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The Romance of Venice

  • August 14, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 41 Comments
The Romance of Venice

As I was being gondoliered down the canals of Venice my thoughts were certainly about romance and the beauty surrounding me. The romance of Venice overwhelmed me and for a few moments I imagined a younger version of myself being wooed and serenaded and fed oysters and champagne as I glided down the canals. It was just a silly daydream I know! But as far as Italian cities goes, Venice would be hard to beat for romance.

The Romance of Venice

Arriving into Venice on a Water-Bus

We had spent the previous day checking out the stunning islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello and were impressed with the treasures that they revealed. On our second day in Venice we made a quick plan that involved seeing as much of the city as possible, so we set off early in the morning.

Narrow Laneways & Canals of Venice

We wound our way through the narrow laneways, criss-crossed with arched bridges, and occasionally encountered a square or piazza with a cafe and always a church.

The Romance of Venice

One of the many churches in a square in Venice

After what seemed a long time, we came to another open square where the smell of fish was rife. We had reached the Rialto fresh food markets and paused to take a browse.

The Romance of Venice

Rialto Bridge Shops

Once we hit Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal the crowds were starting to form. This area is full of souvenir shops, leather wares, boutiques and shops selling Venetian masks. You can easily wile away a few hours here checking out the shops.

The Romance of Venice

The famous Rialto Bridge in Venice

We had worked up a thirst so decided to sit for a while on the Grand Canal and have a coffee. Already the Grand Canal was a hive of activity with wooden speedboats, tourist boats, ferries and gondolas all cruising on the chopped up waters.

St Mark’s Square

By the time we reached St Mark’s Square the place was jam-packed with tourists. Already the line was a mile long to enter St Mark’s Basilica and tourists were taking selfies everywhere on the piazza. We found it difficult to take photos without someone photo-bombing us and eventually gave up!

The Romance of Venice

St Mark’s Square or Piazza San Marco.

Napoleon referred to St Marks’ Square, Piazza San Marco as the ‘drawing room of Europe’ as it holds three of Venice’s most popular tourist attractions. St Mark’s basilica (Basilica di San Marco), often seen as the living testimony of Venice’s links with Byzantium; Doge’s Palace, once Venice’s political and judicial hub; and Torre dellOrologio, a clock tower built between 1496 and 1506, that are, not just the square’s, but some of the city’s main attractions.

The Romance of Venice

The facade of St Mark’s Basilica

Doge’s Palace

The Romance of Venice

The colonnade of Doges Palace

My wish was to see Doge’s Palace, a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, which is now a museum. The line into the palace didn’t appear to be too long so I joined the queue. During the prosperous centuries of the Venetian Republic, the city’s magistrates, or doges, ruled the city like royalty. The Palazzo Ducale or Doge’s Palace was not only the residence of the doge but the city’s centre of power and its administrative hub.

The Romance of Venice

The Courtyard in Doges Palace

The building was constructed in two phases. The eastern wing, which faces the Rio di Palazzo, was built between 1301 and 1340. The western wing, facing the Piazetta San Marco, took an additional 110 years to build and was completed in 1450.

The Romance of Venice

Doges Palace and statue

I wandered through the palace with my head permanently tilted back gazing above at the ornate frescoed ceilings and then as I entered each chamber there were huge masterpieces on canvas dating back centuries ago.

The Romance of Venice

Some of the artwork in Doges Palace

Once I’d had my fill of art and opulence I entered a narrow passage that led me to the Ponte dei Sospiri – the Bridge of Sighs. The beautiful enclosed Baroque arch bridge connects Doge’s Palace with the first floor of the prison that belies a grim past.

The Romance of Venice

Bridge of Sighs at Dogues Palace

It was through the stone grillwork of this bridge that prisoners caught their last glimpse of Venice as they were taken before the judges for sentencing, then to prison or worse.

The Romance of Venice

Prison Courtyard in Doges Palace

These attic prison cells are also renowned for the Venetian lover-boy Giacomo Casanova, who once made a famous escape from within.

