The darkness of Venetian lagoon was gradually approaching around us as we were approaching towards the island of Venice. From the water, in distance we could see the evening lights of Venice slowly lighting up one by one.
Getting of Vaporetto, we started to walk in random streets in order to get lost in the maze of the narrow streets and Canals of Venice, which we did pretty quickly. The dim yellow lights in the sudden open courtyards gave it a beautiful extrinsic feeling. People sitting outside and having their dinner in restaurants, young travelers drinking and chatting loudly in front of some random bar about their day’s trip and places they visited, there is a certain charm in noticing these simple things.
After sitting in the courtyard and having a some red wine, we started to walk again towards Piazza San Marco. As we were approaching towards the Piazza, we could find shops full of beautiful souvenir specially Murano glass works and other typical Venetian artworks.
Piazza San Marco was full of people walking, talking, chilling, chatting, in short like any typical piazza of Italy but still with a massive number of foreign tourists.
Several small orchestra groups were playing magnificent classical music in front of restaurants. Not only people having dinner in those restaurants were enjoying it, but also a lot of people gathered around the music groups to listen to them and every music piece was ending with dozens of people clapping.
I noticed a sign saying eating, drinking, and even sitting is prohibited in San Marco square and all offenders will be fined. I wonder if they also count the numerous tourists sitting and dinning in the square in those classy restaurants. But then again as the Italians say, in Italy laws and rules are more open to the people’s interpretation.
After and hour of sitting and chatting in the piazza, we started to walk towards a Vaporetto stop on the other side of the island. From there we were supposed to catch a boat again to the island of Mazzorbo. Here it will get more interesting as we were gonna try something cool. On the way, we passed near the famous Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal (Canal Grande). Unfortunately my camera does not work that well at night, so I don’t have any good photo of Rialto bridge at night.
We were waiting for a small boat in Fondamente Nove to take us to Mazzorbo, but somehow we missed the boat while waiting outside the station. But another boat came afterwards which was going almost the same way until Murano and we got in that one and the boat captain found the other boat near Murano island and told them on wireless to come back for us. Surprisingly the other boat came back and took us aboard. Amazing people, these Venetians! What an an incredible half an hour boat ride we had after that! We were sitting outside on the small boat, very close to the sea water level, above us was starry night with a crescent moon far on the horizon. It felt like having our own personal yacht. I think everyone should try riding boat in the sea at night, the experience can be hardly described through words. Apart from the noise of the motor of the boat, everything else seemed so serene and calm around us. Sometimes big boats going towards Venice crossed us and their waves would hit our small boat and some sea water would splash onto my face. Oh it was wonderful feeling!
Mazzorbo being a small island with not so popular among tourists, had fairly small amount of people in daytime and almost no people at all except locals at night. We figured it would be best place for the stealth camping. I must let you know that camping or sleeping outside in Italy without a campsite is totally illegal in Italy! Which is not the case in most of Europe, specially in Scandinavian countries where you can camp almost anywhere as long as it maintains a distance from anyone’s home. So I suggest not to try that in Italy, unless of course you’re ‘young and wild souls’ like us.
Anyway, we found a fairly secluded place near the sea and a canal between some boats, got into our sleeping bags and slept fairly well. Only problem was it was a bit hot inside sleeping bag and the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes was totally our fault as we found out in the morning that there was stagnant water on a nearby boat where we were sleeping, perfect breeding place for mosquitoes and could have easily avoided it by choosing a place to sleep a bit far away from that. But we slept well overall, and only spotted once by a local and his dog, when his dog came near us. But the guy didn’t care to bother us so it was okay.
In the morning we woke up very early to the first light of the day, packed out sleeping bags and walked to Burano to catch the Vaporetto. It took us to Treporti where we had espresso in the Café nearby. From there we got in Vaporetto again to island of Lido di Venezia which is the beach of Venice. It is 11 km long stretch of land with sandy beach where a whole day can spend if you’re looking for some time in the beach.
We didn’t really go the beach and bought some food from nearby supermarket. I tried some Rice with some chicken and seafood like pawn and clams.
We then took Vaporetto back to Venice and got down in ‘Giardini Biennale’ which is the huge garden of Venice which is the major venue of famous contemporary Art and Architecture Biennale exhibition. As the name suggest the exhibition takes every two years on the odd years.
We started to walk on the street getting a taste of the typical morning of Venice. People putting thier washed laundry over the streets on ropes, garbage collector collecting the garbage from every house, etc. We didn’t see any trash cans in the narrow alleys of Venice, maybe because the alleys are too narrow for trashcans to be placed. Instead the residents collect their overnight garbage in garbage bag and leave in on the street in front of their door for the garbage collector to take it in the morning.
After a few streets of walking we came across a cafe named ‘India caffe’, and a group of local old people having their morning coffee and chatting in very laid back jolly mood. It was fairly late in the morning and it seemed like they have been sitting and talking here for hours, and probably they do it every single morning. What a graceful easy-going lifestyle!
After a sometime of walking randomly we reached to the Via Garibaldi or Garibaldi street which is one of the widest street of Venice. Street is very well-know and UNESCO-listed for it renaissance style residences, museums and palaces.
At the start of Via Garibaldi, we noticed floating fruits and vegetables shop on a boat tied to the railings where fresh stuffs were available. Also near the street there were a lot of fish shops selling freshly caught fish of the morning. This reminded me of the morning fish markets of Bengal where typical Bengalees go every morning to buy freshly caught fish. In Venice there also a big fish market near the Grand Canal which also looks similar to the Bengali fish markets.
At the end of Garibaldi street, we sat for a while and enjoyed the view of main attractions of Venice that could be seen from there in distance.
Then we took a Vaporetto again to the island of Giudecca and on the way we passed near the island of San Giorgio where the church of San Giorgio Maggiore is located with its magnificent white facade. Also from the distance we had a beautiful view of Doge’s Palace and San Marco Campanile or the bell tower of San Marco.
Getting down at the stop ‘Zitelle’, we walked for a bit and found a magnificent Villa overlooking the water.
Next we walked back through wonderful stone-paved wide streets and vibrant courtyards. The fairly sized courtyards equipped with flower bushes and plant on pots, gives a pleasant sense of neighbourhood lifestyle among the local residents.
Afterwards we visited the marvellous church named ‘Il Redentore’ which has very exquisite white marbles on its facade. It was built after the epidemic plague of 16th century was over.
Taking the Vaporetto we reached to the other side to the Chiesa dei Gesuati (Jesuit Church) on Zattere stop. This church also had ravishing looks and as we approached towards it from the water, it gave a feeling like going to the “House of Black and White” as seen on the ‘Game of Thrones’
After visiting the church we walked around in Venice for few more hours. We visited Gallerie dell’Accademia (Accademia Art Gallery) and then had lunch. Afterwards we went to Ferrovia, which is a very impressive looking rail station of Venice and crossed Ponte della Costituzione or Calatrava Bridge which is very elegant contemporary looking bridge over the Grand Canal, designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava and it contrasts well with the ancient looks of Venice. Then we reached Piazzale Roma and instead of spending money on ‘People Mover’ (electronic train), we walked for 5 mins and reached to Tronchetto, where we took our bus back to Milan. Thus, ended the first amazing trip to Venice.
This blog was originally written on 'renegade journeys'