20 Great Things to do in Venice 11/20 – Buy a Gondola!

Ok not a real Gondola but the best thing after that. Alberto Penzo in his wonderful shop  at S Polo 2681 sells amazing Venetians boats reproductions, not the tacky plastic ones you see walking around, we are talking about real gondolas! The Venetian lagoon has a well-established ship-building tradition. Couple that with an intense passion for boat making and you have a stunning collection of gondola model boat kits constantly in production and on sale.

Gilberto Penzo, born in Chioggia in 1954 from a family of craftsmen and shipbuilders, lives in Venice where for many years he has been conducting a vast research, gathering and organizing information about traditional Venetian boats. Explanations and direct examples of the last remaining gondola builders (squerariòi), surveys of ancient templates and patterns, and - in ideal cases - the direct measurement of intact boats, are the sources which allow the author to reconstruct their forms and the construction methods used. These have given rise to a series of books, construction plans, models for museums and private collections, restorations ans reconstructions of boats.With a group of friends who share the same interest, he founded the association Arzanà in 1992 which specializes in the study and conservation of historical Venetian boats.

If you are not coming to Venice soon you can get them here

20 Great Things to do in Venice 9/20 – Tour the Lagoon

If you're spending more than a few days in Venice, take time to visit the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. Explore the famous islands of  - Murano, Burano and Torcello - on a half-day or full day excursion. You'll see  glass-blowing display on Murano, shop for lace on Burano, be lost in the wonderful colours of Burano and visit Venice's first church on the tranquil island of Torcello. This tour is a great introduction to the magical islands of the Venetian lagoon Burano Venice  Colours and lights of Burano...HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call our offices in Milan at (+39) 02 400 47313 or London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi)

You'll reach the islands on water buses operated by ACTV, the Venice public-transportation company best place will be from Fte Nove. Allow a full day for the entire excursion, or half a day if you skip one of them.

ACTV's lagoon water buses can be crowded during peak season, on weekends, or if local groups of senior citizens or schoolchildren are travelling between the islands. If crowds bother you, or if you're unwilling to stand on a moving boat when seats aren't available, consider one of these alternatives:

  • Take an escorted tour of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. This half-day tour is more expensive than a tour by public transportation, but it's worth considering if your schedule is tighter than your budget. The trip is offered by Viator, our sightseeing-tour partner.
  • Hire a water taxi by the half-day or day, which could easily cost several hundred euros. If you want the services of a private guide, try a customized lagoon itinerary from WalksInsideVenice or the Venice Tourist Guides Association and let the guide arrange transportation.

Tips:

  • Organized tours don't give you much time on the islands, so we'd recommend traveling independently unless you're in a hurry or have limited mobility.
  • Instead of buying individual tickets for the boat trips between the islands, buy a 12-hour to 7-day  tourist card at any Hellovenezia or ACTV ticket booth. (See our Vaporetto Fares article.) Or order the tourist office's Venice Connected pass before you leave home, if you can figure out the byzantine pricing scheme.
  •  If you have access to the Internet during your trip, you can check boat schedules at the official ACTV Web site.

Pick a number. The Venice waterbuses

Venice's vaporetti (singular - vaporetto), or water buses, are the public transportation of Venice and for the Venetian Lagoon. I have posted a Printable Map here. Vaporetti take visitors along the main canals, to the islands, and around the lagoon. Although often crowded, they are by far the least expensive way to get around (other than walking). If you're visiting Venice, sooner or later you'll probably find yourself on a vaporetto!The single vaporetto fare is a steep 6.50 euro (good for one hour from the time it's stamped) but if you plan to spend much time on the vaporetto system, it's wise to buy a travelcard that can be bought at any vaporetto ticket office. Travelcards are good for both water and land transport in the Venice area (land services on the Lido and in Mestre). Here are prices :

  • 18,00 € - 12-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 20,00 € - 24-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 25,00 € - 36-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 30,00 € - 48-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 35,00 € - 72-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 50,00 € - 7 DAYS TRAVELCARD

Recently, ACTV announced a renumbering of several vaporetto lines, effective November 2, 2011. Here's a handy chart to help make the transition. I can't even imagine what kind of havoc this is going to cause with all the maps of Venice having the old numbering system on them.

