Exploring cities is a regular thing for travellers, but there is something very unique about Venice – and I think we can all guess what exactly this is! But it’s not just the water. Venice is grandiose and glamorous perhaps like no other city in Europe.
I have only been to Italy once, but I made sure I visited 3 of the main cities: Rome, Naples, and Venice. Whereas Rome and Naples have many day trips out of the city that entice tourists, the main reason everybody comes to Venice is to see the Sunken City itself. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, and in many ways so unique! I was lucky enough to have great weather, too, for the majority of my stay, which was an added bonus, and it allowed me to enjoy the canals and the waterways in all their spectacular sunlit glory.
Transportation in Venice, will, unsurprisingly, occur in the form of gondolas on the water. There are road taxis, too, but mainly it is boat rides that you get from A to B, and this is a fairly unique way of travelling around that I have ever seen (apart from in some water towns in China, like Suzhou and Zhujiajiao). Two major areas of Venice are actually bridges. The Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs are spectacles over the water that have been used by pedestrians for an age. In your gondola rides through Venice, make sure you ask your boatman to navigate his way to those bridges, as they can be great photo opportunities!
It is at the San Marco Camponile where you can get the best views of the Sunken City from above. I realised just how close together all the houses and buildings are situated. The panorama was indeed fantastic, and the tower is located near the St. Mark’s Basilica, which itself is one of the major landmarks of Venice. I included both the tower and the basilica in my list of the top 10 attractions in Venice.
I am not usually a big fan of paintings (I didn’t even like the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris), but here in Venice there is a building known as the Gallerie dell’Academia, which houses many classic and grand Venetian paintings from down the centuries. Even if you are not interested in art, it is a good way of spending an hour when you’ve lost interest in the basilicas and canals. My boatman actually recommended the Gallerie to me, and I’m glad he did. He also showed me the Santa Maria della Salute church, which is right beside the water’s edge. I didn’t go inside this amazing church, but once again I was left impressed by the grandeur of the Venetian façade.
Without being too much of a typical tourist, you’d be a fool to miss out on a traditional gondola ride down the Grand Canal, with a Venetian Boatman singing you a song as he carefully navigates his way through this sunken city. I was happy to take up this opportunity, even as a solo backpacker! While the prices for these trips are notoriously high, it is just one of those things you need to tick off your bucket list when experiencing this glamorous place!