Venice, Italy

June 03, 2016


"Save the best for last."

That's exactly what we did when we dedicated the last leg of our tour of Italy to explore the world's most amazing floating city, VENICE.  

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is merely a two-hour train ride away from Florence.  (Don't you just love how their efficient and very reliable railway system make traveling so easy for everyone?)  Upon stepping out of the train station, I was immediately awed by the city's uniqueness -- it's a place which literally floats on water!  It was magical, just like in the movies!  Venezia will surely make you feel like you're in a different world!  

"Built on an archipelago of 117 islands formed by 177 canals in a shallow lagoon, connected by 409 bridges, Venice remains to be Europe's largest urban car-free area."  -- Wikipedia 


How a bus station looks like in Venice, Italy

Watertaxi is an expensive and private transportation which costs EUR 60

Just in case you were wondering how their ambulance looks like

A gondola is another form of transportation that's popular among tourists

A tour of the "Floating City" won't be complete without riding a gondola

Enjoying his gondola ride

Venice, Italy
Venice is pretty much all about houses floating on water, canals, and footbridges

Being surrounded by a body of water, the best way to get around Venice is either by walking or riding a vaporetto or waterbus.  This is basically the reason why it is so important to pack light when going on a Europe tour.  Can you imagine trying to squeeze yourself in a jam packed vaporetto or carrying a huge luggage over a few of the city's 409 footbridges?  If no, then be ready to spend at least EUR 60 for a private transportation, such as a watertaxi.

It's a good thing we decided to travel very light -- as in we only brought one carry-on bag each.  However, that didn't save us from the pain of having to carry Rafa (together with his stroller) across the footbridges all over the city.  The struggle of traveling with a toddler is sooo REAL, especially in Venice!!!  Nevertheless, I'm still grateful that we were given this once in a lifetime opportunity to travel as a family.  I just can't imagine going to this far place without Rafa, that won't give me peace of mind at all!  Hence, I'd rather choose to carry him and his stroller all day, till my arms get sore, than to leave him in someone else's care.  No, leaving my son was never an option!  (Mommy's got a serious case of separation anxiety, lol!)


Anyway, here are the places that we never missed to see in Venice:


PIAZZA SAN MARCO 

Piazza San Marco or Saint Mark's Square is, perhaps, the most popular tourist attraction in Venice.  This is where you'll find Basilica De San Marco, San Marco Campanile, and Doge's Palace.  My son, Rafa, loves this plaza so much, for it happened to be the place where a lot of pigeons usually flock.  Several al fresco restaurants, which provide live musical performances, are also available in the plaza, making it a really great place for hanging-out!

Piazza San Marco, Venice
Clock Tower in Piazza San Marco, Venice
My son feeding the pigeons at Piazza San Marco, with the Clock Tower on the background


SAINT MARK'S BASILICA

Basilica de San Marco, a classic example of Byzantine architecture, is the most famous church in Venice.  The queue of tourists wishing to get inside the basilica can be really long, so I suggest booking an online reservation (EUR 2.00) to avoid wasting your precious time.  However, please take note that a separate ticket (available only at the church) is required if you wish to further explore San Marco's Museum, the Golden Pall and the Treasury.



DOGE'S PALACE

Right beside St Mark's Basilica is our most favorite attraction in the city, the Palazzo Ducale or Doge's Palace.  This prominent landmark facing the Grand Canal used to be a Doge's (a ruler of Venice) residence, a seat of government, and a palace of justice.  While the building's exterior may not really look interesting (in my opinion), I must say that its interior is pretty much the exact opposite.  It's enormous, you would need at least an hour to see the entire place.  The admission ticket to the palace worth EUR 19, which also includes access to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, is definitely super "sulit!"  

Doge's Palace
The palace's courtyard, facing the Basilica de San Marco 

Doge's Palace
One of the institutional chambers inside the Doge's Palace

Doge's Palace
My sister posing before the famous painting "The Last Judgement"

Doge's Palace
Note the intricate details of its ceilings and the impressive paintings on its walls

The scenic view of Venice's Grand Canal from the Doge's Palace

Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs connects the basement of the palace to the "New Prisons" built on the other side of the canal


GRAND CANAL

Grand Canal, Venice

The Grand Canal is what makes Venice one-of-a-kind.  It's like the major highway in the city which serves as a pathway for vaporetti, watertaxis, and gondole.  Vaporetti or water buses are the most common form of public transport in Venice.  A single-fare vaporetto ticket costs around EUR 7.50 per head, but they also offer tourist travel cards (valid for 12 hours - 7 days), perfect for those who are planning to have an extended stay.

We didn't have that much time to see all the attractions in the city, since we barely had 2 days to spare.  So what we did, in order to make our tour more efficient, was to ride a vaporetto starting from San Zaccaria going to Piazzale Roma bus station on our way to the airport for our afternoon flight to Paris, France.  Taking that waterbus ride, which took about 40 minutes, was like having a tour of the Grand Canal already.  It's also more "sulit" compared hiring a taxi to show you around Venice!

Santa Maria Della Salute
Santa Maria Della Salute

San Geremia Church, Venice
San Geremia Church


The Campanile San Marco on the left and the Doge's Palace on the Right

That's basically what our adventure of Venice is about!  I hope, somehow, I was able to tour you around and give you a glimpse of the beauty of the city through the photos I've shared!  In my next post, I will be covering more our family's travel to the sophisticated City of Love, PARIS!  Til then, my dear readers!  Grazie!


***For more photos, stories, and tips about our adventures in Europe, you may check the following blog posts: 



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