By Teri Franklin
The city of Venice is an enchanted place—actually 118 different places. Venice is made up of 118 islands, separated by 177 canals and linked by 416 bridges. Its beauty is majestic, and I wanted to share a few moments from our day there last summer.
We arrived in Venice via water taxi. The entrance to Venice is like no other place on earth. Called the Canal Grande in Italian, or Canalasso in Venetian, the Grand Canal is the main gateway to the city. The canal leads from the Santa Lucia railway to the Santa Mark Basin, and makes a meandering-S shape through the central districts.
Pictured here, is the Rialto Bridge, one of the most iconic symbols of Venice. It was built in the 16th century and for almost 300 years was the only way to cross the Grand Canal by foot.
We began experiencing the city by wandering through the neighborhoods. We happened upon this canal, which was in the Castello district, one of Venice’s largest districts. The boats are tied up to the front doors of the dwellings.
Turning a corner, we found this quaint little bookstore. If you look closely, you can see watermarks on the bottom of the stacks. Apparently, when it floods, the books are just left where they are.
Walking down a narrow street we happened on this little shop, Merceria. Elaborate masks are an important symbol of the annual Carnevale di Venezia. It has been said that the Carnival of Venice began with the victory of the “Senrenissima Repubblica” in 1162. To honor this victory, Venetians started to dance and gather in Piazza San Marco. It became an official festival in which people freely indulged in pleasure disguised under elaborate masks and costumes during the Renaissance period.
As it neared lunchtime, the Campo de la Pescaria beckoned. Originally only a fish market, it now offers all kinds of produce in addition to fish. It is truly a Venetian experience, a place where locals shop for groceries.
In the afternoon we visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which showcases the modern art she acquired between 1938 and 1946. She collected art throughout her life, and the museum is housed in her former residence, an 18th century palace called Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. She began displaying her collection periodically in 1951. After her death, the the collection was opened to the public year-round.
For dinner we wanted to find a quiet, local restaurant with seasonal food. We found exactly what we were looking for at Trattoria San Toma. We sat on the outdoor terrace and enoyed listening to the mixture of English, Italian and French float through the air. We were entertained by a street troubador, who went from place to place in search of appreciative listeners.
After dinner we strolled back through the city in search of gelato. Thankfully we found La Boutique del Gelato which featured delicious gelato along with scenic views of the Grand Canal.