25 May2010

Venice, La Serenissima

by Marketman

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It was a brief flight from Paris to Venice, and we arrived at the spanking new Marco Polo Airport designed by Gianpaolo Mar. After a fairly lengthy walk (with bags to boot), we managed to get to the docks and hired a water taxi to take us to our hotel. There are several ways to get to Venice, but I think the only way to arrive into the city is by private launch, or a nice water taxi. On a clear day you can see the outline of the city on the horizon across the water/lagoon, and as you get closer it dawns on you that you’re visiting an entire city on water… It is awe-inspiring, regardless of how many times you have been there to visit before…

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Our water taxi made a beeline for one of the main gateways to the city, and I watched the Teen as we slowed down to a crawl within the city’s canals and waterways. She went from sleepy, bleary-eyed young traveler to wide-eyed wonder filled with curiosity and amazement. It helps that our taxi was one of those classic wooden launches and impeccably maintained. Even our taxi driver was from central casting it seemed…

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We went on a (thankfully) circuitous route to our out of the way hotel, and this gave us a chance to get a preview of things to come for the next 3-4 days.

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Human powered gondolas are still very common, and while one can say touristy (the city gets some 50,000 tourists daily I read somewhere), they are still very much part of the charm of Venice. Motorized launches, ferries, etc. are also abundant, but the classic view of the gondolier in black and white striped shirt, hat and if you are lucky (or not?) booming voice is still very appealing.

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A photo of the Rialto bridge connecting two main parts of Venice…

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…a gondolier on a main “avenue”… note the wonderful buildings in the background that date back several centuries.

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Private homes and yards.

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Over the top palaces (some of which backdrops to one of the recent James Bond movies partially filmed in the city…

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The local equivalent of a “traffic jam” with several boats and gondolas trying to maneuver through a narrow canal corner…

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What we privately wished was our little chauffered launch, but the keys were nowhere to be found… :)

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An elegant bend in the local highway. Venice is a stunning city. Overrun by tourists, prone to serious flooding, wickedly expensive. But very much worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. tna says:

    Perfect place to be Bond…James Bond =) Love the pictures and the stories!

    May 25, 2010 | 7:26 am

     
  2. meh says:

    enjoy Venice while it’s still around :) (not for very much longer, what with sea levels rising…)

    May 25, 2010 | 7:27 am

     
  3. millet says:

    really stunning!

    May 25, 2010 | 7:48 am

     
  4. Footloose says:

    The closing scene of one of the earliest 007, From Russia with Love, as I remember it, was also filmed on one of these waterways. Did you take a peek at Harry’s bar where the Bellini and Carpaccio were reputedly invented?

    May 25, 2010 | 8:03 am

     
  5. Jen Laceda says:

    I hate Venice when I’m there, but when I get home, I seem to miss the city a lot…

    May 25, 2010 | 8:58 am

     
  6. Jaja says:

    *dreamy sigh*

    May 25, 2010 | 9:18 am

     
  7. Marketman says:

    Footloose, yes, Harry’s Bar is a legend, but again, often overrun with gawkers and tourists like ourselves. When we visited it the last time we were in Venice, I ended up with a Campari and Soda, what the locals were presumably drinking, rather than the more frou-frou champagne and white peach juice… I think I should try champagne and ripe mango juice the next time there is leftover champagne… For liver lovers, Venice is the place for calf’s liver done rare…

    May 25, 2010 | 9:20 am

     
  8. FestiveRebel says:

    When we were there last year there was much anticipation about the first woman gondolier being accepted into the fold. There were several who tried before but did not pass the rigorous testing, so our guide informs us. It seems that not anyone can just get his own boat and become a gondolier. It is a big achievement for this lady gondolier, breaking tradition, and proving her mettle. If that grapevine news were true, she must be commissioned by now.

    May 25, 2010 | 9:47 am

     
  9. Marketman says:

    FestiveRebel the license or right or “cab medallion” to own and operate a gondola is a major investment I gather. Any Tom, Dick or Harry or Maria for that matter can just choose to start plying the canals… :)

    May 25, 2010 | 9:49 am

     
  10. FestiveRebel says:

    Anyone interested in becoming a gondolier as they are one the most highest paid people in Venice, check out this link:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2079793_become-gondolier.html

    It is possible but not easy!

    May 25, 2010 | 10:04 am

     
  11. Marketman says:

    FestiveRebel, OMG, they gross $150,000 a year? The license must be worth a cool $1Million or more!

    May 25, 2010 | 10:43 am

     
  12. lorraine says:

    ahhhh…venice…so beautiful…one item on my bucket list is to go back there and see it’s beauty again…this time with my husband.
    the romance of venice was wasted on me and my girlfriend. :-)

    May 25, 2010 | 1:25 pm

     
  13. Ana (AdoboRice.com) says:

    Venice is my favourite city! We were there in late spring, before the city gets really crowded and after the streets dry up from the flood. We have been lucky to have found an accomodation listed as a hostel but turned out to be a flat just a few streets from San Marco. i lived next door to locals, my bedroom overlooking a small courtyard garden, and every morning gets awaken by the lively chit-chatting of the mommas cleaning outside their homes. far from a luxury accomodation but was as authentic as it gets. Every morning when we forage for breakfast, we randomly pick an unknown coffee from the long list (they offer more than your local starbucks) and stopped when we realised the coffee we ordered contains some strong liquor! that explained the funny look from the barista!

    May 25, 2010 | 1:54 pm

     
  14. faith says:

    Going over your post gave me goosebumps. I really do hope I get to visit Venice even just once in my lifetime. :)

    May 25, 2010 | 2:50 pm

     
  15. Mom-Friday says:

    This one is in my bucket list of places to visit, aside from the seven wonders of the world!

    May 25, 2010 | 6:32 pm

     
  16. Vanessa says:

    Ooohh… your in Venice! Shoot, would’ve loved to meet marketman in Venice. We were just there a couple of weeks back. Spent more time buying Murano glass then touring the place, haha! Don’t forget to visit Murano and Lido Island :D

    Btw, here’s my post, just updated it this weekend: http://pinkswarovski.blogspot.com/2010/05/italy-trip-part-3-venice.html

    May 25, 2010 | 7:46 pm

     
  17. Lemons and Anchovies says:

    Venice is fabulous–it’s one of my favorite places in the world. Your pictures are a great reminder of one memorable trip.

    In fact, my cousins from the Philippines have just arrived in Venice from Rome and they are over the moon!

    Thanks for your post!

    May 25, 2010 | 11:17 pm

     
  18. rex says:

    i thought before that venice was without roads. how wrong i was. it seems like only the canals of venice are featured/shown in the movies.

    May 25, 2010 | 11:31 pm

     
  19. Marketman says:

    rex, there are “avenues” or wide sidewalks, but I never crossed a “road” per se. There is a causeway and trains can get to the outskirts of Venice. As for trucks or cars, I don’t think I ever saw one in the main parts of Venice. Even groceries and restaurants have their supplies delivered by launch or boat.

    May 26, 2010 | 7:15 am

     
  20. Marketfan says:

    the alleys of Venice can be spooky at night, the whole place is like a maze and its so easy to imagine bumping into a masked creature when rounding a corner..however, we took comfort in the fact that you can’t really get lost because the place is an island..the farthest you can go is near the water’s edge..

    Jun 4, 2010 | 6:49 pm

     
  21. portugalbear says:

    MM your pictures brings back so much memories of Venice. Sad that we didn’t have the luxury of time to really explore the whole place. would love to go back again.

    Jun 9, 2010 | 10:01 am

     
 

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