Venice – The Floating City

After our trip through Italy, from Rome down to Sorento, we travelled back from Sorento through to Bologna, where we changed trains and headed to Venice.

A bit of a mix up at Bologna; we were getting quite proud of our negotiating train travel in a foreign country that we got a little cocky. We had our tickets, we found platform 4, and we were there in plenty of time.

But no train came; when we asked someone about the train they told us that it had already left. Who would of thought that there would be a platform 4 above ground – where we were – and another platform 4 underground – where we weren’t.

No drama though. we just caught a local train through to Venice and arrive only an hour or so after the Eurostar would have.

As a matter of fact the local train was far more entertaining; listening to the comings and goings of the local Italians as they went about their dayily business.

On arriving at Venice station we hussled to our first experience of a water bus to get across to the city proper.

Photo of Erika in the back streets of Venice

Erika in Venice

Venetia is a city in northeast Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges.It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region. In 2009, there were 270,098 people residing in Venice’s comune (the population estimate of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia; around 60,000[2] in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico); 176,000 in Terraferma (the Mainland), mostly in the large frazioni of Mestre and Marghera; 31,000 live on other islands in the lagoon). Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE) (population 1,600,000).

The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city historically was the capital of the Venetian Republic. Venice has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. Luigi Barzini described it in The New York Times as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”. Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe’s most romantic cities.

Our travel agent George had done it again and we found ourselves in fantastic accommodation right on the Grand Canal, in spitting distance of the famous Rialto Bridge.

Photo of Rialto Bridge in Venice

Rialto Bridge

We spent 2 wonderful days in Venice exploring it’s maze of narrow streets, historical buildings and fine dining restaurants overlooking the Grand Canal. We had a meal at one of these one night; it was magical, great service and with that Venice atmosphere, a memory that I will never forget.

We had been on the road for a week now, so thought it time to do a bit of washing. We refered to our Lonely Planet Guide and found that a few short stops down the canal we would find a laundrymat. so we head off.

We watched the locals getting off and on the water buses and worked out a strategy for us to do the same; we managed to catch one going in the direction we wanted. Unfortunatley, it skipped the stop we wanted, so we had to get off and jump on one coming back the other way. NO problem, we can do that. We got another water bus going back the way we had come, and again it skipped the stop we wanted. Not to be out done, we got off the water bus we were on and waited for one going our way. We got one, once again it missed the stop we wanted, then missed the next stop, and the next, then kept going out to sea.

We had jumped on the outer island water bus. Over the next few hours we visited all the islands around Venice. but, we did manage to get an insight to how the locals get about. We witnessed a funeral on water, and ended up having a very enjoyable few hours.