What do I really think about MOSE

he MOSE (MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, Experimental Electromechanical Module) is a project intended to protect the city of Venice, Italy from floods. The project is an integrated defense system consisting of rows of mobile gates able to isolate the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when the tide reaches above an established level (110 cm) and up to a maximum of 3 m (9.8 ft). Together with other complementary measures such as coastal reinforcement, the raising of quaysides and paving and improvement of the lagoon environment, these barriers will protect the city of Venice from extreme events such as floods and from morphological degradation. Work on the project has been under way since 2003 at the three lagoon inlets of Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia, the gaps connecting the lagoon with the sea and through which the tide ebbs and flows. The project is being executed by engineers at FIat

In 2006, the incoming government of Romano Prodi announced that the project was "under review" for budgetary reasons. However, the project was reinstated the following year.

 (Marco Secchi)

38th Venice Vogalonga

The Vogalonga is an act of love for Venice and its waters, for its lagoon and its islands, for rowing and its boats. The Vogalonga retains over time its original purpose: to disseminate knowledge, awareness and respect for the essence and culture of our city. The Vogalonga is a celebration for the entire ‘people of the oar,’ and today, just as in the beginning, it is a peaceful testimony against the wave-motion, so dangerous for the city and the lagoon.

More images can be found here

The Vogalonga is a non-competitive race  where any kind of rowing craft can take part, and rowers take over the lagoon and canals. This year,at the 38th Vogalonga, there were a record 6.500 participants, in over 1.700 boats (Marco Secchi)

How does Venice work?

Venice, Italy, “stretching across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy,” may be one of the most amazing places in the world to live. Fans of Donna Leon’s fictional detective Guido Brunetti come to know it as a land of good food, water taxis and alleys that dead-end at the water.

Venice Backstage. How does Venice work? from Insula spa on Vimeo.

Having said that Venice is not just a stage set. It is also a city with a resident population, which has productive activities, transportation and services. But how does the “Venice system” work? How do the tides in the lagoon behave? How are the canals formed? And the embankments? What’s under the buildings?

 

Red Light (Spells Danger)

Venice 25th October A light in the "Canale Petroli" in the Venice lagoon is seen on on a stormy weather day HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi) While sailing in the Lagoon at the entrance of  "Canale dei Petroli" I saw the two lights for the tankers. The red one caught my attention and reminded me the Billy Ocean song......

Red light spells danger Can't hold out much longer Cos red light means warning Can't hold out I'm burning No, no, no

It is estimated that one third of a large oil tanker's load would be enough to provoke a true ecological disaster in the lagoon and also in the Adriatic coast. The presence of oil tankers is thus an enormous risk for the lagoon of Venice.

Frozen Venice Lagoon....today

Italy as most of Europe is under a spell of very cold weather, it is more than 20 years since the Venice Lagoon last froze, so today I took some pictures for my agency...you can see them here if you are interested.I wrote before about the 1929 frozen lagoon and is here VENICE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 05:  A general view of the Canal of Cannaregio partially frozen on February 5, 2012 in Venice, Italy. Italy as most of Europe is under a spell of very cold weather, it is more than 20 years aince the Venice Lagoon last froze.  (Photo by Marco Secchi/Getty Images) (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

The bull has arrived

A huge bull, Carnival 2012 Allegory, has arrived in Venice. The Allegory is inspired by ancient rites of the venetian lagoon, linked to the antique celebration of the bulls. The Bull will be Venice carnival main symbol, until the last day, Tuesday the 21st, when the Bull will become the protagonist of a ritual of “sacrifice”. VENICE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 04:  A gondola sails on the Grand Canal at Punta della Dogana where a model of a giant bull - the 2012 edition symbol - has been placed on February 4, 2012 in Venice, Italy. The Carnival of Venice (Carnevale di Venezia) is an annual festival and starts 40 days before Easter and ends on Shrove Tuesday ( Martedì Grasso). (Photo by Marco Secchi/Getty Images) (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

The tradition of the Bull The Carnival of Venice 2012 wants to recall one of the episodes about the history and tradition of the real meaning of "feast" in Venice. In 1162, the patriarch of Aquileia, Urlico from Teffen, allied to some pro-imperial feudatories in the Friuli and occupied the flourishing salt plans of Grado, forcing  Enrico Dandolo to escape. Dandolo, patriarch of Grado fled to Venice, where he asked for help. The Doge of Venice, Vitale Michiel II, answered to this assault by besetting and conquering Aquileia and making Ulrico, the patriarch of Aquileia, his prisoner, along with 12 landowners and 12 clergy. To regain his freedom, Patriarch agreed to submit to any lien: venetians asked Aquileia Patriarch, every year, in the occasion of  Maundy Thursday, to deliver them one bull, 12 breads and 12 pigs to use for a public show in the square.

