The floating city

We took a series of buses from Positano to Naples airport on Tuesday 17 September and flew across Italy to Venice in the afternoon. We stayed just outside Venice that night and were up early the following morning to visit the floating city.

Created on a series of barene (mud banks) in a lagoon, Venice is truly unique. In place of streets and cars Venice has canals, gondolas and vaporetti (water buses). We took the latter down the Grand Canal to the Rialto Bridge and marveled at the architecture of the buildings and palaces along the way.

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Facades may have faded and foundations rotted, yet the canal remains, in the words of the French ambassador in 1495, ‘the most beautiful street in the world’.

We dragged our bags from the Rialto Bridge through narrow calli (alleyways) to our exquisite FOUR STAR hotel.

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Despite using a map and phone to navigate we managed to get lost a couple of times. As we later discovered, that’s half the fun of the place!

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After checking in we travelled past Versace, Gucci and a host of other chi chi stores to arrive at tourist and pigeon filled Piazza San Marco.

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Keen to get our bearings we continued past the glittering Basilica di San Marco and the official residence of the doges (Venetian rulers) to take in Canale di San Marco and Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore.

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We ate lunch by the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs, named after the sighs of prisoners being led across it to face trial) and explored the back lanes of the Castello district in the afternoon.

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It was here that we got a glimpse of Venice’s beguiling and melancholic nature and it brought out the artist in me.

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We dressed to impress for dinner at Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso and indulged in spectacular seafood linguine, carbonara with bacon and mushrooms and tiramisu for dessert.

After dinner we had a flutter at the Casino di Venezia and Ed played the tables beautifully walking out with an extra €30 in his pocket at the end of the night.

On Thursday morning we returned to Piazza San Marco to take in the striking basilica. Sporting luminous mosaics and lavish marble work, the basilica was originally built to house the remains of St Mark.

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We walked across little wooden bridges to enter the basilica over floodwaters and took in the beautifully embellished interior from all angles.

In the afternoon we explored Dorsoduro and took a vaporetto to the home of Venetian glass, Murano. We got a behind the scenes look at production before taking in shop after shop of brightly coloured and intricate glassware.

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In the evening we returned to Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso for a bottle of prosecco and more delicious pasta.

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