Venice in winter – canals and Casanova

winter in venice
The Rialto at sunset

Winter in Venice – canals and Casanova

Venice is indeed a curious city. The whole ‘island’ is only  5km wide but absolutely nothing is in a straight line! This means you can easily find yourself walking 15 km or more as you spend your days exploring, without even realising it! Venice was made for boats and not people, and when it was first built there weren’t any bridges at all. Today you cannot escape going up and down a ponte every so often, as you confidently stride ahead, looking like you know exactly where you are going.

winter in venice
Romantic ponte

There are canals everywhere. They are the arteries of the city carrying its lagoon green blood. You haven’t seen Venice properly if you haven’t seen it from the water. Winter is a great time to come here and appreciate things in the cooler less crowded months.

Winter in Venice – the perfect time to see the city!

At this time of year it’s easy to get to see everything without too many people about and there are still days with clear blue skies and perfect sunshine. Venice can be foggy in January but this only lends a mysterious and ethereal air to this most astonishing of cities. Even in the rain it’s still lovely. Hiding under the eves of the Doges’ Palace looking out over the lagoon is not  a bad way to spend an afternoon!

winter in venice
A lovely rainy day in St Marks square!

Winter in venice – take to the water!

A ride on a gondola is generally viewed as a touristy thing to do but if you’ve got eighty euros spare, why not? The Gondoliers are the epitome of Italian cool. only men with a licence (usually passed down through the family) are allowed in charge of that iconic single oar. The Venetians are experts at this stand up way of rowing. It was developed to sail in very shallow waters and is not easy. I suppose our equivalent is punting which we have on some rivers such as the Cherwell in Oxford.

venice in winter
Italians ALWAYS wear shades

There is a great way of seeing Venice from the water on a budget. Take the vaporetto (water bus) right from the mouth of the grand canal at Giardini and for 7 euros you can travel the entire length of the canal back up to the Piazze Roma and the bus station.

The Grand Canal by vaporetto

There are lots of stops on the way but you do get to see the fronts of some of the most amazing buildings which you can not view from land. This was a wealthy grand city and it is still breathtakingly beautiful. The views are far superior to the no 38 bus from Newcastle, and you get a lot further for your money.

winter in venice
Spectacular sunset

We took the slow boat up the grand canal at sunset. Quite apart from the impressive parade of classical architecture on show you will witness the lively traffic of the grand canal. Gondolas and water taxis and private boats are zipping up and down and across the waterway at very different speeds, all managing to avoid collision.

winter in venice
Lovely set of lamps

Winter in Venice – the Casanova Museum!

Venice is full of amazing museums, but one of its newest ones is the Casanova museum. This is the first in the world to try and illustrate the life and times of this extraordinary man. An eclectic and complex character, the figure of Casanova as a writer, lawyer, clergyman and secret agent and libertine still intrigues us today.

Casanova the mystery man!

Casanova left his own written records, and thanks to these we know quit a lot about him and the historical period he lived in. The museum is to be found up a small side street,on the second floor of the grand Palazzo Pesaro Papafava overlooking the Misericordia canal, in calle de la Racheta 3764.

winter in venice
The canal at the Palazzo Pesaro

Casanova was a larger-than-life personality, who was a true opportunist. He is known to us as a tireless, irrepressible lover, but he was a lot more than that. Few know, for example, that he translated Homer’s works or that he designed the national lottery system in France!

winter in venice
The Casanova museum

This is not a great classical museum but instead gives a real flavour of time in which Casanova lived. He met rich and famous figures of his time, and seduced many beautiful women. From the eighteenth-century style of the building, to the clever multimedia displays, the Casanova museum explores the myth of this elusive man..

Casanova in virtual reality!

The highlight of the museum is the virtual reality section where you put on the VR headset and actually become Casanova yourself! You meet the people he met going about the Venice of his day, flirt with the ladies and even end up in jail! This is an excellent way to virtually experience the life of Casanova, bringing eighteenth century Venice to life.

winter in venice
I’m Casanova!

Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice on April 2, 1725, and lived to be an incredible 74 years! An outspoken free thinker, he eventually got into trouble through his liberal political views.
History portrays him as a seducer and libertine, and yes he was an adventurer, but there was a lot more to him than that!

winter in venice
Casanova Tarot cards

In the museum shop you can buy special Casanova Prossecco or Casanova tarot cards which are both acceptable souvenirs. However, I do feel there should have been a greater selection of fridge magnets. The young ladies who host you at the museum are all very friendly and attractive and it is definitely a fun thing to do in Venice!

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