Venice in winter
Winter is a great time to visit Venice. Its majestic colourful buildings, narrow alleyways, canals and gondolas are all still there, but there are a lot less people. Souvenirs can be had at 50% of the high season price (I love a souvenir) and the city feels more like a place to explore, rather than a tourist trap. Be prepared for lots of walking, and remember to build in time for getting lost, as the city streets are quite a labyrinth. You can’t rely on google maps either, I saw lots of folk going in the wrong direction even while staring at their phones. It takes a while for the app to catch up with sudden changes of direction, and so you can end up going in circles!
Venice in winter – a watery world.
Venice is not an island itself, but is created of 124 smaller marshy islands which have gradually expanded and become knitted together. These islands are set in a large fresh water lagoon, joined by bridges of stone and wood. The canals are Venice’s roads and everyone uses the water taxis or their own boats to get about.
The Venetian gondola is the iconic symbol of the city. The gondolas are shallow flat bottomed boats steered by one standing gondolier. They used to be the main form of transport for Venetians, but now they are mainly used by tourists. Their fame is forever linked to a certain ice cream. I saw a a group of Japanese tourists singing ‘just one cornetto!’ while watching a gondola slide beneath the bridge. The gondolier looked unimpressed. There are 433 licensed Gondoliers in Venice, all men. An ancient trade, the job of a gondolier is usually passed down through families. Historically, Gondoliers have always had quite high social standing.
The water in the lagoon is such a pretty green colour. This is actually due to the algae that live in the water, and this algae is also the cause of a bit of a stink in hot weather. There is a University here too, and I did wonder if drunken students keep on plopping into the many canals after too many Proseccos. In the UK a riverside University is always a health and safety issue.
Venice in winter – a city ancient and modern
This ancient city is a unique place. It has so much history and so many beautiful buildings to marvel at. The Leonardo da Vinci Museum is here and I certainly intend to return to it for a good look around. There’s also a new Casanova museum which might be worth a visit too.
Being an avid thespian, I popped into the beautiful Teatro building to see what was on. Would the Krankies have made it here in pantomime? It turned out that it wasn’t a theatre anymore but a supermarket! The ceiling was painted in the most beautiful Frescos and fringed with ornate decoration. I wouldn’t mind food shopping so much if the environment was so beautiful.You don’t get that in Lidl.
Venice in winter – how to get there
I am here working on a three month project with Vivoventia, a travel agency for the Veneto region. The wonders of Venice are a worldwide attraction, but there is lots more to see and explore in the wider Veneto region. Vivoventia are keen to promote all this area has to offer through their brand new website which will be up and running soon. Certainly it is easy and cheap enough to get here from the UK, either on Ryanair to Treviso airport or with Easyjet who fly to the nearer Marco Polo airport. The airport shuttle buses are super efficient and the journey into town is less than an hour from Treviso and only about 20 minutes from Marco Polo.
I’m staying in a lovely little Air BnB flat in Mestre which is clean, warm and very tastefully decorated with a brand new kitchen and bathroom. The location is excellent. The flat is next to restaurants, supermarkets and the bus stop directly into the main Piazalle Roma in Venice. The bus costs just 1.5 euros and it’s less than a ten minute journey. Andrea owns this Air BnB and he is a great host, and very helpful if you need to ask anything. Check it out how to book it here!
I am looking forward to my Venetian adventure, even if it is colder here than Newcastle at the moment! Why not subscribe to my blog to make sure you don’t miss the next installment!