WANDERING IN ITALY : VENICE

We had visited Rome, we had visited Florence, so let me tell you this: it was impossible for us not to visit Venice. Like Thomas, I had already seen the city in the past a couple of times, mostly for work. So, this time around, it was too good an opportunity not to rediscover la Serenissima, and its islands, like it is meant to be done. Follow me, I’ll show you around Venice!

You know me enough by now to know this: touristic routes are not really my thing… The day we arrived, it was already 4pm when we got off the bus from the campground Venezia Village in Mestre, and instead of following the signs to all the must-see places, we started with a walk through the Cannaregio… Impossible to remember exactly which way we went! We turned right, then left, then right again, following our instinct, just to get away from the crowd… By pure luck, we stumbled upon a “small” reminded of the Contemporary Art Biennale, “Support” by Lorenzo Quinn. This surrealistic piece represents both the creative power of mankind, and its capacity to (self?)-destruct. These 9-meter hands, while they look like they are supporting the façade of the Ca’Sagredo Hotel, are actually meant to raise awareness on the effects of global warming on the city… Having seen them a few times on Instagram, it was a nice surprise to see them still in place, the Biennale being over for several months! What a spectacle, what a beauty!

Obviously, the city being surrounded by water, some itineraries can’t be avoided… The Rialto, for example, is one of the very few ways to cross the Great Canal… San Marco, the Riva degli Schiavoni (the Bank of the Slaves, pretty much), is the largest and most beautiful esplanade of Venice which goes along the water and is named after the fact that slave ships that came ashore there were coming from Sclavonia, and old slave supplier of the Roman Empire… Charming, isn’t it?

So! This is a pretty short read, but in real life, we were closing in on 7 or 8k on foot, and night was falling! Our stomachs being empty, we decided to find a table pretty early for drinks and dinner! Rather than following dubious TripAdvisor comments, we followed our instincts, and ended up choosing Bacarandino which we absolutely recommend for their service and the quality of the food! Another walk across the city, a couple of Spritz and a bit of ice-cream at Venchi later, we were going back to our campground for some relatively well-deserved rest…

Things got serious on our second day. Taking advantage of the 24-hour unlimited vaporetto tickets, we headed to the islands (line 4.1 or 4.2 to Murano, then line 12 to Burano which will also take you back to Venice)!

First stop, Murano, its glass blowers, its quiet atmosphere (which you need to look for by walking away, again, from the crowded routes), and its colorful houses… And if you think these colors give Murano a lot of charm, wait until you see Burano and its red, blue, yellow, grenn and purple façades! By the way, do you know why the houses on Murano and Burano are so colorful? There is no official explanation, but the legend claims that the local pick those colors so they can find their houses in the heavy fog that often lingers around the Venetian islands…

This is where we started our series of wall pictures, a nice way of immortalising our visit and the atmosphere of those two islands…

Back on “solid ground” at the south-east tip of the city, after a smart change of vaporreti at Fondamente Nuove (line 12 to line 4.2), another random stroll was waiting ahead of us, from the Biennale gardens to the center of the city. An itinerary that took to the Arsenale, gave us the opportunity to have an unforgettably delicious focaccia at Al Vecio Calice, took us back to San Marco, made us stumble into Grom for ice-cream and lose our tracks 10 times, got us to see the sunset… Then it was time to find a water hole, and by water I mean Spritz, which we did at the Brillo Parlante, a great local bar, before heading home to have dinner… Yet another full day, which could have been the last… But, since we were in the area, it only made sense to enjoy it as long as we could. Especially as we hadn’t visited the Dorsoduro yet. This is where we spent our last morning in the city, in this quiet and more confidential neighborhood. We had coffee, walked for a while, before heading north. In the southern part of Cannaregio, we found a great little lunch place, Ai Garzoti, which offers great assortments of bruschettas and local dishes. And, of course, our stroll could only end with ice-cream, which we got at Alaska, a super small ice-cream place which doesn’t look like much but is known to be one of the best in town. And lives up to its reputation!

I fell in love (again) with Venice, and it was hard to leave the city behind. In fact, I’m not the only one. The way back to our campground was very quiet that day. And the next day, an electrical problem grounded us on the spot… As if the Lieutenant didn’t want to leave either. We didn’t go back in town, but we stayed a week in the area to fix that problem, work a bit, and especially wait for the temperature to rise before crossing the Slovenian border and heading to Ljubljana, the capital…

 

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