Friday, 22 July 2011

The city of canals....

 We reached Venice, the city of canals, as we know it; around noon.

After a little rest in our hotel and some information from our receptionist, we again had the opportunity to indulge ourselves with some Italian delicacies like pizza con verdure (pizza with vegetables), pizza con patate fritte (with French fries), salmon al forno (baked salmon), verdure miste e cotte (mixed vegetables) accompanied with red wine and peach juice, followed by cappuccino.

We had the day at our leisure so we decided to start off with the ever popular ride on the Gondola.

The gondola takes you around the city through its narrow canals all the way till the Grand Canal, crossing beautiful houses with bouquets of flowers on the windows, and the colors of the houses just seem entrancing.

The gondolier will make sure that you have a great time on the gondola, giving you all the necessary information about the city.

Well, after the gondola, we decided to walk around the streets and see if we could get some souvenirs.

All around Venice, you will find shops selling Venetian masks, theatre costumes and props. My sister and I tried a few but ended up buying only a mask magnet to be rightfully placed on our refrigerator back home.

Shortly after, we came upon a store selling leather bags.

And I ended up buying this cute sling bag for my friend.

Venice also has an array of old buildings and churches. We walked around the Maddona Dell’Orto.

The red brick structure is known to be the parish church of the famous artist Tintoretto and contains many of his notable works of art. Also, the structure was built in a Gothic style of architecture.

The next day we had a tour of the three islands around Venice; Murano, Burano and Torcello.

The boat ride was from St. Mark’s Square.

The Basilica di San Marco is by far the finest example of Byzantine architecture in the world and is one of the most famous churches in Venice.

The Piazza San Marco also has an open market where you can buy any amount of things ranging from inexpensive souvenirs to high end designer stuff.

My sister could not help buy an absolutely fabulous leather belt from Guess to be worn with her ‘dress’ in Milan.

My apologies for not mentioning earlier. Throughout Italy, you cannot walk around the streets and not indulge in Gelato. There are gelato shops everywhere and the flavors vary from shop to shop. My favorites French Vanilla, Chocolate, Stracciatella, Tiramisu, and Caramel.

We left for our Murano, Burano and Torcello tour at around 2:30 PM and our first stop was Murano, an island famous for its glass blowing factories. We were taken to one such factory where we got a demonstration of manual glass blowing.

Our next stop was Burano, another island off the coast of Venice, which is famous for its handmade lace. All around you can see shops selling exquisite lace products and if you go inside one of these shops, you can meet the woman making the lace. The houses in Burano are even more colorful than in Venice.

After the fascinating lace experience, we take off for the third island, Torcello.

The Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta is the oldest on the Venetian lagoon and the interiors is decorated with mosaic of Ventian-Byzantine style.

Having seen the three islands, we then returned to Piazza San Marco, to take a closer look at the Basilica.

You can see the interior has been completely done in mosaic in a Byzantine-Gothic inspired style. Gold, Bronze and a lot of other stones can be seen in the ornamentation of this basilica.

After the endless photographic session, we finally sat at a nearby bistro and ordered food; pizza calzone, a huge version of the normal calzone, spaghetti pomodoro (with tomato salsa), pizza with four different types of meat, fried chicken followed by cappuccino. And we were greeted by an orchestra of musicians who played among other songs a Hindi song!

Next morning, we took a train to Florence.

Photographs by : Urmita Das

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