Venice is built on 117 small islands and has some 150 canals and 400 bridges. Only three bridges cross the Grand Canal, which is obviously the biggest canal in Venice.
Grand Canal looks mild in my picture left, but it regularly floods Venice because of high tides. Most of property values are soaked by sea water at that moment.
View from Giardini/ Biennale area
In 1997 I went especially to Venice to vist the Biennale. We went by vaporetto to the exhibition area east of the Castello area.
From here the view at the lagoon and the skyline of the famous buildings of Venice like the Campanile at the Piazza San Marco, the island San Giorgio Maggiore and the Basilica S Maria della Salute is marvellous.
On our way back to San Marco we went by foot. It was such a lovely walk along the shore of the lagoon.
Serenissima is the name of this hotel in the old core of the town, at the same time, it is the coloquial name for the Veneto Region in common use among the locals. In fact, they never says "I am coming from Veneto", rather then that they will say "I am from Serenissima" or this (Veneto) is Serenissima.
Gondolas have been a form of transport in Venice since the 11th century, for passenger and goods.
Their shape has evolved over the centuries, in order to navigate the waterways of Venice.
Venices canals are often narrow and shallow, with intersections and bridges to negotiate.
Gondolas measure precisely 10.87 m in length and are 1.42 m at their widest point.
A flat underside, and an asymmetrical hull (24cm wider on the left) enables the gondola to tilt to the right, and this pivot like effect assists the gondolier to manouvre from the stern with one long beech wood oar, which has a ribbed blade. The curves at the front and back are raised from the water and are crafted in accordance with the gondoliers weight.
These vessels are hand crafted from 9 different woods - beech, cherry, elm, fir, larch, lime, mahogony, oak and walnut, which has been seasoned in the squero (dock yard). More than 280 separate pieces of wood are used. Each gondola takes 3 months to build at a cost of £10,000 - 20,000
Pitch or black tar was originally used to ensure water tightness. Later, bright coloured paintwork and rich carpets were the fashion, until 1562, when Sumptuary Laws decreed all gondolas were to be black to prevent lavish displays of wealth.
Today, all except ceremonial gondolas are black. The high gloss finish is achieved by 7 layers of lacquer.
A gondola may last 5 - 20 years. Requiring much maintainance. When it becomes warped it might be used on a traghetto route, finally being burned in the glass furnaces on Murano.
Comfy shoes - you'll do a lot of walking! Oh, from about September to April, you will need wellies - the Acqui Alti (High Waters) generally flood the city. They do construct walkways, but what with tourists and locals, nice rubber boots can come in handy. Lots and lots of film! Venice has more cameras per square metre than anywhere in the world. That's a true fact.