Venice was the first stop on our Mediterranean cruise. When we arrived, we went straight from the airport to the ship to check in (which took hours), and we had to fill out a form with very personal questions (about constipation, etc.). Then we grabbed some drinks on the boat, then headed into the city. We did pretty much what you’d expect for our first time in Italy–we ate! We found a cute cafe right on the Grand Canal with a view of the Rialto Bridge and ate authentic Italian pasta.
We walked around the city, winding our way through alleys and over bridges–stopping for gelato, of course. We took a gondola tour through the city as well, and saw beautiful palaces (most of which are now government buildings or banks) and famous landmarks (ahem–Marco Polo’s house! Our gondolier even started calling out “Marco…Polo!”). Getting into the gondola was very unsteady, and we had to arrange ourselves around the boat so we wouldn’t tip. Many of the bridges were very low and the gondolier had to duck under–but that never stopped him from singing! (Or from yelling at the other gondoliers in Italian).
Unfortunately we had to be back on the boat early in the evening, so we didn’t get much time in Venice. But we got a little “sampler” and I know I’ll be going back one day!
A little history: Venice is comprised of 117 islands and 150 canals–complete with more than 400 bridges to cross them. The city began as a place of refuge from 5th century barbarian invasions, but eventually developed into a powerful city-state in Italy.
Fun facts: St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) floods more than 35 times per year–4 times the 1970 rate. Also, there are fewer than 20 licensed plumbers in the city of Venice!