How to explore Venice
Favorite thing: All European cities have historic core and the newly built part of the city, by contrast, in Venice there exist only a historic area. The city can be reached in three ways; by the road, across Ponte della Liberta, coming to Piazzale Roma, by the train arriving at the station Santa Lucia and by the taxi-boat which will disembark at the Riva degli Schiavoni, or at the desired address.....
Map of the city can be of great help to those who for the first time visited Venice, it will serve for both, orientation and for understanding how the city is organized. ...... TO BE CONTINUED
Knowing the language
Favorite thing: In any Italian city or province people speak in their local dialect, which can sometimes be peculiar, but it does not mean they do not speak Italian and do not understand each other. The only exception is Sardo, in the island of Sardinia, a language that is quite different and not understandable for the rest of Italy.
In Veneto people speak specific dialect which has a lot of loanwords, from German, French, Greek, Arabic and Slavic languages. I found this dialect very close because I grew up in Pula/Istria/Croatia and I learned it at an early age.
Visitors to Venice, which had seen other parts of Italy, will soon perceive specific names that are not found elsewhere in Italy, such as: campo, fondamenta, ruga, salizzada, sestiere, fondaco, portego, bauta, and the like.
Fondest memory: You might find this translations helpful for better understanding of Venice:
SESTIERE - is a district, a section of Venice. It derives from the figure SIX, Venice is cut up in six quarters.
HOUSE NUMBERS - the numbers of the houses corresponds to those of the sestiere and the neighboring sestiere can therefore easily have houses with the same numbers, and same street names in different sestiere.
CAMPO - is name for the square but literally the word means "field". In the past, prior to being laid with cobblestones or paved, campo were often cultivated.
CAMPIELLO - small square
CALLE - narrow street
RAMO - literally a small branch, one subdivision of calle
RUGA - is simply a street, term comes from the French "rue"
SALIZZADA - the street laid with cobblestones
STRADA - a broad street, there is only a single strada in Venice, Strada Nova in Cannaregio
CANAL - big canal and the name is reserved for three of them only; Canal Grande, Canal Cannaregio and Canal Giudecca
RIO - is the small canal
PISCINA - (literally the pool) is a small expanse of stagnant water that was later filled up with earth
RIO TERRA - is a rio filled up with earth and with sand, to transfer into a calle
FONDAMENTA - walking bank along a rio - bank for pedestrian
TERRA FERMA - dry land (mainland)
TRAGHETTO - word with dual meanings, either a gondola with two pilots, or receptacle which allows to cross Canal Grande while standing
SCUOLA - a mixed brotherhood often of mutual and to that can perform civil, religious, public or private functions
FONDACO - warehouse
ALTANA - small wooden terraces on the rooftops
SOTTOPORTEGO - is a porch which passes between houses, it can be closed on one of its lateral sides
PORTEGO - a central room of a big residence, kid of living room
SQUERO - dockyard, workshop that manufacture and repair gondolas
BAUTA - carnival mask that hides the biggest part of the face and preserve anonymity
Favorite thing: Though covered by flowers, in small vases, gardens seem to be a rarity, in Venice. I remember the trees near Piazalle Roma, the city garden near Arsenal, and… only a few palaces show a small and shy garden.
Technical problems to maintain them, or is this the consequence of the high prices of each square centimetre of land?Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: The beauty of most Venetian’s buildings is an invitation for light games, enriching the night. Surprisingly, even before the crises, the lights were dimmed, and the illumination was discreet and subtle. Is that intentional, to increase the intimacy of the spaces or… anything else?
I don’t know, but for a badly equipped photography lover, it’s a small frustration.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: One of the bad points of Venice is the degraded look of most of its buildings.
However, when you think at the hard conditions faced by those who operate in the maintenance of the facades to the canals, its easy to understand that the work cannot be done as often as the lovers of the city would appreciate.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: There's something about the mix of acres of water, innumerable beautiful buildings, and a soft Mediterranean air that gives Venice some of the most consistently amazing sunsets I have ever seen in Europe. One of my earliest visions of Venice was from a painting my brother made from a visit there as a teenager, one that has hung in my father's home longer than I can remember. The painting was a view of the Church of Zitelle seen from the promenade in front of St Mark's Square silhouetted against a deep red sunset.
What must be nearly a quarter of a century later I come to the city myself and see the exact same sunset from the exact same spot. Not only that but there were grand sunsets each and every one of the five nights I was in the city. You can see this view of the Church of Zitelle at sunset on my main Venice page, but there were a few more shots attached here.
Pinocchio in Burano
Favorite thing: Most people will say "You should always tell the truth, say it like it is, etc." But if you write in such a way that you're telling a story, I think rules like this don't apply.
When I write about a trip and events big and small that coloured it for me, it's far from a practical guide for use by all travellers. It's about my own experience in a place and nothing could be more personal in my mind.
I could, for instance, writing about Venice, be thinking mostly of how I finally awakened to South America while there... what happens during a trip colours one's appreciation of a place. And affects the way we write about that trip.
(Still, I hope to touch someone in a positive way, perhaps inspire the reader to travel.)
My experience of Burano was like that. I was visiting Venice and nearby island and heard an Argentinian friend talk about his country while we walked in Burano. The beauty of Venice made his longing quite strong, he needed to share his happiness with his loved ones, etc.
On me, this had the effect that what I remember as I write on Venice is his love for South America. Strange feeling, I loved Venice and it filled me with the desire to go to Argentina...
On a more practical level, you can get to Burano easily and cheaply. My friend bought us a 24-hour vaporetto ticket for 10 euros, we went everywhere with it, it's worth it. Get the 10 euro ticket!
