Is that a good idea to visit Venice in winter?
Calvino says that Venice inspired him when he wrote the fictional cities of “Invisible Cities” book. Venice has been a home for famous artists such as Vivaldi, Bellini through the history, but its first visual entry into my life takes place with “Tomb Raider 2” game. When I was swimming as Lara Croft in the canals, Venice said “Hi” and I took this as “Come here” and I lingered this trip in the somewhere back in my mind. Its invitation came in different ways into our lives but in a way, most of us added to see Venice in our bucket lists.
In December 2018, I saw Venice and celebrated new year at San Marco Square. Venice is indeed beautiful but when the dreams grow disproportionately from the reality, disappointment possibility grows disproportionately too. Don’t misunderstand me, I wasn’t disappointed at all. Venice deserves to be visited. However, you should consider that crowds and narrow streets are often together here.
ARRIVAL TO VENICE
I lined up for passport control, at that exact moment I felt the spiritual atmosphere of the city already. Because the ground was covered with pictures which resemble Byzantine icons of medieval churches. In the 19th century, people could reach to the center of Venice with only gondolas. Today waterway is still one of the options, but a costly one. I’ve chosen the bus number 5 (8 Euros/one way). It took me Piazzale Roma, where bus tickets are sold to reach various destinations in Venice.
WHERE TO STAY?
The famous Grand Canal flows between San Polo and San Marco, the center of the city. Staying in these areas may cost a little expensive. Staying at Mestre or Marghera is a more advantageous choice, because we now live in the 21st century and it is not a big deal to reach to the city center.
Bus number 6 from Piazzale Roma goes to Marghera. One way is 1.5 Euro. The distance varies depending on where you stay, but the average distance is around 10-15 minutes.
4L bus or the tram takes people to Mestre.
WHERE TO SEE
I didn’t follow a map to find the Grand Canal, my instincts dragged me there. The Grand Canal connects San Marco and San Polo with Rialto Bridge. Rialto Bridge is one of the most popular constructions of Venice. Antonio da Ponte is the designer of it, and obviously he did his the best on this work. Like many buildings in Venice, the Istrian stone is the construction material of Rialto Bridge. Istrian stone isn’t marble. It has a non-porous structure and it doesn’t absorb water. This explains how buildings in a city that floats on water managed to survive for hundreds of years.
Famous Opera House in the Tomb Raider has been challenged to centuries since 1792. Translation of La Fenice is Phoenix. The Opera House, as this blazing splendid bird, was born out of the ashes many times. It was under flames at least three times.
LEONARDO DA VINCI MUSEUM
There was a poster on the right side of the entrance of the museum building: “Leonardo can’t be experienced only through history books.” They were right. The museum exhibits drawings and engineering projects of Leonardo Da Vinci.
SCUOLA GRANDE DI SAN ROCCO
It is one of the survived buildings since its establishment in Venice. I didn’t skip this place where culture, art, history, and sanctity are combined.
I ate Gnocchi di Patote Al Pesto Di Basilico. Gnocchi is a potato version of classic pasta. Honestly, it is my favorite taste but I wouldn’t recommend leaving Italy without eating it because it is traditional.
NEW YEAR AT SAN MARCO SQUARE
When I arrived at the square, I felt like I was on a journey in time. I ignored selfie bars as you can guess. At first, I couldn’t decide where to look, where to walk. Symbols of Venice such as San Marco Basilica, Duke’s Palace and Campanile were all standing here. The Celebration was difficult here because of cold and crowd. However, hot wine was the savior.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
1- Respect Venice: You will see this warning often because Venice attracts a lot of tourists and this causes some problems. Venice is a cultural world heritage and a conscious approach towards this fragile city is very important.
2- During small breaks, I recommend choosing local café/bars to have a drink. After all, locals know the best about Italian coffee and wine.
3- Take away prices and the prices of eating and drinking inside are not the same at some bars/cafes. If you’re going to sit down, sit down knowing it.
4- The gondola costs 80 euros. Vaporetto is 7.5 Euro. Traghetto is 2 Euros. All will show you around floating on the canals.
5- You cannot enter the San Marco Basilica with a backpack.
6- Shopping souvenirs at San Polo seems more cost effective. Everything sold in San Marco can be found in San Polo. Don’t buy souvenirs from the shops too close to the Square.
7- If you are attending the celebration in San Marco Square, you should know that the glass bottles are not allowed in the square during the celebration.
8- At times, you can pass through narrow spaces that are not even 1 meter in width. And crowds accompany you.
9- Is that a good idea to visit Venice in winter? Exactly!