The plan was to travel in the late afternoon from work, and arrive at night. There wasn’t so much to do in Venice after we got there and had dinner.
We tried to find an open bar but around midnight business doors were shut, the people closed shop, and the narrow streets of the city cleared, leaving us to ponder exactly where we should go and what we should do. Beauty sleep won by majority, so we could wake early and be out the door right away in the morning, to see the city.
From the 9th to the 12th centuries Venice developed itself into a city state. Based on the location at the head of the Adriatic, coupled with Naval and Commercial prowess, Venice became a very large iron thorn in everyone’s side, and was near impossible to defeat because of location. Eliminate all those pesky pirates and what do you get? A flourishing city of trade with Europe and the rest of the world.
Venice was on the up and up, feeling great about art, architecture, and design. Then that moment happened where she peaked and started plummeting, mostly due to politics and fights over land (Thessolanika).
Napolean Bonaparte couldn’t keep his grubby fingers out of the pot, and stole Venice’s independence on 12 May 1797. After his defeat in 1814 she bounced back and forth between Italy and Austria a couple of times, like a tether ball on a rope. Finally, when enough was enough, Italy transformed into a Kingdom and took full control of the situation (1866). Venice has remained a part of Italy ever since.
The buildings are constructed and built on closely spaced wooden piles submerged under the surface of the water. Mostly all of these wooden blocks are still standing strong, even centuries later. The wood itself is from Alder trees, coming from what we know today as Western Slovenia. The wood was chosen for it’s resistance to water.
We were off in search of St. Marco’s square and would need to take a water taxi or 2 to get there. Because the canals are the streets of the city, all business is conducted by boat. There are police boats, ambulance boats, garbage barges, UPS and postal boats, sewage and contractor boats. If you call upon a service, it’s coming your way by boat.
If you are visiting Venice for the weekend then it is best to pay for the multiple day water taxi card. One ride costs 7 euro or for 25ish euro you can take as many rides as you want on a water taxi within 48 hours.
This will also get you to a couple of islands you should check out if you have time, specifically Murano. Plus with there only being water for streets, where are people buried when they die? On the way to the island of Murano you’ll pass right by the Venitian cemetery, it has it’s own island, too.
Just pay attention to the signs. Some ferry stations have digital readouts to tell you when your next boat is coming, some ferries only run during peak hours and stop running early.
One last note is that you can get a ride to the airport via water taxi from Murano. It is a separate fee which costs 8 euro but is totally worth it.
It was easy to see exactly why Venice was one of the most influential cities of fine arts during her prime. Even today, she’s considered one of the most visited cities in Europe with an estimated 50,000 tourist per day! Wow!
For those of you who don’t know what a coperto is, that would be the table fee you are charged just to sit at a table for a restaurant. In Italy this is common, however a coperto fee is normally between 1 and 2 euro, so 7 euros per person is a crime!
Looking for someone over yonder.
Her ring is the most mesmerizing piece, aside from the head-dress.
Really lovely outfit with matching hat and fan.
A bit Aztec with the head piece don’t you think?
Lovely lighting on this lady.
Can’t get enough of these elaborate costumes, combined with the enchantment that is Venice.
It was time for a stop at Harry’s bar, a short walk along the water. We had to order a round of the award winning Bellini’s. The perfect mixture of Prosecco, sparkling wine, and peach purée or nectar, it’s the perfect refreshment to sip when you take a break during your walk of the city.
Heading back out, we were now on a mission to find our own masks and costumes for the masquerade ball we’d be attending, entitled 50 Shades of Casanova.
The fab 4.
THE MASQUERADE BALL
Masquerade balls during carnival in Venice are wicked expensive. With dinner and a night out you’ll find tickets upwards of 450+ euro. We opted to forgo the dinner all together and pay 180 euro for the after party ball. For 2016 it was called 50 Shades of Casanova.
Happy to have found a costume.
At the Air Bnb getting ready for the evening. All decked out in our gear. Not everyone bought a ticket for the ball so we got ready, went out for dinner, and then went separate ways.
Everyone was finishing up dinner as we arrived. Dressed to the 9’s and ready to party.
THE NEXT DAY
Ryan went to the top of the clock tower and took some amazing photos up there. He was even at the top when the bells started ringing right above him.
Venice from the top of the square at sunset.
We originally had an intention to get a tour of the palace, but some streets were closed and we didn’t make it in time.
This article first appeared on The Cassey Excursion.