Take me back to San Marco.

Venice is a one of a kind city. Artists and explorers have extolled the beauty of this city and revelled in its renaissance for centuries. Venice is also known as La Serenissima, an honorific bestowed upon the Republic of Venice by the Byzantines. Situated at the far end of the Adriatic Sea, Venezia was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In the year 1271 Marco Polo, a young Venetian, set out from Venice with his merchant father on an odyssey, opening a trade route between Europe and the far east. This floating metropolis was built to reflect its prospering wealth and majesty. Today, when you walk along the quaint cobbled alleys or cruise through Venice’s luscious azure waters in a Gondola, you can see and smell the authentic Venetian pride and history.

 

 

My Venetian Story

February is the month Venice comes to life with a mass of masked party-goers, angelical acrobats, and magical lanterns. When I visited Venice in the last week of February in 2016, the Carnevale had just ended and the city was getting over the post-celebration hangover and winter gloom. The masquerade masks were still on display, looking dismayed. I was gutted to have missed one of the biggest celebrations in Italy. But it was a spontaneous trip and a few hours in this enchanting city made me a happy soul. It took me 3 hours to reach Venice from Como on road. The murky weather in the morning decided to wreck my excitement with constant drizzles. But I did not let my gusto drain by rain.

 

A Taste of Venice.

Vaporetto is the best and the most affordable way to navigate Venice’s labyrinth of waterways. Venezia Unica is an all-in-one pass for the City of Venice that gives you access to public transportation, admission to tourist attractions and cultural events in the city, and many other useful services. I purchased a ticket, zapped it and hoped into a Vaporetto – a water bus/ferry service that takes passengers from point to point. The Linea 1 Vaporetto (ACTV ) will take you from Piazzale Roma to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square.) I was lucky to enough to have the outdoor seats all for me and enjoy the breathtaking views across the lagoon and down the entire Grand Canal.

 

San Marco

Venice is a city that has a celluloid charisma where winding canals, enchanting alleyways and arching bridges make the perfect amorous setting for a story. Movies have depicted Venice as an opulent, dissolute paradise. In 2104, George Clooney tied the knot with Amal Alamuddin in Venice. The waterborne paparazzi captured their grand wedding spectacle from the banks of the Grand Canal – Venice’s main thoroughfare. The pictures of the newly-wed couple on board the Amore, gliding through the waterways of central Venice captured the essence and romance of Venice beautifully.

 

San Marco is the heart of Venice. This was my first stopover. Piazza San Marco is the home to some of the iconic monuments that dominate the skyline of Venice. Campanile (bell tower), Basilica San Marco’s wondrous domes and Doges Palace are located around the square. I could spend an entire day taking in the atmosphere here.  Have a cup of coffee (Cafe Florian overlooking St Mark’s Square it the oldest café in Venice which serves expensive coffee, accompanied by music), take photographs against the cinematic backdrops and feed the hungry pigeons. If the crowd frustrates you, just walk away until you’ll find yourself lost in an off beaten path – devoid of an onslaught of tourists. There will always be a gelateria to cheer you up! I had to say arrivederci to Venice before sundown. But I was told that it’s easy to get to know Venice in solitude when it’s quiet at night.

 

Murano – The Glass Island.

Since I had time to spare, I visited the island of Murano, one of Venice’s neighbouring islands. It takes only a few minutes from central Venice by water. Glassmaking was an elite pursuit dominated by artisans of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. The art of glassblowing which dates back to 700 years and has evolved into a trade, refined by technology and colours. There are ubiquitous glass shops across Venice where you’ll find figurines, jewellery, paperweights and other ornaments made from enamelled, crystalline and multi-coloured, milk glasses. It’s a pleasure to watch glassblowers in their studios, shaping swirls of coloured glass into spectacular shapes that will finally find its place in a luxury boutique somewhere in the world.

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