After Florence, our next stop is Venice: We had decided during our trip planning that it would be logical to turn in the rental car in Florence, and take the train to Venice. This is because cars are not allowed in Venice, and the only place to park is on the mainland and no parking anywhere else.
Venice was historically an independent nation and the capital of the Serenissima Venetian Republic for more than a thousand years and known because of this as the "Serenissima". Venice is world-famous for its canals it is built on an archipelago of 118 islands formed by about 150 canals in a shallow lagoon.
Due to Venice's "pedestrian only" environment, you will have to move about by foot, gondola or "water taxi". Because there are also other islands located nearby that you may want to visit, you will need a book that details how to get around the area and how to do it. Here is one of them.
Stazione di Santa Maria Novella
We are waiting for the train to Venice to be ready to board, we got here a bit early because we
turned the rental car in and then had to get ourselves over to the train station.
Firenze Santa Maria Novella (in English Florence Santa Maria Novella) or Stazione di Santa Maria Novella (IATA: ZMS) is a terminus railway station in Florence, Italy. The station is used by 59 million people every year and is one of the busiest in Italy.
Venice Santa Lucia Train Station
The travel time from Florence to Santa Lucia station was just a tick over 2 hours, in distance it is 160 miles and the train has to slow down as it crosses the bridge into Venice. This is much simpler than a car would have been !
The train pulls into the Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia in Venice, and our B&B was just a block away
from there, so we were out and about pretty quickly exploring. That is the Scalzi Bridge
behind us on the right.
It is important to remember that Venice is on an island, sitting in a lagoon, and it is an ancient city. There are no cars, only very narrow walking lanes, and a city map is a "gotta have" or you will get lost for sure!
A very typical "canal scene" as we walked through Venice. As you walk about Venice, you will pass by scenes like this everywhere you may go. Venice has approximately 26 miles of canals, so this type of scene can be found around every corner!
Our Local Wine Shop
This wine shop was located on the Rio Terà Lista di Spagna (in the Campo San Geremia) just down the street from our hotel. Celeste and I would walk down here for an adult beverage before dinner time.
Are You Done Yet?
Our kids, waiting for us to finish our adult beverages. OK, this really didn't take that long, but in this case, they were hungry and wanted to go get some dinner!
Grand Canal Water Taxis
Canal water taxi on the Grand Canal. This is a great way to get around, and cost effective as well.
We took a water taxi over to Murano Faro, and visited this glass blowing factory. Touristy? Yes, but it was an interesting exhibition.
The Rialto Bridge as it crosses the Grand Canal. This is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Connecting the sestieri (districts) of San Marco and San Polo, it has been rebuilt several times since its first construction as a pontoon bridge in the 12th century, and is now a significant tourist attraction in the city.
Saint Mark's Basilica
This is the plaza in front of Saint Mark's Basilica ("Piazza San Marco"). There has been an "open space" in front of a church here since 819AD, however, the plaza was constructed by Sebastiano Ziani during his time as Doge of Venice 1172 - 1178 and completed by his son Pietro Ziani when he became Doge in 1205.
Saint Mark's Basilica Pigeons
The birds in this plaza have learned that the tourists will feed them, so they
flock here in the hundreds! The bird population is thought to be over 100,000 which
is larger than the human population of Venice! The city of Venice has made it illegal
to feed the birds to try to reduce the bird population.
Post Edit: Venice Security officials are on the lookout for tourists who attract pigeons - with food - and could come up with anything from a verbal warning to a €700 fine, for the violator. The huge fines have been effective in discouraging the people from feeding the birds. The ban on feeding the pigeons was forced in 2008.
The Maltese Falcon
We had walked down to the where the private yachts tie up and discovered that the "Maltese Falcon" was there. It
is famous due to it being one of the first computer controlled sailing vessels in the world. The Captain tells
the computer system what he wants the sails to do, and everything is done by remote controls & sensors.
The ship has won a number of awards, and has an interesting story about how it was built. To read the full story Click here
As we walked about the city, we were able to see various aspects of life there that have to be seen to fully comprehend. Take a look at our Venice Image Gallery to see all of our other images.
Gardaland is an amusement park located in northeastern Italy. Opened 19 July 1975, the resort includes Gardaland Park, Gardaland Sea-Life, and the Gardaland Hotel. It is adjacent to Lake Garda, but does not actually face the water. The entire complex covers an area of 445,000 m2 (4,789,940 sq ft), while the theme park alone measures 200,000 m2 (2,152,782 sq ft). Sporting both traditional attractions and entertainment shows, it attracts nearly 3 million visitors every year.
Gardaland Amusement Park
We surprised our children by declaring one day in Venice a "fun day" and we took them by
train (we did not take an auto to Venice) to Gardaland from Venice. This is an easy train ride
from Venice, and it is adjacent to Lago di Garda.
Word of caution here though; you need to be able to translate the Park signs from Italian to English, otherwise you will have no idea of what the ride is about, etc.
Read the Park Signs
Remember what I said earlier about being able to read the signs? We kept our "Italian Phrase Book" constantly at the ready as we walked about.
The entire park was beautifully maintained, with many ornate flower beds and sculpted bushes & trees. The park is 64 acres in size, but everywhere we went the grounds were immaculate.
The park has a total of 32 rides, including seven roller coasters and three water rides.
Lido di Venezia for a day at the beach.
Lido is a 11 kilometer long and narrow barrier island which gets wider in its northern tract. At least half the seaward coast has sandy beaches. Much of the beach at the town of Lido belongs to various hotels. There are large public beaches towards the northern and southern ends.
The Lido is Venice’s relaxed seaside resort. In winter, this thin strip of land has a quiet, workaday vibe, while the population swells in summer, with visitors and day trippers relaxing on the beach and children playing in the shallow water.
Lido is home to the Venice Film Festival - an annual festival that aims to raise awareness and promote international cinema in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. For more information click here to go to their Website.
- The 2007 Italy Trip Overview & Guide We started in started in Rome, took a train to Florence where we rented a car to see more of central Italy, then took a train to Venice. Click here to read more.
- Rome, Italy Rome was our first stop on this trip, and it is a historic and fascinating to explore, click here to read more.
- Florence, Italy We took a train to Florence from Rome and then explored Florence, Sienna, Livorno, Pisa and Maranello & the Ferrari facilities there. Click here to read more.
- Venice, Italy Turned in the rental car in Florence and took the train to Venice. Click here to read more.
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