How do I begin to describe Venice? Do I start with how the streets intermingle with the ocean? Or do I start with the overwhelming presence of something bigger when you step a single foot into each historical church? The answer is simple: there is no good place to start because there is no possible way to rank how incredible the city is. There is no way to think of Venice objectively because Venice is a feeling.
To preface: I have family in Venice which was a large reason why I picked it as a destination. One of the perks of coming to Greece is it’s proximity to Italy and the opportunity to visit family. When I arrived to Venice, I feeling of relief fell upon me. I was about to spend four days with people that felt like home.
For starters, the small towns outside of the main city are something to be seen. These towns possess so much character and personality that they might as well be people. Treviso and Carole were two towns we visited that were filled with art, history, and laughter. Treviso had a small river flowing between the streets with photography tracing the sides of the water which made you want to keep walking as to continue the story that the photos were telling. Black and white pictures somehow made the entire town colorful.
At the end of the trip we visited Carole which was a beautiful town on the coast with a beautiful church in line with a tower that made the skyline light up even in the dark. At the town’s center there was a small festival going on for children. There were bulks of grade schoolers laughing, running, and playing games with their families which made me feel like in the midst of a world that is growing up too fast, there are still spots where childhood remains innocent and for lack of a better word – fun.
Now to the good stuff: Downtown Venezia.
Venice was like no other. Ten minutes outside of the main train station, it was like modernity stopped. Cars and trucks were non existent and boats took over the domain. Everything you could think of: police, ambulances, grocery stores, construction supplies – all brought to you by boat.
Some people might say that I didn’t get the full effect because when I went it was raining, but I would disagree. There was something perfect about the way that rain drops hit the flowing waters connected to the streets. The rain only made everything come together, almost full circle. In my opinion, Venice was meant for rain.
We wondered from place to place, shop to shop, just drinking the culture in. One of the big item tickets in Venice are the masquerade masks that are worn during the Venetian Carnival in February. Due to my childhood obsession with Phantom of the Opera, I bought one. I then learned from the clerk at the shop that the mask I bought stood for feminine strength – needless to say, I think I invested in a meaningful purchase.
We then Went to San Marco’s Square. This basilica could do no greater justice to God. It was incredible. Marble slid across the entire structure with carvings of saints and biblical figures that almost seemed as if they could speak out at any moment. Inside was nothing less than a sanctuary to everyone who entered. The warmness of the colors and paintings reached every person who entered the building – Christian or not.
Ever hear of Murano Glass? In case you haven’t, it’s glass that is hand made by many locals on the Venetian island of Murano. This island’s pride is the art of glass making. The products made of this glass are endless. They include but are not limited to: jewelry, ornaments, trinkets, masks, wine corks, beer openers, chandeliers, magnets – you name it. At the end of our time in Murano, we got to see a man make a glass in less than five minutes by hand. Talk about patience…
Burano takes first place between the two islands. The specialty on this island is lace and textiles. The difference between the lace there and the lace in let’s say…pottery barn, is that these are all hand made. Being that they are hand made, they are not mass produced, which means that no two are the same, you get an unique piece of art. The buildings on this island are all colorful and full of life. It was most comparable to a game of Candy Land. Every twist and turn of the streets were filled with each possible combination of rainbow shades.
Something I realized…
The best part of this whole experience was going home to my family. At the end of a perfect day, the only thing that could complete it further is being around people that love you. When we went back to the town after our day trip, my aunt and uncle asked what I did, my favorite part, and wanted to see my pictures. Even though I was far away from Chicago, this trip showed me that there’s no place like home.