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mistybleu Venice - A travel report by Amanda
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Venice,  Italy - flag Italy -  Veneto
9767 readers

mistybleu's travel reports

From Ruskin to Casanova, to me!

  27 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6
From Marco Polo Airport, it’s a simple taxi ride to the city, but is no conventional ride, it’s a waterbus and this is where the romance begins… or not...

Summer Ball
Summer Ball
The age of Carnival brought decadence to Venice and this was epitomized by Casanova – the most famous Venetian - and his love for women.

The spirit of carnival was born in the theatre, part pantomime part slapstick and it was considered that fantasy became Venetian reality. The carnival lasted for 6 months with an explosion of colour, gambling, bullfighting, burning of effigies, tightrope walking and the masquerade balls etc; where the upper classes wore masks that allowed them to fraternize without detection, creating dangerous liaisons.

It became the gambling capital of Europe and a major destination for Europeans; by the mid 18th century gambling became a ‘woman’s’ problem, as they sold their bodies to fund their habits. Fortunes were lost.

It was around this time that the ‘French’ disease (aka syphilis) took over, so widespread that more and more hospitals were built. In 11 months the city was devastated and more than a 3rd of the population had died. Even Casanova became ill, but was lucky to survive.

In recognition of lives spared, they built the Santa Maria Della Salute. This is a very elaborate church, with its classical yet ornate features on the outside, and is far more impressive than the inside.

By 1797, Napoleon wanted to put an end to the decadence, starting with Turin, then Milan and finally Venice.

The decadence, disease, dance and Doges are gone, but the romance lingers.

Now considered the city of palaces, made of marble and stone, with the Grand Canal as its main hub. Today the carnival lasts for the month of February, culminating in festivities in St Mark’s Square; lovers go there to hear the stories and tell the tales so that the romance lives on.

Favourite spots:
Across the Lido to Piazza San Marco
Across the Lido to Piazza San Marco
I’m no different than anyone else; my favourite spot was PIAZZA SAN MARCO. The elegance and opulence sits side by side in what Napoleon called ‘the drawing room of Europe’ and is a must to experience. It is adored with monuments that give testimony to Venice’s glorious past.

Campanile di San Marco (the bell tower) is one of the first sights of the Square you see.

BASILICA SAN MARCO - a Byzantine cathedral is breathtaking and dominates the Square. Inside can be found splendid mosaics and exquisite works of art; tour of the façade are possible, but queues are long.

Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) is a magnificent combination of Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architecture; the Palazzo Fucale was the official residence of the 120 doges who ruled Venice from 697 until Napoleon invaded. While passing through a maze of rooms will you can see the luxurious lifestyle of a bygone era. It also connects to the new prison (Prigioni Nuove) via the Bridge of Sighs.

What's really great:
The Grand Canal
The Grand Canal
The Grand Canal, is a super highway, with 'street' lighting' and all (well the lanes are well lit) ; however it is only one of 177 canals that flows through the city.

There is so much on offer here, from enjoying an open air café or cruise up the Grand Canal. Viewing the imposing buildings or sailing under the striking Rialto Bridge. Then what’s more Venetian than taking a gondola ride it’s wonderful, with or without a significant other. It’s a perfect way to waste an hour.

The Piazza San Marco side of the Canal is very crowded, with lots of school children and tourist meandering the shop, sights etc. Therefore it is best seen in the morning or late afternoon/evening.

But on the other side, a day can be spent more leisurely and marvel at the old buildings and meet the real locals.

Venice travelogue picture
The ACCADEMIA GALLERIES has a dazzling collection of unsurpassed Venetian paintings and masterpieces by Titan, Bellini and Giorgione.

SANTA MARA GLORIOSA DEI FRARI has a gothic interior with grandiose works of art behind this church’s brick facade. The masterpieces of gothic ecclesiastical architecture took over 100 years to complete. There are many wonderful treasures housed here.

RIALTO MARKET – the Mediterranean fresh produce market has enlivened the quayside since medieval times and is arguably still the best market in the world.

CAMPO SANTA MARGHERITA – a wonderful cheery picturesque square in the Dorsoduro district, bustling with life thanks to market and outdoor cafes. An added bonus is its many architectural styles.

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal is Italy’s leading museum for 20th century European and American art, and features many contemporary artists.

The Lido, Venice
The Lido, Venice
Hotels in Venice can be quite expensive, so to save money it’s probably advisable to stay outside the city, possibly on the Lido, which is about a 15-minute waterbus ride away.

