Archive for the ‘rialto’ Tag

Venice – Dorsoduro and final wanderings   14 comments

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On our last day we made a plan to head for one of the districts we hadn’t been to, the Dorsoduro on the SW side of the city.

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The plan was to walk a different way to Piazza San Marco, take a boat along the Grand Canal to the Station and then wander into Dorsoduro from there and grab some lunch

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We found some new streets, churches and canals

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And some old favourites like the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

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We tried hard, really hard to come out on the waterfront down from Piazza San Marco. Despite best efforts (and some new and lovely vistas) we failed

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We turned a corner crossed a bridge and there was the Bridge of Sighs and we entered the Piazza from the direction we always did

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Our old friends the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

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And the Palazzo Ducale and Campanile Bell Tower

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The boat ride along the Grand Canal (in the previous post) was great but too crowded so we hopped off at the Rialto and walked from there. The first few hundred yards were rammed with people as its on the main drag to the station. As always one turn away from that street and we were in uncrowded piazzas and pretty streets

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The walking was as wonderful as ever

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We came out on the Fondamenta Rezzonico and the Campo San Barnaba. It was wonderful. Quiet but with an air of a more “real” neighbourhood. When I was looking for an apartment I found one overlooking this canal. The area is a bit less handy for getting about and the apartment didn’t have a balcony but I could happily have stayed here

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Time for another excellent pasta lunch (I think it was the Dallo Zio). I decided to try the local drink an Aperol Spritz (Prosecco, Campari and sparkling water – very nice)

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The restaurant is on the Campo Santo Margherita, busy with students in term time but wonderfully quiet in summer

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A view back towards the Campo San Barnaba and its church

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The area narrows to a point between the Grand Canal and the southern waterfront the Fondamente Zaterre. It’s a fabulous stroll. A broad walkway facing across the water to the island of Guidecca, backed by villas, restaurants and churches. It was my favourite walk in Venice

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Lots of side canals leading back into the heart of Dorsoduro

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Fine views across the lagoon to Guidecca and the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore

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As the headland narrows you can glimpse the Grand Canal on the other side

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The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute sits at the end. On our way through we passed a group of buskers. I say buskers but they were playing classical string music and they were note perfect, just superb. We sat for for a few minutes on the steps listening to them play. It was wonderful

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There was a gallery with a display of David Hockney sculptures right on the tip of the promontory. This sculpture was outside but I’m not sure if its one of his. It was rather good if a little weird

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We needed a rest and sat down on the banks of the canal and paddled our feet in the water. When I first visited Venice as a teenager one of the abiding memories was the smell and rather unhealthy look of the water (and the pigeons that were everywhere). There is no way I would have put my feet in the water. They must have made some strenuous efforts because even in the height of summer there was no smell and the water looked clean and healthy barring an inevitable few items of rubbish. It felt totally natural to have a paddle. We sat here for a few minutes enjoying the shade and the cool water while looking across the canal to the Piazza San Marco. The hour we spent walking along the water front, listening to music and sitting by the water were one of my favourite memories not only of Venice but of the whole holiday

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It was a pretty damn fine day, finished off with another evening stroll around San Marco and out to the Pont dell’Accademia and Rialto Bridges for a last long lingering look at this amazing city

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One last meal on the terrace and the next morning we had to pack and head of for our next city. We had a few hours to kill the next morning before our train. We chilled out in a shady square before heading to the station

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A couple of photos from the Ponte degli Scalzi outside the station

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The train station itself

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And a last lingering look at the Chiesa di San Simeone Piccolo from the station steps before we bid our farewell

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I changed my mind about which was my favourite city all throughout the trip and again now I’m writing up the blog posts. In revisiting Venice and especially this last post I’m starting to think again that there is just something extra special here. No doubt I’ll change my opinion again but for now at least its back at the top of the charts

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Venice – The Grand Canal   22 comments

The main water artery through the city and we hadn’t seen it other than a brief view from the Rialto and Accademia bridges and outside the train station in the rain. After our beach day we headed back out for an evening meal via Piazza San Marco and a Vaporetto ride along the Grand Canal. The museum of the Punta della Dogana that marks the start of the Grand Canal.