UPDATE: Now in April 2013, 9 years after my trip to Venice, I just read in a VT Travel Forum on Venice that the 24-hour vaporetto ticket costs 20 euros. Still a good bargain for one like myself, staying at La Giudecca and planning to travel to the islands often.
Fondest memory: A big Pinocchio at the door of a small family workshop.
The quietness, the silence in the small streets away from the main canal.
Listening to local men sitting on a park bench near mine, where I was waiting for the vaporetto to take me back to Venice. They spoke in the singing local dialect and what captivated me was the subject of their conversation, they spoke of an old friend who'd left the island and made it big in the city (I think they meant Milan, not Venice.)
They went on like old chums, no animosity apparent but certainly a bit of envy in their tone, talking about "the deserter" being such a turn-coat etc. This already was novel to me. Men where I'm from don't sit and talk on a park bench for hours, about other guys... in fact, can't think of men here talking openly and for hours about anything!
Believe it or not, the deserter walked by suddenly, big waves from all sides, declarations of lasting friendship and "yes, oh yes, we must get together soon!"
Immediately after, one of the guys on the bench said to the other "Wasn't that Roberto, the deserter?"
and the other answered "Yeah, that's him all right! I bet he couldn't care less if we meet soon or not, he's got money on his mind now, more than friends." LOL...
The Chorus Pass.
Favorite thing: In Venice sixteen churches charge an admission fee. You can visit each of these for around three euros. Otherwise you can buy a Chorus Pass. You will save a lot of money with the purchase of this card. It is also valid for one year. The Chorus Pass is on sale in both one of the churches of this network or other locations in Venice and online.
See here for info about this pass; chorusvenezia.org
Things to do
Favorite thing: Definitely, you should go to Florence! I loved it there. Stay there for at least two days! Your iterinary should be San Gimigniano (one day), Sienna (one day), Florence then take the train from Milan to Paris (Fly out of Paris)Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
An Italian friend of mine - Lucio Meloni
Favorite thing: He is the owner of the Export-Import company named Intertecnic srl. in Conegliano.
We together spent a very good time first of all in Budapest.
In the last couple of years I have not heard of him any longer. I wonder whether he is all right.
His wife, Rosanna, and his three children Ivan, Sasha and Alessandro are his best helper in making of good businesses.
Web: http://world-businesses.4ra.in/Italy/438946.xhtmRelated to:
- Family Travel
Venice by night
Favorite thing: Most historic sights and squares of Venice are beautifully illuminated at night. In the centre the sights at St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) and the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore are well worth seeing. Also the smaller alleys and canals offer a special atmosphere in darkness.
I highly recommend to take a trip with the night vaporetto #N along the Canale Grande in darkness.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: I was so many times in Venice, can't remember the number, but the truth is I've never visited Sestiere Giudecca. Actually, it is off the main walking routes and one can get it by vaporetto only. I do admire Palladio's work alot and wish to take the closer look at Redentore. Besides the church of Le Zitelle there is also Sant' Eufemia 9th century church with interiors of exceptional beauty. In one of my future trips to Venice I'll have to visit it finally.
Favorite thing: The old core of Venice is organized in the districts - SESTIERE - and there are six of them:
CASTELLO - named for a castle that used to be in that area
SAN MARCO - named for the patron saint of Venice
CANNAREGIO - named for the bamboo (canna) which used to grow in that area
SAN POLO - named for the 9th century church of San Paolo
SANTA CROCE - named for the ancient church (demolished in the 19th century)
DORSODURO - mean "hard bone" - the land was higher and more solid then in other parts of Venice.
Each SESTIERE is divided into CONTRADE (parishes) and each contrada has its parish church. Venice used to have 70 contrade but after fall of the Republic the church organizational plan was reduced to 30 parish churches and contrade.
The island of San Giorgio Maggiore is part of sestiere San Marco
Giudecca island is part of sestiere Dorsoduro
The cemetery island of San Michele belongs to the sestiere Cannaregio.
SLEEPING AND EATING INBETWEEN THE SIGHTSEEINGS
Favorite thing: For some breaks inbetween the fabulous sightseeings and visitis you can do in Venice, I would suggest a hotel accomodation on the neighboring island of Lido, where you can spend a quiet rest to "fill-up" your "batteries" for further walkings through the city. Having a meal in one of the numerous and very nice restarurants quite close to the "Ponte Rosso", on the "Canale" is a not quite cheap, but beautiful experience and memory!
Favorite thing: The Venetians were also well known for their love of beautiful women and love affairs.... Giacomo Casanova became one of the most legendary lovers of Venetian origin but other lesser known lovers soon filled the State orphanages with their children. Many of these love affairs had their start in the caffes of St.Mark's Square so in 1767 the government prohibited women from frequenting caffes. However, Casanova couldn't resist the charms of the women who strolled about the Square and under the porticos of the Procuratie. He was placed in "Piombi", the prison, by State Investigators because of his lascivious and anti-religious habits. Casanova attempted to escape twice. The first time, just before finishing a hole in the floor he was moved to another cell. However it was better that he didn't finish digging as that hole would have dropped him directly in front of the Inquisitors (again!) in the room below. The second attempt succeeded and he made his way out of the Palace and walked directly down the Golden Staircase and out the main entrance! The warders saw him leaving but they thought he was a politician and didn't stop him. Before taking the Gondola to leave the city, he couldn't resist one last stroll through the Procuratie where he bid his friends goodbye and had one last cup of coffee in his beloved Piazza San Marco. Casanova reached Paris where lived for 20 years before he was pardoned and allowed to return to his beloved Venice.
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