First Visit to Venice
Wandering through the narrow alleyways, and over the little bridges that link the islands together. The peace of a completely pedestrianized city. The romance and the beauty of the location. A gondola trip at sunset is one of my favourite memories of all time. I miss sitting in the Piazza San Marco and listening to the little orchestras competing for attention.
For first timers, this link may help: http://www.trifter.com/Europe/Italy/A-First-Visit-to-Venice.75102
getting lost the whole time...it was wet, dark, and cold..the street signs are nowhere to be found...you see water all over...BUT Venezia is beautiful and unique! One must see it no matter what! I missed the complexity of finding my way in Venice...the most beautiful San Marco and Palazzo Ducale.
Shopping for Masks
Masks are endemic to Venice and there is a huge variety of styles and quality. My rule of thumb is to shop around before purchasing. Get an idea of what styles are out there and what the prices are. The general rule is to purchase from a store that has a shop where the masks are made. It's a good idea to talk to the artist about his/her trade, where he/she gets inspiration, etc. Get a business card ("Posso avere una carta?") and make notes so you'll remember what you saw/liked, how much the masks were, and where the shop is located. The best thing about cards in Venice (not sure if it's true of all of Italy but it was the same in Florence) is that they have a map on the back that shows where the shop is located. Very key in the labyrinth of Venice!
After your survey of every mask shop, go back to the ones you really liked and start buying! Some of our favorites were:
Renzo Marega, Fondameta dell'Osmarin, Castello 4968, ph: 041.5223036
Atelier Marega, Campo San Rocco 3046 and San Toma Calle Larga 2940, ph: 041.5221634 and 041.717966)
Valentini e Pareno, Calle Fiubera 818, San Marco, ph: 041.5287800
Very much controversial – M.O.S.E.
You might come across signs like these referring to “MOSE” quite often in Venezia. I would suggest not to ask any local what it stands for, as it seems to be the most controversally discussed topic in the city, apart from maybe the idea of the underwater metro.
M.O.S.E. has nothing to do with the biblical figure, but stands for module sperimentale elettromeccanico and is a project that has developed around 1989 to save the city from the destroying effects of acqua alta. But it was never realised, as it was too controversial and finally it was said that it will prevent the lagoon from having the very much needed (to keep the lagoon alive) fresh water exchange with the sea.
The plan was or again is to build moveable gates, at the 3 mouths of the lagoon. Each should consist of (depending of the opening size) several hollow plates operating like a moveable causeway, but independent from each other. They would be filled with water (to make sure that they lie flat on the ground), and in case of approaching high water, emptied by injecting compressed air to rise up and shut the lagoon openings.
There is a quite good website which describes MOSE and its functioning. Now I am not an engineer to judge if this system would help to “save Venezia”. It might help to prevent most of the water to enter the lagoon during high tide conditions. But it also sounds logical that it will not enhance the fresh water exchange the lagoon needs to keep the life there (fish, birds, and all the other animals), which is most probably the most efficient when the water pressure is high.
But it has its advantages, as far as I have read. It will definitely close the door for all these deadly oil tankers and cruise ships. They would have to let go anchor elsewhere, outside of the lagoon and reduce the risks of continuous disasters.
I am definitely not the one to interfere with thoughts of Venezia’s officials what to do to prevent the city from more damage. But there are many other sources for the damages, like first of all all of us who come in herds (just think about how many people the number of 15 million per year can be), the excess use and misuse (= speeding) of the deadly motor taxis and the cruise ships. At least something is done to minimise the trashing around of the Eurodisney tourists (and us), by having employees walking around on Piazza San Marco and chasing everyone away who sits there and throws the trash around. Oh, BTW, no need to scream scam here as well – it is law and very high priority in any nature park to “leave nothing but footsteps”, so why not also in Venezia ? Sometimes it needs methods that hurt to educate these Eurodisney tourists (and us) to understand the fragility of the city we visit.
In February they have a great...
In February they have a great fun Carnivale, there are so many people dressing up, some are very glamourous. The whole city comes alive with colour and draws people from all over Italy, so be ready for the crowds! The Carnivale of Venice is said to have originated from an important victory of the 'Repubblica Della Serenissima' (now it was called the town of Venezia in those times), in the war against Ulrico, patriarch of Aquileia, in the year 1162. To celebrate this victory, dances and reunions started to take place in San Marco Square, and due to the multicultural character of Venice, magicians and others joined the fun, just for business, and for fun only. In the beginning this celebration that started the day after Christmas and this went on for several centuries until the 17th century, rejoicing in music, culture, rich garments and a growing middle class, and this is more the carnival we know. The music of Vivaldi, the masks, the beautiful and mysterious women, all together