Venice! No more comments needed. Right? We went there last year on the weekend of “Tag der Deutschen Einheit” and were super lucky with the weather. It was sunny and warm. Unfortunately I was running a fever. But whatever.
Day 1: Arrival in Venice with beautiful weather.
After crossing from the airport to the city center with the AliLaguna boat we dropped our stuff in the hotel. Since we did a weekend trip only, we had decided to not be stingy and chose this one, Hotel Saturnia: http://www.hotelsaturnia.it/ I have to say though, that the hotel had kind of an old charm, as if someone inside forgot that the world kept spinning outside.
Afterwards we did our first tour on the Canal Grande with the vaporetto (ACTV http://www.actv.it/), the public transport “water bus”. On line 2. Sitting in the back of the boat you have a fantastic view.
Later we were having some ice cream close to the Rialto bridge before I tried to get rid of my cold by sleeping early.
Zaccaria (where we arrived):
Ponte di Rialto:
Day 2: Classic Venice.
Of course no miracle happened and the fever was not gone the next day. Luckily there was a pharmacy directly next to the hotel where I bought some ibuprofen.
We started our second day rather late with a visit of the Piazza San Marco. That was also the reason we didn´t visit the cathedral itself, because by the time we arrived the line in front of it was endless. Instead we did a “city walk” recommended in our travel guide (I really love those National Geographic city guides).
Following the Marcus square we visited the Teatro La Fenice, the old opera house in the city center of Venice. Its name means “phoenix” and was given to the opera because it was rebuilt after the old opera house burnt down. La Fenice hosted some of the premieres of operas composed by Verdi and is a quite venerable place.
Leaving in the direction of the Galeria dell´ Accademia we crossed the Campo Santo Stefano. I didn´t take any pictures from inside the gallery. It contains mostly religious paintings from the middle ages (gothic period, which has never been one of my favorites). To finish the day we did another round trip with the Vaporetto, taking line 51/52 this time.
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II:
Teatro la Fenice:
Day 3: Around Venice.
On day 3 we decided to visit some of the adjacent islands and started with Murano, followed by Burano and Torcello.
I think there´s only few places in the world that are the exact likeness of the postcards depicting them. Murano is definitely one. Because I´m not into buying glassware (immediately seeing myself how I have to free them from dust) we basically just walked around, enjoyed the sun and moved on to Burano. That might sound a little boring but is something that one should do a lot more often in my opinion.
Burano is probably the most colorful of all Italian islands. It looks like an expressionist poured his color palette over the houses. Torcello on the other hand is rather empty with an old monastery as its main attraction. But instead of paying the entrance we spent our money on ice cream. It was anyway the day of delicious food, that we finalized with a dinner at Taverna al Rermer (http://www.alremer.it/) were we had a classic 3 course menu. We shared the menu for one person, otherwise we probably would have been bursting. The restaurant itself I can recommend without any compromises. I had the so far best pulpo of my life.
Day 4: The other side of Venice´ history
On our last day before heading home, we visited “Il Gheto” in Cannaregio.
In my opinion one of the most interesting parts of Venice. It is that ghetto that lateron gave the name for all others, although Venice had rather not strict rules for its jewish population compared to the rest of medieval Europe. The isolation of the neighborhood was terminated under Napoleon. The cruelty that happened to the population at the beginning of the last century is well known and I think I don´t need to repeat this here. There are two parts of the ghetto. The Gheto novo and the Gheto vecchio, with the novo being the old one – human logic.
I liked the district a lot, not only because it was not that overcrowded but also because we had a nice guided tour to visit some of the existing five synagoges. Two of them are still operated nowadays (alternating). Usually you can only visit two, one that is inside a museum nowadays and the one of the two used ones that is not actively used at the moment of the visit. I don´t really remember why we were so lucky to see three, but we were.
On our way back to the hotel (to pick up our luggage) we stopped at the church San Giorgio Maggiore, which is pretty well described as being a giant (and very impressive) cupola. A very nice final stop for our short holidays.
San Giorgio Maggiore:
PS: Seems like Ray Charles liked the hotel we stayed in as well…