Venice known for its romantic setting and being one of the most elegant cities in the world - Allison Foat takes us on her trip and she floats and glides through the magical Italian City.
Why fly into a city when you can float into it? And when the destination in question is Venice, a unique city that lures 25 million tourists to its fragile shores every year, there’s simply no better way to arrive than by boat.
Using Le Boat Venice.
With an endless network of waterways in Europe - recreational boating is an increasingly popular way to holiday and skippering yourself down the River Sile into Venice is a classic experience. It also means you own your time, stopping spontaneously to explore small towns along the way-whenever and wherever the mood dictates.
With only 120 km to cover in 48 hours, the pace is perfectly slow and the long summer days are spent feasting on local fare and sipping chilled prosecco on the sun deck as the boat cuts its way quietly through the olive green waters on its way to the floating city.
The beautiful sites of Venice can be seen everywhere as you travel through the unique Italian city.
Once in the Venetian lagoon though, the calm atmosphere disappears and suddenly there is aqua traffic, lots of it, and a choppier swell. With water buses (vaporetto – the cheapest), taxis (motoscafi), ferries and gondolas (the most expensive), it’s initially a little intimidating negotiating the marked lanes but with a focused captain at the wheel and the boat base manager only a phone call away, getting safely through is a given.
Happy Island Vibes
There are three main island attractions to see before you get into Venice proper – Torcello, a nature reserve and the most deserted and peaceful of the three; Murano, famous for its glassware; and, in the middle of the two, pretty Burano, which I call the Bo-Kaap of the Adriatic. Famous not only for its kaleidoscopic facades, leaning bell tower and lacemaking industry, it has the reputation of being the happiest island in Italy. Venice itself is an archipelago of more than 100 islands - all interconnected via 150 canals that are in turn spanned by 400 bridges, only four of which cross the Grand Canal.
Nothing quite prepares you for the grandeur, romance and antiquated glory of Venice. One minute you’re enjoying an Aperol Spritz at the posh Caffé Florian on the marvellous Byzantine Piazza San Marco and the next you’re dodging low-flying pigeons down narrow lanes and stopping for an espresso and cicchetti (snacks) at an authentic hole-in-the-wall osteria (deli-type bar), rubbing shoulders with locals. The contradictions are wonderful.
Do not miss
In the must- see list in Venice includes the Grand Canal in Rialto.
The 57th Biennale, now on and running until November, is heaven for art lovers with big names such as Damien Hirst and Ettore Sottsass exhibiting at several pavilions, and exceptional outdoor installations that are breathtaking in their creativity and innovation. If you can sync a visit to Venice with a Biennale year, you’ll have scored an optimum experience that will satisfy on every level.
As you sail away and head back towards Casale sul Sile, and the Basilica di San Marco fades away in the soft evening light, you’re left pinching yourself, amazed that you were really there.
As the poet Joseph Brodsky once said, “Venice is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers.” It is exactly that and so much more, and it’s always a good idea.
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