Venice has many other names, including the floating city and the city of bridges. When I was on holiday in Venice last year I could totally understand these nicknames for Venice. The waterways flow up and down lots of small streets, so one of the best ways to explore and get around is naturally with a boat. Another island in the Venetian lagoon is Murano, which is known for glass-making. This came as a pleasant surprise, because upon arrival I initially didn’t realize what an extensive history and culture Venice has, in the glass industry and elsewhere.
Things to do in Venice
Murano Glass Island
I arrived at Murano glass Island from Venice via water taxi, which was a little bit more expensive than a bus-boat type service which operates around Venice. On arrival, I walked down the high street which is interwoven with bridges and glass shops at each side of the street. From what I could understand by talking to some glass shop owners, the glass is made through a different process known as lampworking. Glass creation has been the main export and trade of Murano and Venice for many years.
St. Marks Campanile
The Campanile is the famous bell tower in Piazza San Marco, and because it’s 98 meters tall, it gives you a fantastic panoramic view over Venice. I paid around 6 euros to be able to go up the tower, and it is usually open during the daytime, however it is open later in the summer months. It certainly is worth the entry fee, but I strongly advise taking a camera up the tower as well.
The Doge’s Palace
The Palace is located opposite St Mark’s Campanile and was the residence of the former supreme authority of the Venetian republic. It is now a museum and the entry is around 15 euros. As part of the museum, there are some prison cells which you can visit. In fact, in order to access these, you have to cross one of the most famous bridges in Venice, known as the bridge of sighs. The Bridge’s original use was to lead prisoners from their cells to a questioning room in the Doge’s Palace. The Bridge can also be seen if you decide to take a Gondola tour around Venice, but it really depends if you want to explore the Doge’s palace from the outside, or the inside.
Have you ever drank a Ballini or a Carpaccio? Well Harry’s bar make the best one’s I’ve ever drank. It’s probably because that this bar was the first bar to mix these cocktails, and people do say sometimes that there is nothing better than the original. Harry’s bar is just west of the Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace. I stopped here for a lunchtime refreshment and also had a meal, it is more expensive than some places in Venice, however the bar does have its history and a splendid location.
Getting around in Venice
One of the most popular things to do in Venice is the exploration of the canals and waterway system. One way of doing this is the ‘long stick and boat’ way. This is known as a Gondola (not as in the type of Gondola you will find in Alpine resorts). This type of transport is depicted in many movies set in Venice, usually of the romantic kind.
The other ways of getting around Venice are the water taxis, the bus boat and by obviously by foot. The bus boat is the cheapest way around Venice on the water, and it is also a budget way of taking a river tour, instead of paying extortionate prices for an officiated river tour. Crossing the Grand Canal which goes through the center of Venice can also be difficult sometimes, when there are no bridges nearby. In place of the bridges, there are the Traghetti boats, which literally ferry people from one side of the canal to the other, and these are also reasonably priced.