With over 40 heritage sites, Italy is a country recognized for its cultural richness. We live in a city very close to Venice called Treviso. Being only 30 minutes away by train, we have had various opportunities to travel and explore the prominent city during our childhood. Venice floats at the top among the most visited cities worldwide, in the same way that she hovers over water. Her many sites have invited million of tourists to spend days wondering in awe through the canals. In fact, especially during the summer, we have been often trapped by excessively large crowds when navigating the small pedestrian roads.
Many refer to Venice as the City of Love. In fact, we have often seen visitors riding on romantic gondolas along the Grand Canal. Throughout the tour, the passengers can admire Venice from the water, especially the Impressive bridges that connect the individual islands rise over their heads as they pass by. Some of the most famous ones are the Rialto Bridge, Ponte Degli Scalzi, Ponte dell’Accademia and Ponte dei Sospiri. A local legend says that if two lovers kiss at sunset under the Ponte dei Sospiri on a gondola as the bells of St. Mark’s Campanile ring they will receive eternal love. Interstingly, the name of the bridge: Ponte dei Sospiri or the Bridge of Sighs, was given in the 19th century because the view of Venice from the bridge was the last sight that convicts would ever see as they walked towards the Doge’s Palace, which was once a prison. Right next to this bridge there is Piazza San Marco, which is the central square where the main shops and restaurants are located. At its eastern side the imposing church of San Marco stands as the centerpiece of the square, forming a rectangle with the Doge’s Palace, the Campanile of San Marco, St. Theodore column and another one with the winged lion, symbol of San Marco and Venice.
Venice is also known for its many fascinating festivals. One of the most famous festivals in Venice is the Carnival. During this period kids, women and men wear traditional masks and costumes all day. The most original and fascinating are displayed in Piazza San Marco. The act of wearing masks started as an act of defiance after the victory against Aquileia, an ancient Roman city in Central Italy. Some common types of masks are the “Bauta” which covers the whole face but has a chin-like beak to allow the wearer to talk, eat and drink. “Dottore Peste” or “Medico della Peste” is another strange-looking mask that would translate to “Doctor of the Plague”. Venice suffered from numerous plagues in its history; consequently, the name and shape of the masks referred back to the doctors that used to treat patients having this plague.
By adopting a birds eye view, we would notice many little scattered islands joined by thousands of bridges. This amalgam of separate islands come together to form a fish-like form with many small rivers circulating along its surface and a main river, consequently called the Gran Canal, separating the city into two. By riding exclusive water taxis or buses (vaporetto) people can land on Burano, Murano, Torcello as well as many other smaller islands. The three surrounding archipelagoes mentioned above are extremely unique and renowned by the visitors. Murano is known for its distinctive glass-making tradition while Burano is famous for its brightly colored houses and adept lacework. Torcello, on the other hand, used to host the largest population in the Republic of Venice, but the Cattedrale Di Santa Maria Assunta is one of the only relics reminding tourists of the once prominent civilisation that inhabited the island.
The exclusive characteristics of Venice have attracted many celebrities like Nicolas Cage, Charlie Chaplin, George Clooney and Michael Schumacher to relocate in one of the ravishing house surrounded by water and where cars don’t exist. The rise in popularity of Venice is also accompanies by sharp increases of prices in the housing market. Prices have raised dramatically in the past years, averaging in the millions. In fact, we have seen increasing amounts of people departing from this city to live in the mainland. Despite this fact, Venice is still considered a paradise for tourists and locals alike and continues to attract millions with its everlasting beauty.