Italy - Venice

by Chris Thompson


After a private car transfer of a few minutes from the air terminal to the water taxi stop step down into the beautifully burnished wooden Riva boat for your transfer to Venice.   Be sure to ask your driver to take the route across the lagoon, hopefully if the tide is correct you will cut across the end of the Grand Canal and Venice awaits you!  I promise it is one of the best transfers in the world.

After visiting Venice many times I confess it is one of my favourite cities.  Regardless of time of year or weather it never fails to impress me.  I love the mist rolling in across the lagoon cloaking the city in an air of mystery.  Blue skies highlight the architecture and tempt you to sit outside on ferries, pavement cafes and terraces!  The soft light of spring and autumn turn canals to liquid pewter.  If you are lucky (some would say unlucky!) you might encounter ‘acqua alta' or ‘high water', usually between September and April at the time of a new or full moon.  Water bubbles up through grates and between the flagstones, at some times you will find yourself walking on raised platforms criss-crossing the main areas of Venice - or don the wellington boots provided by many hotels for much more fun!

Art lovers will be in heaven, from the Gallerie dell'Accademia with timeless paintings by the masters to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection offering an eclectic take on early 20th century artists.  The maritime history of Venice has informed many statues, collections and buildings in the city along with many interesting, often horrific stories of the power it once wielded.  A guided walking tour is a fascinating way of passing a few hours.   After a walking tour on your first visit the best option is to set off and get lost - of course you will come to the water and work your way back but you can discover hidden squares, small gardens, canals, canals and more canals it is a great way to get to know the city.  If you happen to be in Venice at the same time as Carnival you will find as I did you really need to escape from the crowds for a few hours each day in the lesser known areas.

Please do not forget to eat and drink!  I have my favourite restaurants you might persuade me to tell you about and you must try one of my drinks in Venice, a spritz al bitter - a shot of white wine, twist of lemon and measure of Campari!   Of course you must also visit Burano, Murano, etc so much to do in a short break  - that is why you will keep going back.