The Grand Canal & Gondola Ride

After I re-surfaced from Doge’s Palace, with an extremely impatient husband waiting, we set off back through the maze of canals and streets looking for somewhere to eat lunch. We ended up at scenic cafe along the Grand Canal, not far from Rialto Bridge.

The Romance of Venice

The Grand Canal in Venice

Lined with the palazzos of the Venetian ruling classes, many of them now hotels, the lagoon city’s watery main street is one of the highlights of any visit. The fairytale atmosphere of the Grand Canal is simply breathtaking. Sipping on a apertif of an Aperol Spritzer and sharing an anti pasta platter of Italian delicacies, we wiled away an hour or two, resting our weary legs.

The Romance of Venice

Some of the sights on the Grand Canal

One of the best ways of seeing Venice, apart from walking, is to jump aboard a Vaporetto or Water-Bus that runs the length of the Grand Canal and is the ideal equivalent to a city bus tour.

The Romance of Venice

Cruising the canals of Venice in a Gondola

The throng of boats going every which way, mixed with gondolas all seems to work in harmony, incredibly! After some refreshment and food we decided we would join in with the on-water activities and found ourselves a gondola boat. Although an expensive indulgence at 80 euros a pop, we thoroughly enjoyed this experience, that if truth be told, is just something you have do whilst in Venice!

The Romance of Venice

Venice Gondolas ready for a big day

Get Lost in Venice

We found one of the most enjoyable things to do in Venice was hands down just wandering aimlessly through its streets and alleys and getting lost. If you only have a day in the city, like we did I’d recommend that you do this before you set foot inside a single museum or attraction.

The Romance of Venice

One of the piazzas in Venice

By wandering (especially if you point yourself in the exact opposite of the direction where the herd is going) you can find Venice’s many charming and often-empty squares and streets, which goes a long way toward helping you appreciate the city.

The Romance of Venice

The Canals of Venice

Check out the many shops that make and sell exquisitely crafted Venetian masks. These mysterious, disturbing Venetian masks, eyeing you from the city’s alleyways are part of what I imagine the Venetian world would have been like 300 years ago. Thousands of tourists flock to Venice annually to see and take part in its magnificent Carnival; walking round in fancy dress and masks in this city’s magical scenery.

The Romance of Venice

One of the many shops in Venice selling masks

Where we stayed in Venice

Our accommodation for our two nights in Venice was at the Hotel Abbazia, a bed and breakfast offering newly renovated rooms created from the former monastery of the Frati Carmelitani Scalzi (barefoot Carmelite friars) of Venice. The B&B was well located near the Train Station and the Grand Canal, Ponte degli Scalzi, shops, cafes and restaurants. It also had a beautiful courtyard and garden at the back of the hotel where you could sit and enjoy the peaceful garden and sunshine.

The Romance of Venice

The pretty potted flowers in the courtyard of the Hotel Abbazia

We only touched the surface of this picture postcard city of stunning architecture and classic artwork.  I could have easily lost myself here for a few more days. The romance of Venice is one Italian experience that will stay with me for the rest of my days.

Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday

 

 

By 50 Shades, August 14, 2017 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 41

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

41 Comments
  • Pinky Poinker
    August 14, 2017

    Now that is a place I would love to visit! So romantic.

  • budget jan
    August 14, 2017

    I can’t wait to visit the out of the way squares of Venice. Your Hotel Abbazia sounds delightful. Thanks for the tempting photos.

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2017

      Yes I think getting lost in the narrow lanes of Venice was the best part! I loved Venice (despite the crowds) and I can highly recommend the B&B/hotel we stayed at.

  • Life Images by Jill
    August 15, 2017

    thank you so much for this Kathy. We are just starting to investigate a trip to Spain and Italy next year and Venice is on the top of my list. And I can see in your words and pictures why I long to go there, despite the crowds. I’ll show this to hubbie! Thanks Kathy. ps – what month were you there? Just trying to figure out the best time to go.

