Venice Romantic Yet Eerily Gothic
It’s not hard to see why Venice, Italy has captured hearts for hundreds of years. It’s romantic yet eerily gothic. In equal parts noisy yet wonderfully relaxing. It has the air of an Edgar Allen Poe novel throughout yet remains almost fairytale-ish with its water walkways and doors that lead to nowhere.
However, despite all this – stepping off of the train can be somewhat of a disappointment. It is worth mentioning before I go any further, that when travelling by train in Italy, it is vital that you scan your ticket first at any of the machines situated on the platform. If you haven’t scanned your ticket before boarding the train, you will face a hefty fine. If you have managed to alight from the train without mishap, Venice will seem less than promising. Large billboards obstruct your view from most of the archaic buildings, and people and tourists throng the area amidst pushy marketers. Fortunately however, it is not take much of a walk before you are past the initial humdrum of excitement and you can begin to take in this wonderful city.
A Gondola ride will only set you back about 80 Euros and can be taken from the famous St Michaels Square. The ride lasts a substantial amount of time and takes you through all the quieter parts of the city – past homes, apartments and restaurants with some walls even teetering precariously on eroded bases. Stone lion heads dipped their noses into the water, almost appearing to be drinking, while jesters and demonic faces leer overhead. Taking photos along these canals is an absolute must.
Whilst walking around, make sure to duck into any small alleys or stone arches you come across. These will often lead to small shops that are often bypassed, and will contain any number of intricately hand carved puppets and masks. Adorned ceiling to floor, they are inevitably expensive, but fascinating to look at and admire.
Most restaurants and cafes have outside seating so there is no long wait for a scenic table and even if it rains, wooden canopies are in place to keep you dry.
Islands surrounding the central hub of Venice are places such Murano which is home to the art of glass-blowing. You can observe live demonstrations and learn about the fascinating history of those that have practiced this trade for years upon the island.
Tip whilst in Venice is to not overlook the architecture. Look up at any given point and you will encounter beautiful albeit fading wall murals painstakingly painted upon the buildings in incredible detail. In some of the smaller alleyways the buildings also appear to lean in, but claustrophobics need fear not as places like St Michaels Square offer welcome relief from the imposing streets.
Venice is fairly pricey but nothing more than what you would expect from one of the most famous cities in the world. A lot of the T-shirts sold around the stalls bear the now famous “I heart NY” slogans, with the “NY” crossed out and “Venezia” written as a replacement – and as it goes, I couldn’t agree more.