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Setting sun over the houses and palazzos

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And the now familiar Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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Seen here from under the Ponte dell’Accademia

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An interesting sculpture called – actually I have no idea! There were lots of sculptures lining the canal

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It was late in the evening and the light was a little dim for decent photography. Some nice sunset skies though

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One of the many palazzos along the canal

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And the classic view of the Rialto bridge

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Day fades into night

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We hopped off just beyond the Rialto as it was getting pretty dark. I liked these hands!

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Last lingering sunset shots before we headed off for another fine Italian meal. They do pasta really well in Italy (unsurprisingly!) I learned that the pasta should be the star and not the sauce necessarily. Every pasta meal just had enough sauce to coat the pasta rather piled on. Every pasta was cooked to perfection and delicious. I think the meal tonight was at the Al Vecio Bragosso Osteria but I can’t be sure

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After the meal we took in our nightly gluttony of gelato from Grom and ate it by the hands

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Next morning I got a bit lost on my breakfast stroll and ended up surprisingly on the Rialto.

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As I admired the peaceful early morning view a Vaporetto pulled up and I instinctively jumped on

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The Grand Canal was even better in the morning. Crystal clear blue skies and an empty boat. Just perfect

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The Grand Canal was prime water front property in the glory days of the city. The finest merchants and members of society would all have their houses fronting the canal. Only way to see it is by boat as there is no water front walkway

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Every house seems uniquely designed and built, no two the same. It’s a visual treat and its hard to know where to look. My one regret is that I didn’t find time to take a trip along and back the full length from San Marco to the station with a map and audio guide.

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It’s a mesmerizing trip and well worth seeing at first light before the boats get too crowded. In fact when I return I plan to head up and down at various times of day to really get to grips with it

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Ponte dell’Accademia

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Sun coming up over the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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Ponte dell’Accademia

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And more shots of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. It looked particularly gleaming in the morning sun

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After breakfast we headed out for another city walk and decided to get there with another boat ride along the canal. The boat was much busier, so busy in fact we didn’t stay on as long as we wanted. The canal was much busier though with loads of taxi boats and delivery barges. Fascinating to watch the city at work on water

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Gondolas earning their 80 Euros!

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Views looking back left and right to San Marco and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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And back under the Ponte dell’Accademia

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It was an especially clear and sunny morning and the Palazzos were sunning themselves to great effect

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Turning the corner the Rialto comes into view

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A little video that sets the scene a little better than photos

 

I should have taken more video. Most of my other small cameras have always taken pretty poor video so I don’t take much. My new camera takes excellent video so it was a bit of shame I didn’t use it more.

And a final shot just before the crowds forced us to return to foot transport

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Just one more post from Venice before me move on to cities new

 

Venice – First Impressions   19 comments

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Another day and another train journey. Early start but with the station just across the road, no problem

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Our first experience of Italian high-speed trains – Frecciarossa – and very fine and very high speed they were

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So good are they that Nick Hewer of Apprentice fame uses them

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We stopped at Milan Centrale for a few minutes giving me a chance to hop off the train and take a couple of photos of this very grand station

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The day had started well but as we approached Venice everything was dark and gloomy. When we emerged into the chaos that is the outside of Venice station it was raining. Not that it mattered as the humidity was off the scale and I was soaked in sweat anyway. My only weather niggle in three weeks of sunshine was that we didn’t arrive in Venice on a sunny day. The city positively gleams in the sun so it would have been great to get the wow factor as you step out from the station

Time for our first experience of Venice’s public transport system, Vaporetto boats.

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They are wonderful way to get around and great fun, if a little crowded at times. The boats are mostly small so you are really close to the water. They are a bit pricey but each trip is like an excursion and its a wonderful way to experience the city.

We were escorted to our apartment in the Cannaregio district by the lovely Giorgio and his dog, dumped our bags and headed out for lunch and shopping while they finished cleaning

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We returned to unpack and settle in. It was the best apartment we stayed in. Beautifully appointed and spacious in a quiet neighbourhood, near the waterfront, restaurants and shops all close by and 15 minutes walk from St Marks. The crowing glory was a balcony overlooking the rooftops and we ate out there whenever we were there. Splendid choice

While we were sorting ourselves out the dark skies that had been looming finally went black and the heavens opened. It was one of the most violent thunderstorms I’ve seen for a few years. I took a bit of video but it doesn’t really capture just how loud the thunder was or any of the spits and crackles of the lightning.

