Tuesday, August 1, 2017

282. Lost in Venice ...

My main reason for coming to Venice was to attend the Biennale Arte Exposition - and the second reason was to see the Damien Hirst exhibition ( my next blog ... ).
So with only a week here, it was go go go ...  

Venice is made up of a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals ( streets ) and linked by 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. The city is linked by a road and railway line to the mainland – which is where I stayed – just 30 minutes away.

Running through the centre of the city for 4 kms from the bus/train station to Saint Marks Square is the Grand Canal - the main water-highway for almost everything that happens in Venice ... 
thank you Google for this aerial shot ...


I did have a couple of days spent cruising around the city ... now it is a fact that Venice is a city to get lost in - and in spite of having a map app on my smart phone, a compass in one pocket, a paper map in another pocket, a sextant in my shirt pocket and a packet of bread crumbs and a ball of string - this seasoned wanderer, who likes getting off the beaten track, still got lost several times throughout the day ... and here are a few of magical sights that I enjoyed while getting lost - starting with a 'waterbus' trip up the Grand Canal ...


Venice is an important tourist destination and the city council estimates that up to 60,000 tourists per day (2017 estimate) crowd into the city. This creates terrible overcrowding in the popular parts and environmental problems in its canal ecosystem. UNESCO is even considering the addition of Venice to its "In-Danger" list and is undertaking research as to how the city can reduce the number of visitors that are causing irreversible changes. One such way is to limit the number of huge cruise ships coming into the Lagoon – one day I counted five such monsters. Reading these reports and knowing that many of the older locals are being priced out of living in the city, almost makes one feel a tad guilty about adding to the dilemma ...






 
 
 
 
... dozens of side streets opening off the Canal ...



Rialto Bridge 

Gliding past wonderful architecture - some crumbling, some restored - palaces, hotels and museums ... and then we arrive at the famous and "slightly crowded" Saint Marks Square ...


  Piazza San Marco
with Saint Mark's Basilica and St Mark's Campanile
plus people and pidgeons ...


 ... and interestingly, the very up-market and very expensive cafes with their waiters in starched white livery and with their combos playing Viennese waltzes, are pretty much bare at lunchtime - maybe a sign of the types of not-so-well-heeled-tourists ( like me ... ) who are flooding the streets of Venice ...
  
 ... and getting away from all that as fast as my legs will carry me, I head off into the almost deserted back lanes and alleyways in search of quieter scenery ...

 
 Bridge of Sighs
connecting the Doges Palace and courts with the prison -
and the last chance for many prisoners of seeing the Lagoon ...

... not for me ...



Venice is not all about canals and bridges - 
there are some lovely green spaces on the island as well ...






 ... a quick Ave Maria on the way ... it is Italy after all ...


   



 



 
 

 


       
 
 



 



 


   


 


Tourism has been a major sector of Venetian industry since the 18th century, when it was a major center for the Grand Tour, with its beautiful cityscape, uniqueness, and rich musical and artistic cultural heritage. However, the need to balance tourism revenues with the protection of the city's fragile canals is an on-going dilemma for the Italian Government.


... so I'll let two of the locals have the last word ...



... but now it's time to pack my bags and head out to the airport ...

... and OK Big Boy take me away - I'm all yours ...


stay tuned ...