Italy: Venezia

This weekend four of us girls took a trip to Venice and Verona and I totally fell in love with both cities.  They have a very different feel than Firenze and it was interesting to see another part of the country since we’ve spent all of our time in Tuscany so far (Venice and Verona are in the Veneto region of Italy).

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We used the water bus to get from the train station to the Rialto dock.

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During different times of the day parts of the city would begin to flood!

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Gondola ride?  We did that.  They gave us a deal (80 Euro), so split four ways it wasn’t too horribly expensive.  Our gondolier pointed out Marco Polo’s house and a few other sights, and it was pretty cool watching how skillfully he was able to maneuver the gondola around the canals.

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St. Mark’s Basilica — I didn’t have enough time to go in here or the Doge’s Palace because we only had one whole day in the city and the lines were insanely long (Since we have our Uffizi cards in Florence I’ve gotten used to getting in the major sights for free and with no wait, so it was actually a bit of a shock how long the lines were!  Clearly we’ve been spoiled!).

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I managed to find some steampunk masks!  I didn’t buy any of the large masks because they were so expensive (and because I wasn’t sure how I would get one home in my suitcase).  I did end up buying two miniature masks in the more traditional style, and one of the shopkeepers was kind enough to give us a bit of a lesson in what they meant.

The Casanova mask is designed in such a way as to create a sort of voice box and was used by men going into gambling establishments or other “nighttime” activities where they might not want to be recognized.  The Plague Doctor mask had a long nose stuffed with herbs to help keep the wearer safe from plague.

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Two of us went to Murano and Burano, the glass and lace production islands, and another girl and I went to Lido, where we rented a two person bike and rode around the island for a couple of hours.  It was a blast — I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard.

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