 

After an hour it stopped and the skies began to clear. It was the last time it rained on the trip.

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Eager beavers, we headed out for our first taste of Venice

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It was the only city on our itinerary I’d been to before. I took a day trip from Croatia in my teenage years (it was Yugoslavia in those days – shows how old I am) on a family holiday with my parents (the last one as it happens). Despite the fact that we spent more time on the coach than we did in Venice, the day had a real wow factor. I’d never seen anything quite like Venice and had very fond memories. I was eager to see it again

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We headed straight to the main focus, Piazza San Marco, St Marks Square. The rain had forced people back to their hotels so it was relatively quiet. Even under grey skies it’s a sensational place. The square is huge, overlooked by the Campanile Bell Tower with the Basilica di San Marco at the far end. More on both of these in later posts

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The other main sight on the Square is the Palazzo Ducale (Doges Palace)

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With the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) linking the palace to the Prisons. Again more on both in upcoming posts

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We sat on the steps by the waterfront where the Gondolas tout for business. Taking a Gondola ride is supposedly a quintessential part of a trip to Venice. However I consider not spending £80 on a 30 minute boat ride to be equally quintessential. I don’t feel we missed out in any way by not taking up their kind and less than generous offer

The clearing skies were starting to deliver the glorious views of Venice we’d hoped for

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TBF is still resentful of this photo, claiming we always try to make her look small in photos. We don’t have to try!

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We decided to take a wander across town heading in no particular direction. Even more so than Paris, Venice has wonderous views around every corner. Either a church as here, or a pretty bridge or silent canal. Its stunning and I loved the place all over again straight away

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Now you may be wondering what on earth this photo is. It’s a picture in a shop (expensive as I recall), one of many of cats and dogs dressed in a variety of outfits. We spent the whole trip looking for tourist tat of the worst kind. Even though this doesn’t class as tat it was the most bizarre thing we saw in a shop window and it amused us immensely. Incidentally the winner of the tacky gift award went to Paris and the Eiffel Tower shaped toothbrush

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We stumbled across the Ponte dell’Academia (the Macadamia Nut bridge as I christened it) over the Grand Canal, our first glimpse of the city’s main transport artery.

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I find it rather odd that the canal only has four bridges (two at the entrance to the city, the Rialto and this one. It makes getting from one side of the city to other an interesting challenge but a fun one

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Everyone gets lost in Venice and its part of the fun. The streets and canals follow no particular pattern you often end up going around in circles, ending up in a dead-end or just popping out to find yourself not entirely where you expected to be. The maze of streets is bewildering but you will almost certainly come across a square, church, canal, bridge or stunning vista you wouldn’t have otherwise seen if you’d been where you thought you were (if that make’s sense)

Like this square we stumbled across while trying to get to the Rialto. I can’t be 100% sure but I think it’s the Campo Sant’Anzolo withe the Santo Stefano Bell Tower behind (it does lean by the way)

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We wandered about back and forth for a bit until we turned a corner and suddenly we were on the banks of the Grand Canal with the a view to the Rialto, the most famous of Venice’s bridges

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Even though it was around 6pm you can see the crowds massed on the bridge

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Venice is renowned for being crowded and in places it can be oppressively so. There is a sort of main drag between the station and car parks, the Rialto and St Marks square and all three are crowded places and streets. However step away from there and the city is peaceful and quiet and there is a lot of city to explore. In addition first thing in the morning and in the evening the crowds dissipate and the city while still busy is pleasantly so with a wonderful atmosphere and fabulous restaurants. It was the best place we visited for just wandering about as of course there is no traffic, just boats on the canals.

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We scaled the bridge and jostled for position to see along the canal in the evening light. It was marvellous. Again more on the grand Canal to come

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Satisfied with our first explore we returned to the apartment for a meal on the balcony while the sun went down. I felt instantly at home

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We had four more days in Venice to explore further, ride on boats, swim in the sea, get lost and eat lots of pasta and ice cream

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