Before you travel to a certain place, you always have some sort of expectation before you go there. When I was young, my grandma had traveled there and said it was dirty and unfriendly. I had seen many movies showing gondolas and how romantic it was. But after what my grandma had told me, I thought that maybe the hype was overblown.
My wife and I wanted to go to Rome because of its interesting history towards Christianity (from Christianity being banned and Christians being persecuted to Constantine making it the only religion in Rome in 331 AD). And since my wife and I were going to go to Italy, we decided that we needed to see Venice for ourselves. We wanted to see if the scenery was as romantic and majestic that all of the travel programs had portrayed it to be. Thankfully, when we got there, it matched our expectations and then some. Venice is a special place and I'll show you my favorite spots in my pictures.
Since we saw so many things just on the mainland of Venice alone, I'm going to make this a two-part series on Mainland Venice. We'll start with Part 1 of our day in Mainland Venice...
My wife and I took a water taxi on the Grand Canal to Ponte de Rialto (Rialto Bridge), which is the oldest of the four bridges along the Grand Canal. From the bridge, we got a great view of the canal!
After we got off, we noticed how many tourists were there, so we did some exploring We were impressed just by the atmosphere alone and we found smaller canals within the buildings that were just as advertised. They were picturesque, very Italian, and had a Byzantine design!
|A smaller canal|
|People actually live here!|
And we couldn't go without getting a gondola shot! A group got together and enjoyed their time. If you want the gondolier to sing, you need to pay extra. Gondola rides are expensive to say the least. They'r'e 80 euros for the first 40 minutes. If you want an extra 20 minutes, it will cost you 40 more euros. After 7:00pm, the price climbs to 100 euros for 40 minutes and 50 euros for 20-minute increments. Although it was tempting, my wife and I didn't feel that tempted to pay that amount.
|Not as romantic but cheaper with more people!|
Tourists in the next picture are relaxing by the edge and just enjoying the atmosphere... From the lights, to the narrow passageways, to the gondolas, to the 12th Century architecture. It's a haven for photographers...
We walked to Piazza San Marco and came across Basilica di San Marco or St. Mark's Basilica. It is most famous cathedral in Venice and has been the city's cathedral since 1807. It has Italo-Byzantine architecture based on its gold ground mosaics representing Venetian wealth and power. It's also known as the Chiesa d' Oro or the Church of Gold, which is its nickname and has been since the 11th Century.
|Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica)|
|Basilica di San Marco at Piazza San Marco|
I didn't realize that I couldn't take pictures inside, but I did get one shot of the interior before getting scolded.
In Piazza Marco itself, there were pigeons everywhere as you can see from this picture...
But then again, you can't blame them. People were feeding them left and right. Due to that, they were pretty tame and brave. They were on people's arms and heads just trying to get some food. You can see a little girl feeding them up and close....
Soon after that, we walked to the edge of the canal and I got a great picture of my wife with the island of San Giorgio Maggiore (south of the main island group) in the background.....
The island of San Giorgio Maggiore (named after St. George) had a monastery built by Benedictine monk Giovanni Morosini in 982. It's best known for The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, which was begun by Palladio in 1566. When Venice fell in 1812, the monastery was almost destroyed and the island became a free port and a new harbor. Today it's the headquarters of the Cini Foundation Arts Centre and the Teatro Verde open air theater.
|San Giorgio Maggiore Island in the background|
And while we were looking at San Giorgio, we saw a couple that just got married get off a gondola. How romantic!
We stopped to have a snack outside at one of these tables (see picture below) before we finished off our day in Venice...
We stopped off at two more places but I'll save that for Part 2 since I have many more pictures and details to share about those places. Be ready for "Mainland Venice, Italy (Part 2)" coming soon!
Scott Worden (The L.A./Seoul Guy)