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Published:April 18th, 2008 12:43 EST
Exploring Venice

Exploring Venice

By Ana P.

Last weekend, I decided to make a trip to Venice. The reason for my short visit was my curiosity about this north Italian city along the Adriatic Sea, described by so many contradictory statements. While some people discribe it as “romantic” with its more than one hundred small islands and saltwater lagoons, others find it gloomy-- especially because of the ruinous buildings. It’s true that the pigeons contribute in their way to the putrid appearance of some places. The rumors saying that Venice will sooner or later sink do not add to its’ reputation either. However, this rumor shouldn’t keep one from taking a closer look at the city. In contrary, it is advisable to visit Venice, before it might be too late!

I was warned by friends, who have been in Venice before, that a lot of  tourists get lost on their way through the narrow lanes. I have to agree that it’s hard not to get lost in the labyrinth of alleys, lanes, corners and canals. But getting lost isn’t that bad at all, when one can find a rich mixture of Gothic and Renaissance architecture around almost every corner. Still, what I find truly special about Venice, is the fact that the Gondolas, water taxis, are the major means of transportation. Instead of ear-piercing motor noices, all one hears is the water splashing, as the water taxi guides its way through the lagoon. I have to admit that this method of transportation is not necessarily enjoyable for people suffering of sea sickness. But since Venice is rather small, with a population of approximately 270,000, the journey on water normally lasts no longer than twenty minutes and is, therefore, endurable.

As for touristic attractions, most known is the Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark’s Square, which is the principal square of Venice. This square is now the seat of the archbishop and originated back in the 9th century.

Also worth a visit is the Doge’s Palace located in the St. Mark’s Square. This masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture was originally the residence of the so-called “Doge of Venice, the chief magistrate of Venice. The Palace has gigantic walls made of white limestone, as well as a series of beautiful balconies and a crenellated roof. Its decoration is also very impressive: The capitals of the colonnade have carvings of flowers and beasts. Among the more than two hundred palaces in Venice, Doge’s Palace is most known and definitely worth a visit.

Apart from beautiful palaces, Venice is also known for its annual Carnival celebration. The Venetian Carnival has a long tradition, its origins tracking back in 13th century. Something that makes Carnival so special in Venice is the variety of colorful masks worn at this event. They enable people to hide their true selfs and to take on a new identity. It is said that the famous womanizer Casanova was a big fan of the Venician Carnival. Duing Carnival, which usually starts at the end of January, people experience a blend of music, theatre and parades on the streets.

Overall, seeing Venice left a permanent impression on me, and I can only recommend to anyone to experience the unique charm of “Lagoon City.”