Venice is unlike any city you will ever visit. Arriving by train at Station St Lucia, the adventure of Venice begins right away. The city is built on several islands in a shallow lagoon and the main form of transportation is by boat. The train station is connected to the mainland by a long causeway, its an exciting preview as you slowly approach the city. Once you step off the train and exit the station it feels like you’ve stepped into a new world. Its a magnificent introduction; a massive archway bridge and canal are only a few steps away. The port is busy with boats of all types going in all directions.
Venice kind of leaves you speechless. After arriving on the island I decided to skip the ferries and just start exploring. I found a way to walk towards the main square following the signs to St Marks. Or at least I thought I was. The city is laid out like a maze, with watery dead ends often forcing you to retrace your steps to find the way once again. It was exciting to get lost along the tiny foot-paths that weave their way through the city. It was a maze made of concrete and water. Many times during my trip through the city, I got lost.
But then every so often you will see an arrow painted high on the wall directing you to “St. Marks” or “Sta Lucia”, the only way you knew you were still on the right path. Finding the way was half the fun. Often during these moments where I didn’t know where I was going, the perfect photo opportunity would arise. It made it all worth it.
What makes the Canals of Venice so amazing?
The style of Venice has been imitated across Europe. Because of this, there is always someone trying to be the “Venice of…” but there is only one. It is unique. Venice is a living fairy tale.
While the city feels like it has been preserved and the essence of the great merchants and artists can still be felt throughout the city. It’s lively. It’s exciting. The city is by no means perfect. The streets and plaza often flood and rubber boots are needed for high tide. It’s crowded and kind of dirty. There is green growing on the bricks that touch the water. These imperfections action add to the experience. The city feels lived in. The city has many incredible picturesque scenes and they’re available the moment you step on the island.
The waterways teem with life, carrying police and ambulances, passengers as well as all local deliveries. One of my favourite moments was watching boxes thrown from a cargo boat over to the shore.
Arriving in St Marks Square, you are quickly surrounded by thousands of tourists. The prices increase. The day of my first visit, a cruise ship had just dropped off a literal boat-load of people. But its worth it to push through the madness.
After a short visit to the center of Venice, its easy to appreciate the power and wealth collected during the city’s golden age. The city thrived in maritime trade and was prominent during the Italian Renaissance. The sculptures and architecture are amazing. Once you find yourself overwhelmed by the hoards of people, it’s time to explore elsewhere. There are many other incredible islands to explore.
Where are the Canals of Venice and how do you get there?
Getting onto the island is quite easy. There is a train which brings you to one edge of the city. The railroad will whisk you to and from almost anywhere in Europe. If you’re arriving by plane there is a ferry about 10 minutes from the terminal. Once you get on to the island is when you’re going to have problems.
Getting lost and then finding the way was half the fun. This task was a little bit easier when trying to find St Marks Square, the centrally located tourist center of town, but it became nearly impossible when trying to find something off the beaten track. It really made you feel like you were exploring and made arriving at any destination even more exciting.
My favourite place on the island was the view from the bell tower of the basilica on San Giorgio Maggiore Island was without a doubt, one of the best views i have ever seen. There are just so many things to see and do, that you quickly run out of time. The city is just a place that can’t be missed.
Im already counting down that days until I get to go back to do it all over again.