Unmasking Venice - My Family Travels

I wish I could stay in Venice forever.

When I visited Venice, or Venezia in Italian, the spectacular grandeur of the city amazed me.  Yet, the city seemed so peaceful and quaint with its boats gliding under the footbridges on the slow moving green canals. Venice has colorful buildings crammed next to each other with tiny alleyways that are actually streets. It was so easy to become lost in the beauty of the city!

While there in July 2012, I visited many famous landmarks. San Marco Square is centrally locating and contains the Basilica San Marco and a decorative clock tower. The clock tower is atypical due to its features. The Earth is presented in the middle with the sun and moon revolving around it. The moon replica shows how full the real moon is each night. On the outer rings are the zodiac signs representing each month and a twenty-four hour clock.

San Marco Square is perfect for buying a souvenir pin, snow globe or cheaper Venetian style mask.  However, for more cultural and authentic items, the Rialto Bridge has many shops with artistic jewelry. Another square I visited was San Polo Square. This square held many tiny shops with handmade Venetian masks. A charming shop to visit is La Bottega Dei Mascareri
at San Polo 80
Ponte di Rialto. The owners of the shop, two brothers, have been creating masks for more than thirty years. They have artfully designed and made over three hundred million handmade masks!

When visiting Venice, book a tour to see the famous Murano glass blown at the Vecchia Murano Glass factory. On a tour, I watched as one of the fourteen professional glass blowers gave us a demonstration on how the glass pieces are created. It takes twenty years to become a professional at glass blowing, which is why there are only fourteen experts in the world. On the tour, my guide explained how using various materials create different colors. For instance, to produce red glass, the glass blowers mix gold with copper. When decorating the glass with gold, the masters will always use 24 karat gold because it will keep its color pristine overtime.

Venice is a magical place. The only way to enter the city is by train or by boat. There are absolutely no cars on the 118 small islands that comprise Venice. There is no room for cars in the streets! To explore Venice, I either walked or rode in boats. Short footbridges link the small islands with canals beneath. While visiting, make sure to walk through the Bridge of Sighs; it is the only covered bridge in all of Venice!

Riding through Venice’s canals in romantic gondolas is a fun experience. By traveling in a gondola, I saw the famous Guggenheim museum, the “Fenice Theater” and Mozart’s Venice residence. Riding by gondola is peaceful, and I even asked the gondolier to serenade me.

While I was only in Venice for one day, the canals, the gondolas, the beautiful masks and Murano glass, plus the quaint setting and intimate streets made me wish I could stay there forever. I felt forever changed by visiting this beautiful city by the sea.

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