Italy by train part 1 – Venice

Approaching the end of sixth form, my friends and I decided to have one final trip together before we all went our separate ways. A few weeks of deliberation led to flying to Italy in September 2016.

After a dramatic run through Bristol Airport having lost my phone (I have some tips for that in a future post!) we arrived in Venice

We rented rooms at a campsite 10 minutes inland for just €12.50 each a night, bargain!

Day 1 - Walking Tour

On our first day we decided to go for a walking tour to learn more about the city and get our bearings. We went with Venice free walking tour, our guide was amazing and very funny. The tour included the Ponte Delle Tette - The bridge of tits. Courtesans were paid to stand on the bridge topless to 'convert' homosexual sailors.
We also saw the houses of Marco Polo, and Casanova, heard a lot about the history of the city and how it was built.

Day 2 - Visiting the Islands

On the second day we used the local vaporetti to travel to some of the islands around Venice: Murano, Burano, Torcello and Lido

Each is known for different thing- Murano for its handblown glass, Burano for delicate lace, Torcello as the birthplace of Venice, and Lido for the film festival. We bought a day ticket for the vaporetto for €20 each, or you can get single trip tickets for €6.50.

We started with Murano where my friends went to a glass blowing demonstration. We all bought small glass figurines without really planning how we were going to get them across Italy and back home. The shop fronts are beautiful but prefer you not to take pictures since people claim their glasswork as their own.

Next up was Burano, a truly beautiful island of multicoloured houses and handcrafted lace. We walked around the island and had a picnic in the park under some trees to shelter us from the September sun.

Torcello was our next stop, we hadn't heard very much about it other than that it was the first island populated on the lagoon in 452 and led to Venice being founded. It's a small island with a very low permanent population. We went to visit the cathedral and church of Santa Fosca, a pink circular church.

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Finally, we went to Lido, a long sand bank between the Adriatic Sea and the Venice Lagoon. Here we walked along the beach and swam in the sea. It was good to cool off after a long day of walking in the sun. We visited with the film festival starting just a few days later so parts of the island were closed off for preparations.

 

Day 3 - Piazza San Marco and the Doge's Palace

On our final day in Venice, we decided we should see their most famous tourist sights, St Marks Basilica and the Doge's Palace. I can see why they're so popular, even with the crowds the basilica was stunning. We had read a little of the history of the palace.

Both the palace and basilica are ornately decorated inside with gold gilded ceilings and hundreds of paintings.

When we arrived it was quite quiet and we were able to get student tickets for €13 including entrance to the Venetian Regal Palace where we could see the rooms of Empress Sissi of Austria when she lived there in 1862.

The Doge's Palace is connected to the Venetian prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. They say it was named because prisoners would be sentenced in the halls of the palace and walked across the bridge where they'd be able to get their last glimpse of Venice before beginning their life imprisonment in horrific conditions.

 

The next morning we left on the two hour train trip to beautiful Florence, carrying our glass purchases carefully all the way.

You'll be able to read about Florence in a few days so check back soon!

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