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I think everyone should see Venice in Italy once. I was lucky enough to visit it twice. First, I was there to see the city and then got back to see the Carnival of Venice. And it was so adventurous to be there in both ways.
In 2016, I went there with my family and as we got off the boat, it started to rain. We were soaking wet in a minute but we didn’t let the rain stop us to explore this amazing place. Even, if we had fallen into the water from a gondola, we couldn’t have been any wetter. Thanks to the rain, we could see the city without having to get through thousands of tourists because most of the people sought shelter from the rain. More than perfect!
The Queen of the Venetian Lagoon contains 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by more than 400 bridges in total. It is an enchanting sight as the gondolas swim in the narrow channels. The buildings in Venetian Gothic and Rococo architectural style are breathtaking and it is not a surprise at all that this amazing place inspired many many authors, poets, and other artists.
Although Venice is in itself a sight and most of the people visit it to get the romantic and immersive feeling of the city, it has a lot of beautiful places. One day is not enough to see everything: take a gondola trip, be amazed by the art and music, taste local Venetian specialties, take an aperitivo time, and a bunch of other “must do when you are in Venice” things – so all we could do was to visit the most we can, starting with the compulsories, meanwhile let the city amaze us: Canal Grande from the Ponte di Rialto, Doge’s Palace and Basilica di San Marco on the Saint Mark’s square, Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and many other places including my favorite one: Ponte dei Sospiri, that is not a big thing at first sight, but it has a heartbreaking, but yet mystical story.
While we were checking the compulsory attractions, also discovered a lot of tourist shops that offer souvenirs linked to the local sites – as it is always the case with tourist cities – Murano and Venetian glass, lace from Burano, Limoncello, and masks of the Carnival of Venice. We could not fail to notice that stores of famous designers are everywhere, which determine the prices of other merchandises – luckily only to a certain extent. Meanwhile, the rain stopped and others also came out of their hiding place to enjoy the sparkling sunshine.
And now in 2018 I just got back to Venice to see the Carnival and accidentally found a place where a tourist was never before…
I went directly to Venice for one day of its Carnival as a member of a tourist group. Normally, I don’t like organized trips like this, I instantly feel sick of the slooooow toddling and silly comments – I like people by the way -, but it was the easiest and cheapest way to be back again. Our bus started from Budapest on Friday and suddenly after 8 hours, I was there again. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to see the Carnival and the people in costumes. I thought there would be a lot of people, but I had absolutely no idea that this many!
Luckily I like people so it couldn’t stop us from finding a person in masquerade while exploring the city again. And I found so many, it was amazing. Confetti was everywhere on the street, and there was at least one person wearing a traditional Venetian costume at every corner. And what an awesome history there is behind of each and also the Carnival itself. I love all of them – except one: the Zanni. It is a mask with a low forehead, bulging eyebrows and a long nose with a reverse curve towards the end. Cause of my nightmares. It was a big surprise for me that I saw not only traditional costumes but also found Super Mario, Beauty and the Beast – my favourite Disney movie -, the sisters from Frozen and other characters like these.
There was a huge stage on St. Mark’s square, where a spectacular show was organized.
When my best friend and I got tired of the crowd, we just escaped from the commotion in the streets and decided to explore the little, narrow streets. We found some mask-makers and had a chance to watch them while working. We were amazed by the fact that what awesome skills they have to make these masks – especially me, I cannot draw even a stickman.
Continued our way towards the interior part of the city and suddenly there were no more tourists, no more confetti, no more people in costumes or anyone. I had no clue before that Venice could be also introduced as a ghost town. This part of the city was still glamorous, but all of the shops were closed and it was as silent if people had never been there before. Only a few funny graffiti showed the traces of human’s hands. We saw amazing and enchanted places there, but our stomach started to grumble and we had to find the meeting point before the boat departed.
Venice is a labyrinth – or we are very clueless. It was more than two hours before we found a soul again. We were starving in the meantime but there were no free seats where we could sit down to eat something (miss you, ghost town). Finally, when we found a place, we had probably the most expensive dinner of our lives. We were hungry and we didn’t even look where we were sitting, so managed to dine at the most prestigious hotel in Venice. We saw the prices but we had limited time and thought that we were just after getting our salaries so it would be ok, but I wouldn’t have thought that I couldn’t afford to buy more food this month after in Venice – I guess my mom will see me more often this month at around lunchtime -. There is no doubt that the meal was perfect and we had a wonderful view and also could see the festival, so it was perfectly all right and totally worth it! Real dolce vita feeling!