Imagine a cluster of over 100 islands, connected by bridges and surrounded by canals and rios. A place with no streets, no cars and over 400 bridges; where daily life happens on the water. This is Venice, a city like no other.
There are in fact only 3 “canals” within Venice proper – the Cannaregio, Giudecca and Grand Canal. The others are all “rios”, whether they are natural or artificial, and the smaller ones are referred to as “riello”.
You can’t walk far without seeing a shop with colourful Venetian Masks, in all shapes and sizes.
Outdoor life is a big part of Venice; eating and drinking are best done outside.
The reflections of the lights on the rios at night are beautiful.
Early in the morning, just around sunrise, the rios and canals are still quiet. Most of the tourists are still sleeping and the Venetians are making their way to work for the day.
Making deliveries in the early morning…
Many people feel Venice is dirty, it’s not, it’s just old. They take great pride in keeping it clean and you see this early in the morning.
Venetian streets & lanes are calli (plural of calle) with their names colourfully displayed on the sides of buildings.
Everywhere you look in Venice, there are interesting windows adorned with beautiful flowers.
Before the boat traffic starts, the water is quiet and calm which makes for some nice reflections.
In Venice, everything moves by boat or by hand cart; even restaurant supplies.
Gelato anyone? So good…
There are markets everywhere, some selling to the tourists…
And some catering to the locals…
What was once an entry from the canal now closed off; this is a common sight in Venice.
Once used as a mode of transportation for wealthy Venetians, the gondola is now mainly used by tourists for “tours” of the waterways and is an iconic symbol of Venice. The six “teeth” on the front of the gondola represent the six sestieri (neighbourhoods) of Venice.
The gondola in the forefront below also has 3 friezes between the 6 teeth – these represent the 3 largest islands of Venice – Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Who can resist a chocolate shop that has rotating drums of chocolate in the window?
The boat in the front in the next picture is, in fact, not a gondola. Notice how the front and back lack the upturned point? The gondolier also stands in the boat, not on the back of it. This is a sandolo. The sandoli (plural) are also flat bottomed boats suitable for the canals, but they are smaller and lighter than a gondola and were traditionally used recreationally and for racing.
You can pay a lot of money for a gondola ride or a beautiful water taxi and see Venice from the water, or you can buy a Vaporetto ticket or pass and “ride the bus”. The next several photos were all taken from the Vaporetto; from the Rialto Bridge along the Grand Canal, past Piazza San Marco to Lido and back from Lido along the “top” of Venice.
The Rialto Bridge is an interesting structure – it’s open on either side while the covered portion houses shops with a walkway up the middle.
Vino rosso or bianco anyone?
The Ponte dell’Accademia (Accademia Bridge) is one of 4 bridges that cross the Grand Canal and is unusual for Venice as it’s made of wood. The original bridge was iron, but was replaced in 1932-33 with a wooden one. The current bridge was built in 1986, but to the same plans as it’s predecessor.
The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute sits at the intersection of the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice, and across from St. Mark’s square.
Because of the location of Venice, it was heavily influenced by the Byzantines and Moors. The Doges Palace, the former residence of the leader of the Venetian Empire and a museum since 1923, is one of many Venetian buildings in which this influence is quite apparent.
Passing by the back of the ospedale (hospital) and the emergency entrance
Ponte Tre Archi (3 arch bridge) crosses the Cannaregio Canal and is the only 3 arch bridge remaining in Venice.
Ponte delle Guglie (Bridge of Spires) is the other bridge crossing the Cannaregio Canal. It’s the only bridge in Venice with spires and the arch of the bridge is adorned with Gargoyles.
Expensive cafes with beautiful flowers line the Grand Canal, Venice’s main thoroughfare.