Every turn of a corner either reveals a hidden narrow alleyway, giving you a small glimpse into the local’s day-to-day life among the tourist chaos, or occasionally you strike gold and discover large open squares showcasing grand monuments and statues. Like anyone who comes to Venice, I could not pass up on a gondola ride. I found an older raspy-voiced gondolier willing to take one person at a cheaper price. I think he felt bad for me for riding on my own but I felt proud for negotiating the price down to less than half! The peace of floating down the canals to the gentle current and the gondolier whistling the tune of a romantic Venetian song was only broken up by the occasion violent cough. It was everything I imagined and more. There are some mixed reviews of Venice, some people see the history, the grandeur and romance, and some people see the litter, rip-offs (50 euro for a cup of coffee just because it is in St Marks Square) and mass of tourists and pigeons. I’d just like to confirm all of the above are true. Despite my escape from reality and being on the other side of the world; my life still revolves around the happenings of the Fox Den and deadlines bring me back behind a computer screen every Monday morning. It is a life of insane contrasts, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. For the most part of my week, I’m working just as I do back home but opportunities like this, to duck away to Venice for a weekend, is exactly why I signed up for this.
Did you know?
- Venice is made up of 117 mini ‘islands’. Venice itself was actually not built directly on the surface of these islands, with the buildings constructed on top of wooden platforms.
- There are 417 bridges spanning the canals of Venice, including the Bridge of Sighs, which was built to connect the old prison in Doge’s Palace with the new one across the canal, and the city’s famous Rialto Bridge.
- Venice is sinking, and not just because of rising sea levels. The city of Venice is actually sinking at an average rate of about 2mm per year, with the other islanvds in much the same boat. The city itself is sinking slightly to the east – if you visit, you can see the San Pietro di Castello bell tower leaning quite distinctly due to the unstable ground.
- Venice is a maze of narrow streets, bridges and alleyways, and can be very confusing for tourists for a few reasons; unlike most of the world where streets are numbered sequentially according to street, Venice is numbered according to district, with street names rarely acknowledged (eg. San Marco 834). Therefore it is near impossible to locate a street number unless you are a local or know that your destination is near a particular landmark.