The Chorus Pass.
During our several hikes through the sestieres of Venice we ran into a lot of churches. When we arrived at the Chiesa di San Sebastiano we read that they charged an admission fee of €2.- to help them with their maintenance and restoration. Of course we wanted to pay, but the clerk was so nice to just point out to us the use of the Chorus Pass. We learned from him that it would save us money and avoid the hassle of buying individual tickets. It costed only €8.- and letted us visit Veniche churches that charged admission during a one year period.
In the brochure we recieved we read about the foundation of the Chorus Pass. In 1997 a group of parish priests founded a nonprofit organization to raise money for maintenance and protection of 15 of Venice's finest churches. These 15 churches are now known of the Chorus churches and are open to visitors all days except the Sunday mornings.
You can buy the Chorus Pass at any of the participating churches.
Snow Capped Peaks
We went to Venice right after we were in Naples. Naples is definitely SOUTH and there's no snow on Vesuvius. But here in Venice, there were snow capped peaks and it was a bit chilly in April. There were boats - a bit different from where I came from in Florida - but boats. But we don't have snow capped mountains in Florida. Later on, our family (Barb's family) took a vacation in June to Wyoming and Montana and I saw the snow covered peaks again - actually it snowed while we were there. But that was later - I was just surprised to see the snow in Venice - I had always thought of Italy as a southern place.
Adresses and street names in Venezia
As opposed to the signs being distributed all over in the city to make us tourists not get lost, Veneziano adresses are quite confusing.
Originally, addresses are given by sestiere, followed by a number. This system has been introduced by Napoleon (that’s what I have read) and leads finally to around 30.000 different numbers throughout whole Venezia. The numbers are consecutive within a sestiere, so theoretically one can walk around along a street in a given sestiere until he finds the number. But, haha, this would take too long. Luckily for us most of the Venezianos have realised our confusion with this address system and give us the street name as well on websites or business cards (note: the original number is the same, however). The same applies for most of travel guide books.
But…. again, if you have time during your stay in Venezia, and not plan to rush through the city, it is a lot of fun to find addresses according to the Veneziano system. Just watch the systematic, and you will sure find out that it works pretty well. I played this “game” quite often and after a while, I found what I was looking for.
Apart from that, Venezia has several interesting “street names” or designations, which are specific to her position at or in the water.
There is a book, by the way, called Indice Anagrafico, for those who are interested in finding each number :-) Let’s start with the plazas, of which Venezia has a lot of, and very much different ways to call them. There is only one single piazza (plaza): Piazza San Marco. The other plazas are either called piazetta, such as (THE) Piazetta San Marco at the lagoon and Piazetta Leoncini north of the basilica or piazzale as in Piazzala Roma, the one where cars and busses from mainland arrive. A corte is also a plaza, but more like a courtyard, cortile would be a small corte.
Quays are called fondamenta (like Fondamenta Nouve), shopping streets are called ruga or rughetta (if they are small). A riva (like Riva degli Schiavoni and the other rivas east of Piazza San Marco) is a big quay.
Streets are called calle, and it is said that Venezia has around 3000 of them. Small versions are calletta, and a rìo tera is a street which was formerly a canal, but then filled up. A ramo is a dead end, it usually ends in cortiles or at the water. Salizadas are tiny streets, these are the oldest ones in Venezia, the ones that have been paved first ages ago. A sottoportego is a tiny roofed street, as given the small space in the city, houses are built tight and this created the need for room to walk between them.
What I found most funny is the very much black humour, Venezianos had in their street naming. There are for examples calles with such fascinating bloodthirsty names like Rìo Tera degli Assassini – street of the murderers, or Ponte dei Squadrartal – bridge of the ones that have been divided into four parts…
This lets the imagination flow quite a bit, and consider city’s history and what had been done with traitors or scammers. At least she does not conceals her history :-)
The main tourist attractions
Aaah, the main tourist attractions : The Rialto Bridge and the San Marco Square. Actually these signs are an excellent way to find your way back to the Grande Canal and the Vaporetto. It gives a good sense of directions where about you are, and a quick way to get out of the maze of little streets.
In these general tips I want to give you a general idea of Venice, give you a feel of how it is like to wander around here. In my 'must see activities', and cultural tips, I want to show you much more about these more famous parts of Venice.
Gondoliers enjoy a reputation of Romance and Mystery. They inhabit a predominantly masculine world, within a profession that adheres to tradition.
Their uniform consists of straw be-ribboned boater and distinctive red and white or blue and white striped t shirt in summer (which may be covered with a light, white jacket (marinera) or red and white or blue and white striped jumper which may be covered by a navy blue or black heavy Marinera in Winter, with either the straw boater or a black beret with pom pom, Black trousers and shoes are worn year round.
Many speak a local dialect with complicated codes. Words that may be identified, whilst manouvering the gondolas may include - Premi! if they want to pass on the left, Stali! to pass on the right, Sciar! if about to stop.
Gondoliers hold certain values, and consider talking about money to be vulgar, they never shout out prices etc, conducting any business in a quiet manner- They will rarely discuss how much they earn.
The local Authorities,Speeding Vaporetto drivers and The Rome Government are the main antagonists of the Gondoliers, they often feel unfairly treated by them, which can lead to strike action or Protests by the Union. One Mayor issued a statement decreeing that random on spot breathaliser tests be carried out on Gondoliers, not because there had ever been a drunken incident, but because it must be assumed that many Gondoliers were rowing their vessels after imbibing much alcohol!!!
Many of the Gondoliers are very good looking! There is a calendar available of black and white photos of some of these Romeos looking mean moody and magnificent!! Il Calendario Dei Gondolieri I think it cost about 8 Euros - Ok Yes, I bought one ;-)
Click on the website below for a view of the calendar, more pics- and some information about gondolas and gondoliers