Venice Canal Life

Venice is a fairly hassle free destination for flying into. Chances are, if you are coming from America, you first flew into another European city like Frankfurt or Zurich (two that I have done) so you have already cleared EU customs and arrival and departure from here is a snap. The airport is in the lagoon too and not very far from the city. The shortest route and by far THE way to do it is by a private boat. The hotel you are staying at will be able to either arrange or put you in touch with the service.

Instead of walking up to the hotel front door, you will be dropped at it's waterside entrance! I've only stayed at two different accommodations and really have spent only a short time in Venice. So, I'm no expert here. I have used it more as a jumping off point to see more of Italy! There is so much to see. But what I quickly found out about Venice was it's total reliance on a system I call Canal Life, which is also the name of this photo I unveil to the new Italy gallery for you here and now! I took several photos of these quiet residential canals where people generally live. They are quite a comparison to where the tourists go. Of course, the main reason that Venice is an island city is testament to how brutal life was back then. There were walls and forts and the canals were defensive systems patrolled constantly to repel invaders. I was reading that the canals also provided a source of power to grind grain, pump water and power sawmills.

 

It was fascinating to see the modern day commerce from moving goods to taking away refuse; all by boat. At the very least, one needs a small runabout to live here. I visited the yacht club and it was full of sportsmen types of power and sail boats. But I never saw so many small to medium sized barge/tug type craft. The local "bus" (vaporetto) is a funky system of 20-30 passenger craft. Then there are all the commercial and private passenger boats. As someone who loves the maritime, I was on overload!

 

 

This is why you want to seek out a Palazzo to stay at when in Venice. Behind a wall, you find a timeless paradise such as this that I found at Abadessa. There are literally dozens of these palaces that have become small hotels with 6-20 rooms. Mine served an excellent breakfast and had a bar and is truly an oasis on its own.

 

For a very long time, Venice was at the crossroads of trade and as such was the place where goods of all kinds moved in and out of with the Venetians firmly in control. These managers of trade amassed great wealth and created a republic from which 120 Doges (leaders) of Venice were elected over the course of a millennia, (697-1787). As a testament to their wealth and power, the Doges were responsible for the creation of many of the most magnificent churches in Venice. The era of the Doge came to a crashing halt in 1797 when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Venice who abolished the Republic and split the land between France and Austria. It remained a possession of Austria until 1866 and the reunification of Italy. The above black and white photo is of the Doges Palace (Palazzo Ducale) colonnade with 15th century white limestone columns that face the Grand Canal. From the 9th to the 16th century the Palace was built, rebuilt and extensively rebuilt. Today it is a UNESCO world heritage site. what we see today was completed in the 14th century.

I hope you enjoy my reminiscing here with the second photo added to my Italy gallery. I will seek to curate one more from this remarkable city before moving on to other parts of this region. While only one of these photos is available to purchase in my gallery, I think adding the others helps me tell the story better!

 

 

 

I found myself literally humming the Spring concerto of Vivaldi's "Seasons" and squinted to try and imagine what it was like strolling around during this final century of Venice's domination in the world. Antonio did not compose the 4 concertos in Venice, but Mantua instead. He lived from 1678-1741 and composed the remarkable concertos between 1718 and1720. He wrote 50 operas and is most famous for his elaborate staging of several in Venice. He died in poverty and his music was nearly lost before revival in the early 19th century and has gained serious popularity ever since. He led a very colorful and fulfilling life, spending 30 years as director of music at an orphanage and was well thought of as a maestro of the violin.