“Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.”
Italy is one of the most iconic places for one to travel. Its diverse natural landscapes, cultural heritage, authentic Italian food and lifestyle will always be a dream like no other.
Before the world went to lock-down, I got to wander through the streets of three iconic cities, admiring the architecture, churches, visiting museums, indulging in a meal and completing it with a Gelato. Always grateful that I get to relive, reminisce and share on my blog.
Thinking of making this Italy content a Trilogy, that way I can do justice to all three cities. Part 1 of the trilogy (La trilogia) will be a feature on Venice – a masterpiece of architectural beauty.
When we landed at Marco Polo Airport, our transfer was waiting to take us to the water taxi dock. The drive to the water taxi dock was short but I could not contain my excitement being picked up in a Tesla Model X. I LOVE Tesla’s especially the Model X.
Venice, sometimes referred as ‘The City of Water’ relies on a series of waterways and canals. It’s quiet a unique experience watching the entire water taxi system work so effortlessly.
The city is situated on 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by more than 400 bridges, earning the city one of its nicknames – “The City of Bridges.”
What we did?
Venice is filled with things to do, from the standard tourist attractions, to visiting a gallery or taking a water taxi to the neighbouring islands.
Our hotel was a mere 500m from St Marks Square also called Piazza San Marco. This is the city’s main public square, the heartbeat of Venice. Its a great place to start as you can explore some famous landmarks.
1.St Marks Basilica – Basilica di San Marco
- The most famous and most recognisable of all the churches in the city of Venice. Its architecture, a mixture of Byzantine, Roman and Venetian. The exterior of the basilica is quite ornate, and one cannot help but admire its gleaming, golden byzantine mosaics.
2.St Mark’s Campanile – The bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica
- One of the most recognisable structure in Venice and sits across from the iconic St Marks Basilica.
- The bell tower is the tallest structure in the city, visitors can climb to the top and enjoy panoramic views over Venice.
- The bell tower has been restored many times due to fires caused by lightning. It collapsed in 1902 and it was decided tower had to be reconstructed exactly as it was. In 1912, it was finally inaugurated on St. Mark’s Day.
3. The bridge of sighs – Ponte dei Sospiri
- The Bridge of Sighs was built to connect the old prison in the Doges Palace with the new prison across the river. Its arched profile that suspended over the water of the Palazzo Rio, is one of the most famous scenes in Venice.
4. Rialto Bridge – Ponte Di Rialto
- The Rialto Bridge is the oldest and most famous of the four bridges straddling the Grand Canal.
5. The Grand Canal
- This monumental canal is more like a river and it passes from one side of Venice to the other meandering through the city in a zigzag way from Saint Mark’s Basilica to the Church of Santa Chiara. A ride along the Grand Canal is a must.
6. Visiting the neighbouring island
- Murano, Burano and Torcello are the three most famous islands near Venice, you can tour all three in one day or choose to explore the islands in depth.
- Murano is famous for its beautiful glass.
- Burano for its lace.
- Torcello for its cathedral.
In terms of artistic expressions and influence, Venice is one of Italy’s most important cities. Art is as essential to characterising Venice and can be experienced first-hand in any of the City’s many museums. We visited three of the museums. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum and Doge’s Palace.
“I dedicated myself to my collection. I made it my life’s work. I am not an art collector. I am a museum”
- Peggy Guggenheim was, and still is, one of the important women who left a mark on Venice. She introduced the American modern art to the European art scene supporting the careers of some of modern art’s biggest names such as Picasso, Miro and Pollock.
- The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, is one of Europe’s premier museum devoted to modern art is located in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Guggenheim’s former home on the Grand Canal.
- The museum presents Peggy Guggenheim’s personal collection, masterpieces from the Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof collection, a sculpture garden as well as temporary exhibitions.
‘The life, the works, the secrets of the greatest genius in history. In the museum you will find Leonardo’s most important inventions.’
Da Vinci was a multifaceted man and the museum is a great place to learn and explore his world. We got to learn about his paintings and anatomical drawings, and saw working replicas of his creative machines.
- The first floor of the museum contains several replicas of da Vinci’s most famous works of art with descriptions and information about their significance.
- The whole second floor (or first in European terms) is full of wooden reconstructions of da Vinci’s designs.
3. Doges’ Palace – Palazzo Ducale
- Once residence of the Doge and house of the political body of the State, the palace can be seen from the lagoon.
- Its a masterpiece of Gothic architecture combining use of the Gothic lancet arch with Byzantine and Moorish influences. It’s now the most important museum in Venice.
Where we ate?
Eating in Italy is a serious deal, food is an essential part of the countries culture with pasta and pizza generally being the stable food option. Turned out, pasta is not a staple in the region of Veneto. The most popular carbohydrates are polenta and rice. The places that stood out for me were:-
1. Conca D’oro
- Lovely Italian restaurant, famous for their Pizza and we were not disappointed. Lovely restaurant with a great atmosphere.
- For our last supper, we had dinner at the Restaurant Terrazza Danieli, which is located on the top floor of the Hotel Danieli and has magnificent views of the Lagoon. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.
Where we stayed?
Hotel Danieli dominates the Venetian lagoon with spectacular views of the Grand Canal and islands. My room had gorgeous views of the lagoon.
The hotel has great dining options – Restaurant Terrazza Danieli, the rooftop restaurant, Bar Dandolo, in the main hotel lobby and the Danieli Bistro an informal venue serving the finest Venetian cicchetti.
Venice is truly remarkable, a dream destination and was a true Splendid Experience!