Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is a combination of 118 small islands in northern Italy. Tradition has it that fishermen settled on the islands centuries ago and eventually it was used by the Italian military. Venice is full of history and definitely has a distinct culture. I would say Venice has a very cozy atmosphere because all the buildings are so snug together and it’s true what they say, “you haven’t been to Venice, unless you got lost in Venice.”
Here are some Venice tours that my wife and I took that I would highly recommend. For as small as Venice is in landmass, it has so much to offer that you could stay for a month or so and not see it all. Plan your trip to Venice in the order of priority to you. Decide if its museums, architecture, the food and nightlife or maybe you don’t want to plan and simply want to stumble around. Whatever your desire is, make sure you make that happen.
VENICE DAY 1, – ISLAND OF MURANO
The Island of Murano is a neighboring set of islands in Venice’s lagoon. It is a day trip and will be well worth it, especially when you see the wonderful glass they produce. Murano’s reputation for glassmaking was a result of a fire threat to Venice in 1291. The fire threatened all wood built building and for whatever reason, the glassmakers mainly had wood buildings. They were forced to move out of Venice and settled here in Murano. These glassmakers became some Italy’s richest and most influential citizens. They enjoyed unprecedented perks like being allowed to carry a sword and were given immunity from Venetian prosecution. This was all under the one premise of never leaving the republic.
These glassmakers were also a monopoly for centuries in Italian glass and therefore were able to perfect their abilities and techniques. While visiting the island of Murano you can visit the Museo Vetrario in the Palazzo Giustinian. Here you can watch glassmakers at work and tour finished pieces at the end.
We thouroughly enjoyed our visit to Murano. It is a great place to find the perfect gift to take back home to your loved ones. Not everyone can say they have jewelry from Murano. Most of the island’s shops are geared for tourists. One of the islands main sources of income is from tourism.
VENICE DAY 2, – THE ISLAND OF THE GIUDECCA & II REDENTORE
The island is situated in front of the Zattere on the other side of the canal by the same name. Once 8,000 people lived here and festivities were held in the many palaces in honor of the foreign princes. The island was filled with large palaces with elaborate gardens before the 20th Century. With the industrial Revolution, the island became a birthing place for factories and shipyards. In the early 1900’s a film studio was constructed as well. Unfortunately, most of the islands industry declined at the end of World War II.
The church of II Redentore is the most important temple on the island. It was constructed in 1577 by the Senate as a Votive temple giving thanks for deliverance from the plague in Venice. It is a magnificent domed church, white and airy on the inside. It is a wonderful place to sit for a few moments to reflect and meditate on life.
VENICE DAY 3, – GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION AND FONDAMENTA DELLE ZATTERE
If you have an art appreciation and want a mini getaway the Peggy Guggenheim Collection would be for you. It is a small collection of 20th Century paintings and sculptures that are on display in the former Grand Canal home of the Guggenheim family. This collection includes works by Picasso, Kandinsky, Pollock, Motherwell and Ernst. This museum does serve snacks and drinks and invites you to enjoy its beautiful garden. Some of the works of art in this museum are a once in a lifetime shot so I recommend putting on top of your priority list.
Among all your sightseeing make sure to stop by Venice’s sunniest point, the Fondamenta Delle Zattere. Here you will find the city’s enormous terrace. This is a great snack stop because the terrace is filled with restaurants, cafes and clubs. While you’re there make sure to stop by the Gelateria Nico and indulge in the Italian frozen treat. This is a great location to recoup from your busy days. Take some time and people watch and soak in the culture.
The unique and creative atmosphere that Venice offers was one of the greatest treasures for us. It truly felt like a secret hidden for those fortunate enough to find it. The streets felt magical, the wind clean and the water romantic. The amazing structures of both the buildings and the streets made Venice feel like a Country of its own.
This was one of my favorite and best memories being in Italy, experiencing the streets and sounds of Venice. Somehow this extraordinary place offered a sense of community and safety that was inviting and liberating. Each day felt like an opportunity to discover something new about the uniquely set streets. The incredible shops of Venice would remind you of a picturesque magazine. The transportation seemed to preserve somehow an authentic and historic feel about this amazing and quaint City. As we boarded our first boat from the train station into the heart of the City, it felt like an ascent into a magical and exciting land and City waiting to be discovered. This great City truly offers the discovery and romance that would be beautiful and enjoyable for anyone. The locals in Venice were full of great joy and hospitality, as they showed us around this mysterious City. The vendors and street sellers offered such unique gifts that were both breath taking and rare. The individual identity and unique experience of Venice caused this to be one of my favorite Cities in Italy.
By Joey Papa