visit some of the many mask...
visit some of the many mask shops to admire the massive range of masks and some of the superb craftsmanship. Arrivng for a short break, booked at the last minute & without time to do any research, to find that we had landed at St Marks Square on the last day of the carnival.
When visiting Venice the one thing that I really liked is that there was not really much advertising. It was so nice, especially coming from USA where every single corner seems to have some kind of advertisment on it.
The advertising that I did come accross in Venice though was rather classy.
Listen to the sounds of Venice
Venezia’s unique location on water and the absence of cars create a very special atmosphere also in terms of special sounds. Or let’s say, the sounds of venezia are so unique that it is very much worthwile to spend an evening just listen to them. I am not talking about the Eurodisney visitors’ babbling, screaming, whining and whinging (oops, there it is again, my sarcastic mouth), but of the sounds that emanate when the day tourists are gone and the city is alone with her locals and the ones who appreciate her as what she is.
All sounds or noises sound different in this city. At Piazza San Marco for example, or close to the water, where the gondolas are tied up for their night’s sleep, they slowly move and in the same rhythm the water slowly pounds at the stairs. Very much peaceful and atmospheric. Or walk through some small calles, in the off path areas, where it is only slightly lit – you will hear your own footsteps clanging. I did this several evenings, and once I was also in the little calle where “Donald Sutherland was murdered” in the movie – it was a very much both exciting and strange feeling to walk through this very much off path sottoportego and hear the water in the nearby canal. People’s voices sound different as well, a chat here, music from some appartments or houses there. The echo is different and very much so with the absence of car noise.
Seagulls rant in the air or when they sit on the poles.
Some people even sing, and it is a magnificent experience to walk in deserted calles or stand on empty bridges and suddenly someone drives back home with a gondola or boat and sings his favourite songs.
And I should not forget to mention the bells of Venezia's churches, which have their significant sounds and very much characterise La Serenissima.
My fondest memory will most probably always be to sit on the stairs at Bacino di San Marco on a Sunday and listen to the Campane di San Marco (click and listen, the bells are on youtube!), which called for service. In this moment, I even forgot all the masses around me.
The Carnival History
Two different decrees (1699 and 1718) saw the prohibition of wearing a mask during Lent and other religious festivals which took place during carnival. In 1776, an act introduced to protect the by now forgotten "family honor", forbade all women from going to the theatre without a mask and cloak.
Your Feet Are Your Babies
You are allways afoot in Venice. Bring your most comfortable broken in walking shoes or boots.
If they are new wear them at home till the are broken in. If you do not have a pair that fit replace them with a pair that do. Look till you find a brand that fits your foot. Look for a good shop where they still know how to measure your foot and fit you with the right footwear.
Break them in at home. A blister at home is an annoyance. In Venice where you reach everything on foot it could derail your fun completely.
Bring good socks. Wool or synthetic will work much better to prevent blisters than cotton and dry faster when you wash them. Bring at least 3-4 pair so you can wash one pair out each evening and have a clean dry pair always ready
I know this sounds a bit excessive but footwear and walking are an especialty of mine. I have hiked 10s of thousands of miles and I am on my feet every day. I have fit hundreds of people with boots and shoes. I have not had a blister since 1979. (brag, brag, brag)