Venice Top Ten
Venice has been on my mind since I started forming memories. In my head it has been the greatest mystery waiting to be discovered, and I was finally able to feast my eyes on it's labyrinthine cobbled alleys, winding canals and priceless architecture. I can't even believe that even right now, in this moment, there are people exploring the maze of mystique that is Venice, marvelling at the magic it evokes within its hidden backstreets, and that I was one of them a mere week ago.
Here is a list of top ten can't miss experiences in Venice:
1. Piazza San Marco
The iconic Piazza San Marco is the main public square of Venice, appearing in most images and postcards. Due to this very reason, it is the most crowded area in Venice and therefore the least enjoyable, unless you know when to arrive. The key to properly take in its beauty is to make the effort to arrive very early in the morning before the descent of tourists, or later in the evening/night when most of the crowds have left for their hotels back on the mainland.
Hint: The best view of Piazza San Marco can be achieved through taking the vaporetto 1.
Possibly the best worst kept secret of Venice among seasoned tourists, is the neighborhood of Dorsoduro, which holds its appeal due to the absence of hoards of tourists who are otherwise occupied visiting the famous icons of Venice. It is in these empty beautiful alleys and waterways wherein you'll find the peaceful feeling of having gone back in time.
Hint: Best time of day to explore, is at night.
3. Pointe di Rialto
This bridge is so iconic that it's main architect is now referred to as Antonio da Ponte, "Anthony of the Bridge". It's the oldest bridge on the grand canal and offers the most picturesque views of the water way.
4. Pointe dei Sospiri
I must admit, I had no idea what I'd stumbled upon when I arrived at the above viewpoint. All I remember is thinking that I'd spotted possible the most beautiful and serene street canal in all of the city. I later found out that the bridge pictured is called Ponte dei Sospiri, "The Bridge of Sighs". It is indeed one of the top frequented tourist spots in Venice.
5. Rialto Market
Surrounding the area near Ponte di Rialto, this market cannot be missed, with its crowded souvenir shops full of venetian masks, Murano glass and oscillating gondolas.
6. Buy Murano Glass
Found in nearly every tourist shop and separate store, Murano glass is an eclectic piece of art to take home with you. The best idea would be to take a tour of the colourful Murano island where this brand of glass is blown.
You can't come to Venice, rather all of Italy, without indulging in an Italian feast! There is so much to choose from! Don't miss the gelato on nearly every corner, the incredible pastries, and eat your way through the pizzas, pasta and every type of seafood you have or haven't heard of.
8. Carnivale di Venezia
Don a mask and join the fantastical festival, Carnivale di Venezia.
Pricey as a Gondola ride may be, it is most definitely a must partake experience when in Venice. Since prices cost per ride, you may fill up your gondola with up to six persons and go for a peaceful ride in the narrow water canals of Venezia.
10. Just Get Lost
It's hard not to feel like you've turned back time by several centuries when you stroll the streets of Venice. It's equally impossible not to get lost, figuratively and literally, in this labyrinth of bricks and stone. You might approach Venice with a map and a checklist of things you wish to see and do, yet it is only when you lose yourself in the hidden back alleys, the dead ends, the unknown neighbourhood churches with priceless stone steps and gothic ceilings, or the silent lamplit cobbled pathways at night, that you've really experienced the mysterious allure of the consummate magician that is Venezia.