I’ve decided that one of my most favorite places in Italy is Venice. It really is a city on water: no cars, no buses, just boats and carts. Literally, everything from public transportation (water taxis and vaporettos) to ambulances and fire “boats” to all things commerce is centered around water. The concept itself was hard to grasp coming from a place where cars are a part of everyday life. Venice afforded opportunities for luxury shopping (Chanel, Louis, Hermes, Rolex, etc.) as well as souvenir shopping for classic Venetian items like masks, silk ties, etc. The food was also amazing, and we tucked into a little eatery when it began to pour and the streets flooded. Interestingly, most places had a “cover” charge to sit for tea, lunch, dinner, etc. and tipping is not as customary there as it is in the US. While we were not able to have a gondola ride, I very much enjoyed just watching them whirl their way through the tiny canals and under very old bridges. First Lady Michelle Obama was also there during our stay, but luckily took an excursion to Murano the day we were in town, as Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) had been closed the previous day for her visit.
The Bridge of Sighs, located on the Grand Canal
In Piazza San Marco, there is the most beautiful bell tower, St. Mark’s Campanile, where you can pay a few euros to take an elevator to the top. The views are exquisite, but you must get there early to beat the crowds!
Looking down on the city from the top of St. Mark’s Campanile in St. Mark’s Square
A lovely afternoon gondola ride