This weekend we spent a beautiful, relaxing weekend in the absolutely wonderful city of VENICE. I had so so so much fun there this weekend!
Here’s a good indication of what I was leaving in Florence: on Wednesday at 1am there was an earthquake. I was woken up by it, but immediately fell asleep. On Thursday it was so windy we had classes cancelled because teachers were stuck at home because the trains couldn’t run. People were killed because trees fell on them!
Venice was mid-fifties and sunny the entire time! YES PLEASE!!
Unexpectedly, the trains were all delayed because there were still trees on the tracks. Ours was delayed a little over an hour. When we got on the train, it was super nice!
I don’t know what I was expecting when I got to Venice, but when we walked out the doors my mouth dropped over. It is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Clear, blue sky above incredibly detailed architecture above the perfect blue canals. We got a three-day pass for the vaporettos (the water buses), so we could ride them as often as we wanted.
We hopped on our first vaporetto to our hostel, and gawked at the amazing view we were looking at. It felt like a dream! Everything was amazing! Our hostel, Generator Venice, was quite nice and clean. It’s on Guidecca, an island a short ride away. But all we could think about was getting to Venice!
Our first stop was to San Giorgio Maggiore, an island next to Guidecca. It’s got a church and a campanile (bell tower) that offers a view of Venice, but it was closed when we arrived.
The vaporetto took us to San Marco Square. Right at the water was the Bridge of Sighs. That’s the picture you see all over Pinterest! The view was the last thing convicts saw of the city before their imprisonment. Of course we got our own picturesque shots and headed over to San Marco.
San Marco has an amazing basilica that’s the main landmark in Venice. It’s been built and rebuilt over and over again. In the summer people have to sign up ahead of time to get in, and even then they only have fifteen minutes inside.
After that we just got lost! We wound our way through the city and squealed over how marvelous the entire thing was. Streets literally just ended at the water. Lot of people’s apartments had their own private bridge that went from the road to their door, and their own private stairs that led straight to the water. There were private boats and gondolas everywhere. No gondoliers sang, but I did every time I saw one, so that counts, right?
There are no words to describe how amazing this place is (and I’m rapidly running out of adjectives), so here are pictures!
We also stopped by the Ponte de Rialto, the most famous bridge in Venice. It’s the oldest bridge that crosses the Grand Canal.
We got lost a little bit more, then decided we were hungry. That’s when we actually got lost. We walked around an unfamiliar city trying to find a restaurant we finally agreed on (which is harder than you think.) Finally we settled on Rosa Rossa. I got spaghetti with cuttlefish and squid ink, a Venetian specialty.
We returned to our hostel, ready for a good night’s sleep!
We woke up early today (and by early I mean 8) to get to the city bright and early! We got dropped off at San Marco again and walked across the island to another stop, enjoying the sites along the way.
The entire day we spent visiting the neighboring islands, Murano and Burano. These annoyingly similar-named islands used to be independent states, but now they’re provinces of Venice.
Murano is renown for it’s glass-making. Venetian glass makers moved to Murano a long time ago to escape the high risk of flames the wonder houses offered in Venice. They soon became the most valuable and largest exported of glass in Europe. Glass makers literally weren’t allowed to leave the island, or face the consequences. The sites were much like Venice, just with wider canals and streets (which means more sun on our backs!)
We got to view a glass making demonstration. The glass master (glasster?) made a really cool vase by imprinting a pattern on a bubble by placing it in a bowl, then he blew into it and spun it around to give it shape. His apprentice made him a handle which he both placed on and shaped into something beautiful within a matter of seconds. After he showed us the final project and we clapped, he promptly threw it back in the fire!
Next he made a horse. Yes, an actual horse, about eight inches tall. He just grabbed a blob of glass and shaped it with prongs into a horse. He placed it on the table and his apprentice showed us just how hot it was by touching a piece of paper to it, which promptly lit on fire.
Finally he just blew a really big bubble, which popped really loudly. A volunteer got to blow one, too, which I started regretting not volunteering to do
Then we strolled around Murano and stopped at literally every single glass shop to ooh and ahh over the handmade glass they were selling. We ate at B Restaurant all Vecchio Pescheria. We had the perfect spot in the sun where we soaked it all in, and ate it all in, too.
After we bought our souvenirs we took a thirty minute vaporetto to Burano, the lace island. It’s not nearly as well known as Murano (probably because they thing they’re the same place), so we got to enjoy it more privately. Burano’s sites are quite different than Venice, and by different I mean candy-colored wonderland fantasia.
If somebody wants to paint their house, they have to put in a request to the government and they will tell them what colors they are allowed to paint it. Burano has traditional cookies that we tried. They were like lemony shortbread cookies in the shape of an S. They were good, but I was more focused on the view!
We were on a packed vaporetto back to the mainland.
The old woman in front of me started talking to me in rapid-fire Italian, and when I asked her if she spoke English, she was like, nope, and kept on going. She was complaining about the people cutting the line, so we got along pretty well!
After a long travel, we had dinner at the hostel and nutella pizza from a place next door. We chilled on a recycled bed in the bar downstairs and played cards, then adjourned to our room, ready for one more day in Venetian paradise!
We stopped by the cimitaro (cemetery) and strolled through the ancient gravestones.
Then we returned to the mainland and ate at Paradiso, a pizzeria that was clearly a local favorite since there was a huge party of Italians close by. We were surrounded by people speaking Italian!
We wandered around bella Venezia for a little while longer, then, like housecats, curled up in the sun on the ledge of the San Marco Campanile and people watched and sunned for over an hour.
In our last few hours in Venice, we walked to the last part of Venice we hadn’t seen to find a panini place recommended to us on TripAdvisor. We grabbed paninis for our ride home (tuna and boiled egg for me) and soaked up the views.
After such an eventful weekend, I’m glad to be home and get a full night’s sleep. If you are planning a trip to Venice, get excited and get excited NOW because it’s the best place in the world!!!