    • Kathy
      August 15, 2017

      You will love Italy Jill. Spain is on the bucket list for us next time. We were there in May and the weather was perfect. Not too hot or too cold. I think it gets extremely hot and even more crowded in their summer so I would avoid those months.

    • Jan Wild
      August 15, 2017

      Hi Jill, we went to Venice about 5 years ago and were there in late September. It was beautiful at that time, still warm but not too hot. We are heading to Spain in the next couple of months so watch for posts on that.

  • Jan Wild
    August 15, 2017

    Isn’t Venice the most beautiful and incredible City. Like you we loved wandering the canals and getting delightfully lost. Ah, take me back!

    • Kathy
      August 15, 2017

      I simply adored all of Italy. Venice was a fabulous place, despite the crowds, and I was glad we did the touristy gondola ride and also that we got into the back lanes of the city. Yes I could go back tomorrow if you insist!

  • Jo
    August 15, 2017

    Venice is romantic, and colourful and gorgeous and … oh I want to go back there! It’s a cold rainy day in Perth and the idea of a gondolier trip and a nice cold Spritz is a little tempting. Tip: Visit Venice around 4pm when the cruise ship population has emptied out.

    • Kathy
      August 16, 2017

      Yes I think we were one of those pesky cruise ship tourists! It was extremely crowded everywhere, particularly St Mark’s Square. We took off into the laneways and it eventually thinned out. It is a very romantic city.

  • Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama
    August 16, 2017

    We didn’t realise how BIG Venice was, til we caught a vaporetto to Piazza San Marco :-)

    • Kathy
      August 17, 2017

      Yes Venice is rather expansive with narrow laneways and canals everywhere. I think we almost walked all of it! It’s one of the most unique cities I’ve been to in the world. :)

  • Ruth | Tanama Tales
    August 19, 2017

    Oh Kathy, so many gorgeous photos! the colors, the little bit of decay, the canals, the gondolas, everything works in perfect harmony. I visited Venice long time ago. Need to go back, and like you mentioned, try to get lost. #TPThursday

    • Kathy
      August 19, 2017

      Thanks Ruth. I enjoyed being a photographer in Venice. It was like a dream! It’s a beautiful city but shame about the crowds.

  • Arpy
    August 21, 2017

    I have been to Italy last winter but didn’t go to Venice. I agree that it’s a romantic spot. One of those places you need to go as a couple :) So I’ll wait for it :D
    But besides that, it looks like it has also a lot of architectural and cultural sites. I’d love to explore them all.
    Italy is one of those countries where you need loads of free storage in your camera ;)

    • Kathy
      August 22, 2017

      You certainly do need a lot of camera storage in Italy. I took thousands of photos! Venice was beautiful, but I’m sure you could enjoy it just as much without a partner. There’s so much to see.

  • Samantha Sparrow
    August 21, 2017

    I adored this post – it made me so excited to finally visit next year. I’m obsessed with Italy, and for me Venice really is the most romantic city in the world – far more so than Paris!

    • Kathy
      August 22, 2017

      Thank you Samantha. Visiting Venice was one of the most exciting parts of our trip to Italy. It did not disappoint.

  • ada
    August 22, 2017

    I remember how I went to Venice few years ago. I let myself get lost in this wonderful city and even tho I missed the biggest attraction I was still very impress how beautiful this city is! I hope Ill get back over there one day, and get to enjoy the wonderful food and stunning bridges! Your photos are so nice!

    • Kathy
      August 22, 2017

      Thanks Ada. Getting lost in the maze of narrow laneways in Venice is one of the best parts of visiting. There was something interesting to look at at every turn.

  • Punita Malhotra
    August 22, 2017

    What time of the year did you to Venice…it does not seem as crowded as some recent scary internet pictures suggest. I’m a die-hard romantic and Venice is my first love (some people hate it with vengeance). When we visited Venice a decade ago, the tourist situation was still manageable plus it was shoulder season, so we had no reason to complain.

