Venice: A Historic, Romantic & Cultural City.
The great thing about Austria is that it has 8 adjoining countries: Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia and – last but not least – Italy. You can either hop into your car or take the next train and within a couple of hours, you’re in a new country. And that’s exactly what we spontaneously decided to do a couple of weekends ago.
After arriving at the train station in Venice (we took the overnight train), we felt the action right away. The “Canale” in front of the station was full with boats. Water taxis, garbage freighters, post boats and “Vaporettos” – the public transport boats. It really gets pretty busy on the channels on certain times of the day.
We started the day well rested and therefore walked to our hotel. The hotel was quite nice and in a great area but we usually prefer renting apartments during our weekend trips.
So anyway, before heading out to explore the city, we stopped at a lovely “Cafeteria” for the first of many Cappuccinos … Italian coffee just tastes so good! Just shortly after we started walking further on, we realized that it was “Acqua Alta” time in Venice. During this, the city is almost completely flooded … So we bought ourselves rubber boots and continued exploring.
A little History before we head on.
Lesson 1: Venice was founded around 400 a.C. as a trading post by authorities in Padua. In the beginning, it was a collection of lagoon communities. Around 800 a.C., the first leader of Venice – the “Doge” named Ursus – was elected and between 900 a.C. and 1200 a.C. it developed into a city state. It soon later became a center of commerce and art, as well as an important trading point.
Lesson 2: The world-famous St. Mark’s Basilica was built around 800 a.C. but burnt down with a large part of the city around 950 a.C. It was rebuilt but only finished around 100 years later. It is the most famous of the city’s churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture.
Lesson 3: Venice was also a magnet for lots of celebrities: Titian, Giacomo Casanova, Thomas Mann, Richard Wagner lived here; Antonio Vivaldi and Marco Polo were born here.
History really does follow you at every turn.
Some buildings are absolutely unique, like for example the snail staircase of “Scala Contarini del Bovolo” – the only round shaped stairway of the Renaissance era, which is hidden at the end of a small alley, not far from Rialto bridge. But it’s not only history for which Venice is known for: Cultural events are happening all the time; the most prominent ones are the Carnival of Venice and of course the Venice International Film Festival – the oldest international film festival in the world.
Almost at every corner you’ll find a gallery where you can admire paintings, sculptures and other creative art. If you have enough time, a visit to the “Peggy Guggenheim” Museum in a beautiful palace along Canale Grande is a must! And for the real romantic ones, hiring a “Gondola” and rowing down the Grande Canale is definitely a highlight.
Yes, Venice has a lot to offer and it’s one of these cities you can never get enough of …