see and fully experience for yourself. Regardless of how many places you’ve visited, Venice is a truly unique place like no other, and a must in any dream vacation.

Scuola Grande di San Rocco Art Museum
By one of the many interior canals with gondolas
Blake and Lauren by the iconic Bridge of Sighs