May 20th, 2015 – Arrival Day
We arrived in Venice, Italy in the late morning. In order to get to the famous water island, we had to take a bus followed by a water boat taxi. The ride in was quite the treat. The waters were high and choppy making for a water spraying journey.
The Boscolo Venezia Hotel is where we stayed. Part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, this hotel has an authentic italian style that has definitely been preserved through time. The main lobby was adorned with glass chandeliers – extravagant, bold and breath-taking.
Upon touring the hotel, I learnt of its’ famous secret garden. Also known as the church’s garden. It is one of the few gardens located within the city. A walk through the garden allows you to enjoy the sounds of birds chirping, layer upon layers of colourful flowers and to the very back is a gate leading out to a platform leading to nothing but endless water.
May 20th, 2015 – The Grand Canal & Rialto Bridge
Today was the perfect day to walk through the city and take pictures – minus the drizzle. We visited the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark. The craftsmanship and detail of the inside of the church was remarkable. The detail of the artwork and use of gold was plastered throughout. I can’t imagine the amount of time it took to create it. Unfortunately, given the extensive amount of art, it was no surprise to see that only sections of the church have been thoroughly cleaned leaving many others to look covered in dust and dirt.
Later that day we walked towards Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal. The streets along the way were filled with shops filled with high end merchandise to venetian masks to murano glass wear. The restaurants at the Grand Canal were much pricer than near our hotel. The meal was tasty, fresh and expensive. I do have to say be careful when you order a fish, the price does rack up quickly.
The best part of Venice – the enjoyment of simply walking everywhere! It never gets old when every corner holds another spectacular view.
May 21st, 2015 – San Marco
We hoped for better weather today but it seems we brought our rain from Vancouver. It didn’t stop us from jumping into a Gondola and getting a tour of the inner channels within the city.
The bright coloured boats were on every turn. It made for some exquisite instagram worthy photos.
Our stops included:
- Campanile di San Marco – the St. Mark bell tower, the highest structure of the city.
- Piazza San Marco – San Marco square which is a beautiful piazza that many flock to. Interestingly enough, during the months of October to March its access is often prevented due to the high tide.
We experienced this when the tide was high that evening and flooded parts of the streets.
- Basilica di San Marco- the stunning church we visited that has five domes and is made of gold, statues, glass and carvings.
- Palazzo Mocenigo – this palace was built to house one of the most illustrious families in Venice.
- Santa Maria della Salute – the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was built in 1630 when the plague killed many.
- Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) – this bridge connects the Palazzo delle Prigioni and Palazzo Ducale. It’s called the bridge of sighs because in the olden times, convicts – after their trial – were forced to enter the prison through the bridge. After getting their last glimpse to Venice, it is said they would let out a sigh.
March 22nd – Venetian Ghetto
Today we decided not to head to San Marco Square (which was about a 25 minute walk from the hotel or a 5 minute water taxi) but rather wandered our local neighbourhood and a few bridges later, we arrived in the Venice Ghetto. The name of this area refers to the district where the Venetian republic segregates the Jews. This enclosed neighbourhood was not given a negative meaning. In fact, Venice had a separate living area for Turkish and German merchants as well. This area while a tad run town in certain parts, was actually quite beautiful and lively. During the evenings, many art exhibitions take place here. During the day, you will find many bakeries, a school, and several artist owned shops.
Mid-day took an interesting turn. We all decided to get a pedicure from 70 – 100 Garra Ruffa fish. These fish originate from Turkey and are known as cleaner fish since they eat away your dead skin. It’s a wonderful sensation and it feels as if the fish are kissing your feet and surprisingly I did not find it overly ticklish besides when they were on the bottom of my feet. My feet were both soft and smoothe after a 10 minute encounter and it only cost $ 10.00 euros for the experience.
In the late afternoon to evening we shopped! Venice delivered shoes, purses and jewellery. We all felt like kids in the candy store. Surprisingly the prices were reasonable for the quality.
1. The Canal & Boats – Picturesque wherever your days adventure took you!
2. The Murano Glass Jewellery – absolutely amazing what they can do with glass.
3. Pizza – I could eat it everyday!
4. Walking everywhere. It was such a great workout everyday!
5. Shopping – Because, literally wherever you go its nice to take a piece back home with you.