    • Kathy
      August 22, 2017

      We were in Venice in early May so maybe it wasn’t as crowded as the high season. However we still found the crowds around St Mark’s Square to be difficult to negotiate. We loved every part of Venice however.

  • Gokul Raj
    August 22, 2017

    Venice is indeed one romantic location. Studded with many architectural wonders, the city has indeed become an iconic city on the tourist map. But it has become too crowded for my liking.

    • Kathy
      August 23, 2017

      Yes I agree the crowds are an issue in Venice, but I think it’s just one of those cities you have to experience once.

  • Fiona Mai
    August 23, 2017

    In 2014 I had a 4-day holiday to Italy, and instead of Venice I chose to visit Rome. I love Rome and have no regret over my decision, but now as I read your article, I just wish I could come back to Italy again and experience all these beautiful things that Venice has to offer :) Like you said, I can imagine that just wandering aimlessly is still a nice experience itself.

    • Kathy
      August 23, 2017

      Well it would be a big toss up between Rome and Venice. They are both equally as enticing.

  • David
    August 23, 2017

    Now that is a beautiful place.Amazing photos.

  • My Travelogue by Bhushavali
    August 24, 2017

    Indeed Venice is romantic which is why I skipped it when I did a solo travel to Italy!!! When I go to Venice, I have to go with my significant other right? Torre dell’Orologio looks fascinating, very historical indeed. A bridge where prisoner’s got a last glimpse of Venice? That’s painful!

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      No you don’t need a partner to feel romantic in Venice! It is an amazing place to see and there are so many historical buildings, beautiful artwork and music. #TeamLovinLife

  • James
    August 27, 2017

    I’m visiting Venice this Oct / Nov so it was good to read a little about it. I have never heard of the Rialto Bridge, it looks such a beautiful bridge to photograph! I will arrive and leave by train so it’s good to know there’s a good hotel close by, I’ll check the hotel Abbazia out!

    • Kathy
      August 28, 2017

      I can highly recommend the Hotel Abbazia. It is very close to the train station and is not far from the Grand Canal. You will love every part of Venice.

  • Brooke Herron
    August 27, 2017

    I loved being in Venice for Carnevale over 10 years ago but when I went back in Summer I really didn’t like it-too crowded! But funny enough I took a photo in that mask shop you have a photo of in in this post (12-13 years ago!) :)

    • Kathy
      August 28, 2017

      It would be fabulous to experience the Venice Carnivale. It was even crowded in Spring in Venice so I can’t imagine how crazy it would be in Summer. I think you would be wise to avoid it during peak times.

  • Chiera
    August 27, 2017

    Venice has always been on my bucket list! It’s such a picturesque city!

    • Kathy
      August 28, 2017

      It is a picture-postcard city and it certainly keeps your camera busy the entire time you’re there. I think it is one of Italy’s must see cities.

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    August 28, 2017

    Venice is the stuff that dreams are made of and we were very happy when one fine morning our dreams were realized. We literally got lost in the beautiful maze that is Venice, wandering around lanes and by lanes. Of course we did all the things that tourists or travelers do there and enjoyed every bit. Your post brought back some wonderful memories.

    • Kathy
      August 28, 2017

      Venice is a beautiful city full of beauty and wonder. I’m glad you have such sweet memories.

  • Ingrid Rickersey
    September 2, 2017

    Yes … loooove Venice … I was there last year in September and September is a great time to go as the weather is perfect and less crowded tha the peak months of summer. I had a week in Venice on a water colour painting tour (an artist’s dream place). We stayed in an old convent which is now a B&B – it was great (right on the Canal).Highly recommend Italy as a holiday destination- awesome 🙂🍷

    • Kathy
      September 2, 2017

      I couldn’t agree more Ingrid. Venice would be water colour painter’s dream. Italy as a whole is a magical travel destination. I loved every little part of it and would like to return for more!

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