Venice in 2 Days

Last Updated: Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 16:32

Avril-Ann Braganza

While two days may not seem to be much time, it`s just enough to enjoy the breathtaking sights of Venice

Stepping out of the Venezia Santa Lucia railway station, the first thing you see is the amazing Grand Canal–boats docked and people gazing at the peaceful water. ‘The Floating City’ is beyond imagination. A known fact, there are no vehicles in the old city of Venice, but walking around without dodging cars and buses is luxury like you’ve never known. Water taxis, vaporetti (the public ‘bus’ ferries), ambulance speedboats, police boats, garbage scows... waterways are the lifeline of the city.

We walk through the narrow lanes of Venice, whose cobbled walkways, endless canals and bridges at every corner have a fairytale charm. Sailor hats, striped T-shirts worn by gondoliers, Venice bags and masquerade masks, characteristic of the city, are up for sale. Fridge magnet masks, which are more practical to carry home than the full-sized Venetian masks, make excellent souvenirs for friends and family.

With a pizza roll from one the many take-away kiosks, I make myself comfortable on the banks of a canal. Boats sail past, each at their own pace. A cool breeze plays through my hair. This could easily be a scene in a movie. I wonder if the passers-by see it that way.

The next day, more tranquillity awaits us on the quaint islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Murano is known worldwide for its glass, made using the lampworking technique. There’s magic in the workshop as glass maestros bring miniature towns to life. There are vases of all sizes and shapes, abstract glass sculptures, animals, tea sets, chandeliers, pendants, bottle stoppers, lamps and more in myriad colours. The darker the colour, the more expensive the artwork.

The island of Burano, in the northern part of the Venetian Lagoon, is different from Murano. The historic centre’s uniqueness lies in its homes, each brightly painted in a different colour–green, blue, lavender, orange, yellow, pink...Docked at the harbour are colourful boats that match the houses. Like fishing, lacemaking is also a traditional occupation in Burano. Although lace is now made with machines, older women still diligently sew beautiful lace patterns.

Once the largest and most important settlement of Venice, Torcello is now almost abandoned, except for me and a few other curious tourists. Only the Cathedral with its magnificent mosaic and the Church of Santa Fosca bear testimony to its former glory. It’s so quiet, you can almost hear your self breathe. The all-pervasive peacefulness makes 30 minutes in Torcello seem almost surreal.

Back in the touristy parts of the city, we visit St. Mark’s Square, one of the largest in the city and the only one called ‘Piazza’. We laze in the Square, warming ourselves in the afternoon sun as we admire the breathtaking architecture of St. Mark’s Basilica, gorge on delicious gelato and observe travellers hustle and bustle past.

We save the best for last. A gondola ride through quaint canals offers glimpses of cobbled streets, souvenir shops selling masks, petite bridges, friends enjoying coffee by the waterfront, magnificent architecture... Other gondolas pass us by, as our holiday to Venice ends on a perfect note.

USEFUL TIPS

Getting around Italy is easy if train tickets for intercity journeys are booked in advance.

To avoid long queues outside the tourist information counter in Venice, go to the small shop close by that sells maps and other curios

At the factory store in Murano, you can buy glass for almost half the price they quote

Don’t carry backpacks or big bags to the Basilica at St. Mark’s Square, they aren’t allowed inside.



First Published: Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 16:32
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