Two Days in Venice

Venice shouldn’t exist. It seems wonderfully, whimsically improbable. An entire city filled with water alleyways, travelled by small boats, without a car in sight. It is a city of alleys and canals–a city that fundamentally alters our idea of what a city can be.

Venice Big Waterway
The first thing you notice about Venice is the water. It’s obvious, but still shocking. The canals, the boars, the fact that this is a city build on the sea, instead of the land, is extremely striking–and rare. There just is not another city like this anywhere on earth.

suitcase venice

But once you get onto land, the labyrinthine alleyways seem to make this beautiful city a maze. Notice the graffiti–surprisingly prevalent here.

Venice Alleyway

Somehow the presence of this tree makes this waterway so much more enticing.

Venice Restaurants

Mini squares like this were common, and seemed to pop out of nowhere. First you feel like you’re walking through a labyrinth then you suddenly emerge to see a beautiful alfresco restaurant, complete with a private dock for someones boat. It goes without saying, but the canals really are the key feature of this city. Just imagine being the person who drove their white boat to this restaurant, parked it, got out, had dinner, then lazily motored home as the sun set. Too romantic.

Venice Waterways Boat

Imagine too, parking that boat at your front door… Truly strange in a wonderful way.

Venice waterway
A main area on the grand canal. Filled with docks, boats, and tourists, this was great–but a bit busy. Of course, it was all the fault of tourists like myself.

Venezia boat tour palazzo

One of the ubiquitous vaporettos, aka, water taxis. These are generally the best way to get around if you are traveling for a long distance.

Venice waterways 2

Venice used to be a major european power. In the middle ages, Venice was the capital of the Republic of Venice, a country with extensive maritime power, built on a foundation of trade. That all ended in 1797 when a weakened Venice was divided by France and Austria.

Image by -kayac- at Italian Wikipedia CC3.0
Image by -kayac- at Italian Wikipedia CC3.0

This image shows the extent of the Venetian empire. Red is territory of the empire at various periods, pink is temporarily controlled areas, purple squares are commercial colony cities, and green is their rival, the Ottoman Empire. The yellow-hued areas of ocean are parts of the sea dominated by the Venetian navy during their period of power. Yellow lines are trade routes.

Venice Ceiling

One major event held in Venice is the Biennale–a world art fair held every two years. This was a ceiling at one of the showrooms.

Venice Biennale Cafe

One of several cafes at the event, this one was strange. The patterns made it difficult to look at.

Boating in Venice

I saw this boat sail by on a canal that bisected the Biennale area. The carefree lifestyle embodied in this picture actually seemed relatively rare–most of the boats seemed to be filled with tourists or were boats on business, transporting supplies.

Venice Biennale Chiharu Shiota

This was the real standout of the show for me. Chiharu Shiota’s “The Key in the Hand”.

 

Venezia 1

There were various satellite sites scatted across the city. This photo was taken from the roof of one of those. Venice Beautiful

Same building, different perspective. IMG_1790-1024x1024

That same building had a mirror on the floor of one of the rooms, resulting in this shot which should have been sponsored by Nike.

Dining by the water

Venice is an irreplaceable city that, despite the odds, exists and thrives to this day. It is a fantastic place to live, but I quickly eliminated all romantic thoughts of living here for a period any longer than a few days. Despite all its charm, it was crowded with tourists. Moreover, it was nearly impossible to find any type of food that was not Italian, and actually impossible to find good food that was not Italian. We saw one dingy Chinese place. A foursquare search revealed an Indian restaurant–located far away from the main area. For those who can get tired of Italian, it was arguably a culinary desert. Venice is amazing, but it is homogenous. It does waterways and Italian food–and it does those exceptionally well. For everything else, you’ll have to go somewhere else. That makes this city a fantastic place to visit, but a difficult place to live.

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