The Lions of Venice
A winged lion is the symbol of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice who's buried in the Basilica di San Marco. Lions thus became the symbol of the city of Venice itself, when Venice ousted its former patron saint in favor of St. Mark over a thousand years ago. You'll see lions, both winged and regular, everywhere around the city if you keep your eyes open. You can also find them on the mainland and other islands around - basically anyplace that used to be part of the Venetian empire.
Like Trafalgar Square in...
Like Trafalgar Square in London, Tian An Men Square in Beijing, the St. Mark's Square is the place that tourists must visit in Venice. People often say Italy is the garden of Europe. And I have read in a tour guide book that Napoleon said St. Mark's Square is the most luxurious place on the world. Of course he couldn't travel everywhere of earth, but I still admire his sight when I came here. Luxurious facade of St. Mark's Church, famous Ducal Palace, lagoon, islands and rooms with red roof, the whole scene was into my view when I stood on the top of St. Mark's Bell Tower. The impression is so deep that I always bear in mind!
Venice Cards - Blue and Orange (save money)
Depending how long you will stay and what you like to do and see in Venezia, these cards might save you a lot of money. !! Careful: not to be confused with the Venice Card, which is available only for residents (of Venezia and Veneto)!
Venice Blue and Orange Card are available for 1, 2 or 7 days and include several free entrances or reduced entrances.
Venice Blue Card:
The blue card gives you free transport on all vaporettos of ACTV (including vaporettos to the islands of Burano, Murano, Torcello, San Michele, Sant’Erasmo, Lido, San Servolo, San Lazaro), and to the public toilet facilities in town, discounts on several exhibitions and shops which have the Venice Card sign at the entrance.
It is available as Junior Card (up to age 29) and as Senior Card (age 30 and higher).
Venice Orange Card:
The orange card, in addition, gives you free entry to all 10 municipal museums of Venezia (Palazzo Ducale, Museo Correr, Marciana Library, Archaelogical Museum, Ca’Rezzonico, Palazzo Mocenigo, Casa Carlo Goldoni, Ca’Pesaro, Museo Vetrario on Murano, Museo de Merletti on Burano).
If you purchase the 2 or 7 days card, you also get free access to the 16 churches associated with the Chorus Pass (see below). The Chorus Pass alone is 8 Euro (as of May 2007).
And you get discounts for several non-municipality owned exhibitions, such as Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Palazzo Grassi, etc. The prices are given at the website (select blue or orange in the left navigation menu). Note that the website lists all places, where you can get discounts, and the location of the toilets as well.
If you are here for 7 or more days, the blue card definitely pays off, as you can travel to the islands as well, and it includes the use of the public toilets.
Compare prices with the 24, 48 and 72 hour ticket for Vaporetto lines – it might come cheaper if you buy the blue card:
72 hours vaporetto (excluding toilet use) is 30 Euro (as of May 2007), and with 55,90 Euro, the 7 days Blue Card is cheaper already than 2 x 72 hours vaporetto cards.
Toilets are 1 Euro each time.
Blue and Orange cards are also available with Alilaguna transport from the airport. But, this only pays if your hotel is located near Piazza San Marco or at Lido. The price for this airport transfer is 23 Euro more than without. Alilaguna one-way ticket to/from the airport is 12 Euro to Piazza San Marco; so you would save 1 Euro.
The cards can be bought online (with a discount of 2 Euro compared to buying in the city), at the airport or in the city at the main vaporetto stations or at the tourist offices.
I have chosen the Venice Blue Card, but didn’t buy it at the airport, as I was here for 12 days and wanted to use it until my last day. Also, as I stayed close to Fondamenat Nuove, my airport-transport was only 6 Euro with Alilaguna, so it would have not meant any saving for me.
Note that the cards need to be stamped prior to use.
Rialto Markets - Located in San Polo.
Venice attracts some 20.000.000 tourists a year. Add in a local population of roughly 60.000 and you're talking about a big appetite for groceries. One of the most famous markets where Venetians do buy their own groceries is the Rialto Markets, in the sestiere of San Polo. San Polo is the smallest sestiere, but it's the 2nd most important area of the city in terms of historical importance and attractions for the visitors to Venice. In this district it is still customery to "live over the shop", which means that dwellings and workplaces are often combined. But it's also one of the most confusing parts of the city to navigate through.
This sestiere runs to the east of the Rio di San Polo to the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge). San Polo has been the liveliest quarter of Venice since the 11th century when it became the centre for the city's markets. Even up till today it's still home to the Rialto Market, which used to be the centre of trade and commerce for the Venetian Empire. Today, from Tuesday to Saterday in the morning hours there is still a major market here besides the Ponte di Rialto. The fish market offers remarkably good value for money.
Rialto Markets, San Polo
From the vaporetto stop at Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) cross the bridge and work your way to the right and you’ll encounter the Erberia along the water and the Pescheria is further along.
Pescaria (fish market):
07:30 am – 12:00 pm
Erbaria (vegetable market):
07:30 am – 13:00 pm
In this view from Basilica di San Marco you can see the Doge'' Palace.
The Doge's Palace is an absolute must see.... unfortunately I didn''t go here. So maybe this is a great excuse to return to Venice and go there next time! Hahaha, I wouldn't mind, because I love Venice!
The Doge'' Palace has façades which date from 1309-1424, designed by Giovanni and Bartolomeo Buon. The building of the palace started in the ninth century, was several times rebuilt, and completed in the Renaissance period. The façades, with a total length of nearly 152 m (500 ft), have open arcades in the two lower storeys. The third storey was rebuilt after a fire in the sixteenth century.