30 Days on the Road in Italy…Day 7: Venice

Come with us as we explore Italy and check out properties for Gira! Italian Vacation Rentals.

I have to admit that I know precious little about Venice’s acqua alta, so it seemed obvious to me that the recent rains must have had something to do with the forecast of high waters, which are known to come this time of year.

Venice acqua altaActually, there are several factors at play, of which the rains are only a small part.  It is believed that the occurrences tend to coincide with the full moon, which is known to have a great effect on the level of tides around the planet.  The full moon was only the night before last, so that would make sense.

The other factor is the winds, and at times a brisk, cold wind comes through Venice’s passageways and across its piazzas, sometimes causing us to catch our breath. It’s the wind from Russia, our friend explains.  All around, we can see the city workers preparing, putting up the platforms that serve as elevated sidewalks.

Venice acqua altaBy acqua alta standards, I suppose this one is a little light weight, as it is still possible to walk in some parts of Piazza San Marco and on many of the side streets. Vendors are selling a type of temporary plastic boot that you can wear–mostly in blue and a questionable fashion choice.  If you are careful, no special shoes are needed today and there are spells when the rain lets up.  Today is Monday, and we learn by word of mouth that there will be a blue sky and warmer temperatures by mid-week. Something to look forward to, for sure. All in all, it’s a fascinating time to be in Venice, with the city showing off one of many faces–the severe one.

San Provolo apartment
Today we have vigorous schedule, as apartment owners are eager to meet us in various parts of the city.  We meet up with our friends for a quick cappuccino and corneto, and we are on our way.  First stop is Castello, the district just east of San Marco, where the Arsenale is located.  The apartments San Provolo 1 and San Provolo 2 are front and back on the second level of a classic Venetian building near the Campo S. Provolo.  They can be rented separately, or together for a maximum of ten people.

Goldoni apartment in VeniceThe apartment called Goldoni is named for famous playwright and wit, Carlo Goldoni, who came from Venice and wrote in the 18th century.  He offered social commentary in a manner that was compared to Moliere. Today, we learn, to call someone a ‘goldoni’ is to make fun of them.  The light-filled apartment is a sweet one, on the highest level of a building directly on the centrally located Campo San Luca.

Traghetto ride in VeniceAfter a light lunch, we find a point to cross the Grand Canal by traghetto, the convenient gondolas that cross frequently with only a few stand-up passengers.  The fare was only one euro each and in moments were are on the other side, into the charming district of Accademia.

Accademia apartment in VeniceThis area provides a nice relief to the busy-ness of San Marco, as there is more room to walk about, the crowds are few and far between, and the shops are wonderful. Today we see the Accademia 2 apartment, which has a direct view on to the Grand Canal, basically at ‘street’ level.  Just open the window and there it is!  We also spend some time in the spacious private garden directly behind, and we are amazed at the amount of land this luscious garden takes up.

Frari apartment in VeniceWe’re beginning to get just a little tired, but there is so much more to see.  We stop for a quick coffee and that provides just the fuel we need.  Next up is the apartment Frari, on the expansive Campo San Polo.  Frari has a cozy private courtyard that provides access to the apartment.  As you enter, you are struck by the generous use of white walls and ceiling which contrasts nicely with the wooden floor and modern furnishings and amenities.  Tucked away from the busy city, this place will provide an intimate and romantic setting for a couple.

Fuseri apartment in VeniceFinally, it’s our last inspection of the day–a large apartment called Fuseri.  Although we are close to San Marco, it’s located in a peaceful setting, where you can look down from the windows and watch the gondolas pass by gracefully.  There are four bedrooms here, for up to seven guests.  There is a large and comfortable living and dining room area, and a well equipped kitchen.  It’s on the top floor of the building and the amenities include a dishwasher and air conditioning.

By the way, this type of beamed ceiling is characteristic of Venice and it’s called capriate.

On the way back home, we find ourselves having one of Venice’s most important experiences–being lost!  We look to find the nearest landmark, and it turns out to be none other that La Fenice, the famous opera house.  We go inside just to check out the gift shop and end up buying tickets to see the full tour.  The story is one of tragedy, as it was struck by fires and completely destroyed in 1836 and 1996.  Each time, Venice found a way to rebuild its treasure, with the current structure reopened in 2003.  We are taken with the sublime beauty of its marvelous great hall, and we are hypnotized by the heavenly images on the ceiling.  La Fenice means ‘the phoenix’, the mythical bird that rose from the ashes.

Tomorrow:  More of Venice’s charms

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