Venice – Off the Beaten Path
Venice is known for its canals and romantic gondola rides. It is a destination on everyone’s wish list with its artistic jewels and monumental architecture. There are many highlights that every traveler in Venice cannot overlook. San Marco Piazza is the largest and most important public square originally built in the ninth century. The Basilica di San Marco, also known as the Golden Basilica, for its golden mosaics is within the Piazza and adjacent to the Doges Palace (“Palazzo Ducale”). The Doges Palace is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The interior comprises vast council chambers, delicately-decorated residential apartments with works by artists such as Titian and Veronese.
Venice is surrounded by islands rich in history and trade. It’s most famous islands are Murano, Burano and Torcello. Murano, is world renowned for its art of glass making since the 1200s. Burano is a fisherman island known for the women who work an antique technique of lace making by hand. Torcello is the first island to be inhabited in the lagoon and where Ernest Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms at the Locanda Cipriani. The Jewish ghetto was a locked camp during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries where Jews were restricted to living. Today it a neighborhood with synagogues and kosher restaurants which maintain its historical importance and represent the contributions of the Jewish people this time.
Traveling Gals Tip: Experience Venice means traveling by canal and lots of walking! Embrace the walking!
Once you visit the major places of interest is time to get off the beaten path! Venice is made up of six districts called sestiere. Cannaregio in the northern sestiere of Venice is the neighborhood of artists. From the Ca’ Labia decorated with frescoes by Tiepolo, now the headquarters of the Italian State Television to the Venetian Gothic church of Madonna dell’Orto with works by Tintoretto and Cima da Conegliano, this beautiful neighborhood overlooks the Grand Canal and is easily accessed from the St. Lucia dock. The Dorsoduro sestiere which dates back to the sixth century is lively with shops, galleries, cafes and the street life of an area where Venetians actually live. The La Salute Church’s dome marks the entrance to the Grand Canal near the Giudecca Canal frequented by Venetians on warm evenings. Castello is the largest Venetian sestiere and home to the former Arsenale. Though no longer functional the exterior architecture and history of the building itself remains essential for understanding the power of the Venetian Republic. The quiet side of the Castello is along the via Garibaldi which is Napoleon’s legacy of urban planning. The Giardini Pubblici is perhaps the only place in Venice for those who are yearning for a bit of greenery located near the San Pietro di Castello which was the official basilica of Venice until 1807, when the honor was transferred to San Marco. This is just a start to the endless trove of artistic and historic treasures to be found in Venice.
Have you traveled to Venice or anywhere else in Italy? Let us know in the comments!