In Venice, life is celebrated on the water. It’s not surprising then that in Venice, the feast day of Epiphany is all about. January 6th is Epiphany, the day in the annual calendar that marks the 12th day of Christmas when the Magi, or three wise men presented their gifts to the baby Jesus. Italy is a very religious country and thus these feast days are important across the nation.
My interest in Teatro La Fenice in Venice, a beautiful opera house and a famous theater in Europe, began with a book: The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. In his particular creative, non-fiction style he tells the true story of when La Fenice burnt down in 1996, bringing to life a tangled web of personalities, politics and history in Venice.
A good reason for early rising in Venice is to tour the Rialto markets. This is the heart of the city, the place everyone comes to get fruit, vegetables and fish. The barges pull in and noisy, frantic trading starts around 7am. Cross the Rialto Bridge from Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) and head right.
It took me ages to find the Frari Church on my first visit to Venice. All those narrow streets and baffling maps. Or maybe I was just easily confused that day because most other people seem to find it okay. Anyway, once I got there it was worth the chase.
It has the second highest bell tower in the city after the San Marco campanile and has the status of cathedral or basilica, rather than just church. The brick exterior is nice though jaw-dropping, but once you step inside your life changes.
In 1630-31, Venice was gripped by its second plague in a century. It claimed nearly 100,000 lives, and one in three Venetians died. The Doge appealed to the Virgin Mary, promising to build a magnificent church of thanks if the plague would end. Well, end it did and he made good his promise and built the Church of Madonna della Salute, which literally means ‘good health’.
The term Lido has come to be used for many types of outdoor bathing spot –beach resorts in Italy, Lido Decks on cruise ships a la The Love Boat, or outdoor swimming pools in England, but it all began right here in Venice.
Oh Venice, sometimes you make me sigh. What were you thinking wrapping your greatest sight in advertising banners? This is a trend that hopefully won’t become permanent. Imagine all the people who have come to Venice in the past year or two and found one of the things they most wanted to be photographed with [...]
Famous for inventing the delicious drink, the Bellini (Prosecco and fresh peach juice), Harry’s Bar is a Venice institution. Located at the end of small Calle Vallaresso not far from San Marco Square, I was surprised to find it does not have waterside frontage, and is in fact very closed in.
When you’re enclosed in the labyrinthine streets of Venice it’s easy to forget that Venice is actually a whole series of islands dotted across the lagoon, and that some of them are not quite as manically busy and claustrophobic.