on July 14, 2007
Your experience in Venice is not truly complete without a visit to Piazza San Marco. For lovers of architecture, culture, history, water, fine dining, and endless shopping opportunities.Piazza San Marco is a short 15-minute walk from the train station. But make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes as there are many bridges to cross. Even without a map, you can easily find this area - just follow the tourists. Or if that doesn't work for you, simply walk and ask the Venetians. Once you arrive to a certain point, there are signs and arrows providing you directions.Piazza San Marco is a HUGE open space of glorious architecture - too overwhelmingly beautiful to describe in mere words (check out my photos). On the way to the Piazza, you will pass by many fine restaurants, concert halls, shops, and pubs.Piazza San Marco is one of the main places to catch a gondola ride through the city and also to take public transportation to the many islands (highly recommend Lido). Gondola rides can be quite costly (we paid 100 euros for 1-hour ride at night), but if you speak a bit of Italian perhaps you can score a better deal. Our gondolier was very charming, spoke good English and French, and even serenaded us!On your gondola ride, you will notice the water levels have been steadily creeping upwards through the years necessitating many home owners, restaurants, and hotels to move their first floors up to the second floors. Many residences can only be reached by water!We went on a night when the waters were particularly choppy, but it made the experience all the more exciting. Our gondolier was incredibly nimble and we never once feared for our safety.During the flooding season, tables are set up in the Piazza so that you can walk from one spot to another. We went in July and experienced only mild flooding, no issues though.I have heard many tourists complain about the heat and the smell from the canals. Honestly, I did not notice either and we went when it was supposed to be at its height. At night, you can listen to the musical entertainment while dining (for a small charge). There are plenty of polizia around, so all is safe.
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