After winning a competition some of my friends, stayed in the ‘classical’ Hotel Des Bains, where I’m sure Agatha Christie would have been at home. It is a lovely hotel (part of the Sheraton Group) and has been the setting for many films which gives credit to its character. The rooms were nice if not a little dated.

I stayed in the Westin Excelsior; it’s more of a modern hotel by comparison. With great facilities; it was a pleasure to wonder around the shopping arcade on the ground floor (however I couldn’t afford to buy anything). They have a restaurant on the beach front and I spent many mornings enjoying the sea breeze over breakfast.

My only concern was with the miles of cabanas; I can only imagine at the height of the summer season the beach would get quite crowded.

Venican Karoke
Venican Karoke
I could deal with Clubs in this section, but why go to Venice to stay in a dark room. Venice is about enticing the visual senses; so as my time there was short, I had to maximise my experience and seek out every nook and cranny. Here some of the tips I was given to me. So for….

Fashion and accessories – the big names in fashion are Armani, Laura Biagiotti, Missoni and Valentino, and they all have stylish shops just off the Piazza. There also a lot of people selling fake stuff as well.

Fabric – Venice has been long famed for sumptuous brocades, fine silks and velvets. Trois, Valli and the famous house of Bubelli are all recommended.

Mask and costumes – Laboratorio Artigiano Mascherre in Castello and Traficomic near Campo San Polo, you can buy cheap mass produced masks all over Venice, but a genuine ones are good souvenir and you're spoilt for choice.

This is continues in the Other Recommendation sections, or go for more information.

Sala del Ridotto - Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal
Sala del Ridotto - Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal
Venice was a city of the mind and many artists including Ruskin, Dickens, Byron, Turner , et al came to enjoy the city. One place that was popular was the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal, even Casanova frequented here.

The Hotel overlooks the Grand Canal and is the perfect location to see the Church of Santa Maria della Salute and the Island of San Giorgio.

It originally belonged to the Dandolo family and has now has been restored to its 1638 beauty. Inside, the main function room – Sala del Ridotto is truly wonderful, very baroque.

The restaurant provides wonderful typical Venetian cuisine. Even going there for coffee is a memorable occasions.

Other recommendations:
The Masquerade
The Masquerade
Mercerie Calle, runs from Piazza San Marco to Rialto; it has been the main shopping street since the middle ages and today the expensive elegance of Venice is most evident on the main thoroughfare together with the parallel Calle Dei Fabbri.

West of San Marco, the zigzagging Frezzeria is full of interesting and unusual shops. On the main route from the Piazza to the Accadernia Bridge is lined with up-market specialty stores.

The narrow streets of Venice are lined with beautiful shops that will tempt, which I found particularly hard to resist.

Glass can be bought on the island of Murano where it has been made since the 13th Century. Chances you can find a manufacturer with furnaces where you can see them blowing glass, another on of those Venetian experiences.

Published on Friday November 18th, 2005

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Tue, Aug 15 2006 - 01:03 PM rating by leillli

well what can i say,i just read it..and you cannt believe it,most of reports are boring for me,,but it is great:)

Tue, Nov 29 2005 - 10:55 AM rating by gloriajames

Hiya Amanda!
Thought i voted and left a comment but did not realise that it was not registered. So here goes ..... That's a wonderful report, deftly unique and different (even from my report!)... Well done!

Mon, Nov 28 2005 - 02:02 PM rating by britman

Brilliant again Amanda - lovely read

Mon, Nov 21 2005 - 09:57 PM rating by eirekay

Misty, GREAT Report! Love the KISS Karoke!

Sun, Nov 20 2005 - 04:30 PM rating by magsalex

Great report..again!

Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 06:27 PM rating by rangutan

I first thought "here we go, ANOTHER report on this common place again" but was then delighted to find a romantic and different approach. Very well done!

Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 11:49 AM rating by toribio


Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 11:40 AM rating by jesusferro

one of the best in Globo!

Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 09:10 AM rating by davidx

Right up to your usual form.

Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 08:56 AM rating by isaacmolina

Simply phenomenal!

Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 08:33 AM rating by horourke

Not just a five star report but also a little jem of Literature and History. Lyrically written.

Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 07:13 AM rating by alfonsovasco

Wonderful! Mervellous! Magnificent!
This report is a "OBRA DE ARTE"!
Thanks. I have already read it 4 times!

Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 12:19 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report

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