Venice, Italy – So Much More Than Glass and Gondolas!

invoking thoughts of women in masks and powdered wigs roaming through the city after attending yet another outrageous masked ball in the 15th century.

Venice - gondolas

Venice, Italy – So Much More Than Glass and Gondolas!

I’d heard Venice was smelly, damp, expensive, sinking and outdated. Well they got that wrong!

Venice canal
Stupidly big boats are not friends of Venice

OK, maybe it’s sinking, actually it’s tilting and sinking. Yes it’s pricey. However it certainly wasn’t smelly and it was so packed with gorgeous art, stunning architecture, history and irrepressible wow factors that I would have forgiven the city the smell anyway.

Venice - pillar

Venice is awesome, you arrive at the airport and get the boat, yes boat, from the airport to your hotel.

On the island there are no cars, which is no wonder as the pathways wind adventurously between the high and ancient architecture.


Every few yards are bridges, alleyways, stairs and steps all well worn. They invoke thoughts of women in masks and powdered wigs roaming through the city after attending yet another outrageous masked ball in the 15th century.

Venice - square

The buildings are historic and intricate, defying gravity.

Not surprisingly Venetian in style but that doesn’t stop the city embracing modern art and modern architecture. Anyone doubting you can preserve and innovate within cityscapes should learn a lesson here.

Venice - Leda and the swan

Venice - Leda and the Swan
Leda and the Swan

The ramshackle rooftop terraces often seemed cobbled together which made for a nerve wracking minute or two when I spotted a few of these were occupied as coffee terraces. Phew, rather them than me.

I found the strength of Venice’s grand canal surprisingly strong, no way would I recommend a gondola ride there. On the other hand, save up and invest in a trip around the inner canals.

Venice - ceiling

Once in a lifetime journey, it’s just got to be done.

You can often find people who’ll share the ride and cost if you need to keep the cost down. Just do it though.

Venice - plasterwork

The shops are a spectrum of high end, and I mean HIGH end, designer through to tiny artisan units making glass jewellery and handmade carnival masks.

Venice - masks

Take the time to talk to the store owners, sadly many tourists just go in and out without speaking or even making eye contact with the locals. We got discounts and loads of helpful and educational information by talking and spending time chatting.

You can find bargains, local tacky tourist stuff, genuine and not so genuine souvenirs and of course amazing coffee and gelato. I was going to share the photo of the apron depicting a male statue, but as it was a full frontal option thought maybe I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Venice St Peters

If it rains dive in a coffee shop or a gallery or a church. If the water level is high you can buy plastic disposal wellington boots and adorable(?) rainproof ponchos. Why not take a pair of shoes you don’t mind getting wet, and a raincoat? Just in case.

I love Venice.

I love its dampness, its water taxis, its challenges thrown out by cafes to enforce tactical negotiation to secure a waterside table. I love the architecture, the history, the wonky steps (which you can get fined for sitting on – you’ve been warned) and narrow alleyways.

Venice - bridge

I love it all and suggest you start saving and find yourself a flight because after all Venice is sinking, and tilting you know.

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I’m a storyteller focused on sharing my love of literature, travel, photography and all things arty. My blogging supports my writing and I’m committed to encouraging others to pursue their dreams through travel and the arts.