On any given day during peak tourist season, Venice has 150,000 tourists to it’s 60,000 residents. Because of astronomical prices of bringing everything to the island, the rising waters, the high rents, and the inconvenience of living on the island, residents are leaving in droves. Rick Steves says that despite the gov’t’s efforts to alleviate these conditions, Venice may end up like an adult Disney land. That’s a little scary! But I definitely felt that I didn’t meet hardly any natives – just tourists.
After much traveling and mishaps (to be explained later), we finally arrived in Venice late on Tuesday night. So Wednesday morning we got up bright and early and went to the main island of Venice! We quickly strayed from the tourist track around the island and wandered the back streets to see more of “real” Venice. I liked it, but there weren’t very many Venetians out and about, so I’m still unsure of what “real” Venice is.
We visited St. Mark’s Square & St. Mark’s Basilica (underwhelming), got pizza at a restaurant nearby, and took a boat tour of 3 of the nearby islands. I loved the island tours, although we only got about 45 minutes apiece on each island, and I definitely could’ve spent more time there – however, the tour was already 4 hours long. :/
Murano: famous for glass-making. We watched a quick demonstration of blowing glass, and then a sales pitch for the glass store. The glass was beautiful, and the cute Italian salesmen were persuasive – almost.
Burano: famous for lace-making. We saw Olga hand-making lace and then walked down the street and I got lemon gelato. (yuuuum) This was my favorite island because all the houses are painted different vibrant colors.
Torcello: has only 18 residents, but it’s famous because it has Venice’s first church – it’s 7th century, and slightly rundown, but still beautiful. It was peaceful and calm and beautiful.
We also had a super yummy dinner on the island – think delicious pasta, tomato sauces, delicious meats and cheeses. I got a really wonderful spicy pasta sauce with penne – so, so amazing. After dinner we had to take the train back to the mainland for our hostel – but then the train station didn’t have any ticket booths open. And there was no information or any police offers around. Thankfully neither my mom or I freak out about these types of things, and we went from person to person until we found someone who sold tickets, and then we spoke spanglish/pseudo-italian to some other people to figure out which train we should take for our 10 minute ride home. Such an ordeal. But it definitely made for some memories!