In the morning of Maundy Thursday, a venetian "tauromachia" (bullfight) took place; during this ritual, the "corpo de' Fabbri"  who had distinguished themselves in battles against Ulrico, had the had the privilege to cut the head of the bull using spears and scimitars, for the glory of the town and Venice.

The traditional event, one of the first to be institutionally included in the Carnival of Venice, was abolished in 1520 by Doge Andrea Gritti, but was revived from 1550 until the fall of the "Serenissima in one version of bullfighting, but without the 12 pigs that do not "were decorated Lordship to ours. "

 

Frozen Venice Lagoon

Does the Venice lagoon ever freeze?? If you are looking for pictures of the Frozen Venice Lagoon Feb 2012 check here

These days everybody is talking about how cold is in Italy and in Venice. But in 1929 in February to be precise the Venice lagoon froze for few days!

 

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20 Great Things to do in Venice 1/20 - Gondola

Get around in a gondola

So obvious. No trip to Venice would be complete without a punt down one of the city's picturesque canals in a traditional gondola. The Istituzione per la Conservazione della Gondola e Tutela del Gondoliere (Gondola Board; 041 528 5075, www.gondolavenezia.it) website has recommended itineraries. Prices below are for the hire of the gondola, for six passengers or less.

8am-7pm €80 for 40mins; €40 for each additional 20mins. 7pm-8am €100 for 40mins; €50 for each additional 20mins.

 (Marco Secchi)

Large Cruise Ships in Venice

UPDATE 12/1/2012A new protest has been called for the 14th January at 3:30 pm details are here but will be from Le Zattere near the waterbus stop!

VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 18:  A protester holds  a flare in front of a banner as they protest against large cruise ships in St Mark's basin on December 18, 2011 in Venice, Italy. Venetians and Environmentalists are opposed to cruise ships, which plough through the shallow Venetian lagoon, damaging the fragile buildings and canal banks. (Marco Secchi)

This evening saw a protest in St Mark's Basin against the super Cruises. In the picture a protester holds a flare while on the banner is written "BIG CRUISES YOU KILL ME"

Giorgio Orsoni Mayor of Venice few days ago said cruise ships could be transferred to Porto Marghera, on the mainland, in order to minimise their environmental and aesthetic impact on Venice.

Environmentalists and heritage groups have long pointed out that as cruise ships plough through the shallow Venetian lagoon, their powerful wake and undertow damages the fragile canal banks, wooden piles and mud banks on which the city rests.

There has been a huge increase in the number of cruise ships visiting 'La Serenissima', as Venice is known, from 200 in 2000 to 510 in 2007.

Last year 1.6 million tourists arrived in Venice by cruise ship, a more than fourfold increase since 1997.

Venice's cruise ship terminal was the 10th busiest in Europe but is now the fourth most popular.

The Mascareta

Images from Venice  - Fotografie di Venezia...***Agreed Fee's Apply To All Image Use***.Marco Secchi /Xianpix.tel +44 (0)207 1939846.tel +39 02 400 47313. e-mail sales@xianpix.com.www.marcosecchi.com (Marco Secchi) The mascareta is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian Lagoon. For centuries gondolas were the chief means of transportation and most common water craft within Venice. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in the city, serving as traghetti (ferries) over the Grand Canal. They are also used in special regattas (rowing races) held amongst gondoliers. It is similar to punting, except it uses an oar to propel it instead of a pole.

 

Ever changing

The Venetian Lagoon is an ever changing environment. By the sea, by the tides, by nature and especially by men that have sculptured this area since the very beginning.Islands of the Venetian Lagoon...HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi) The Island of San Clemente is an example of this concept on a single relatively small island. A monastery, an hospice, a military barracks, a mental asylum...now a 5* Luxury hotel! What next?

VENICE, ITALY - JULY 07:    A general view of the Island of San Clemente seen during the tour above Venice on July 7, 2011 in Venice, Italy. Seawings has started a new tour of Venice by seaplane, offering aerial views of the Venetian Lagoon and its historic islands, continuing a long history of seaplanes in Venice.  (Marco Secchi)

 

 

Poveglia...Poveglia!

Since moving to Venice, it has been a great desire of mine to visit the mysterious island of Poveglia, with its ruined mental asylum and haunted burial grounds. Finally, yesterday, thanks to two wonderful skippers Luca and Jacopo, and accompanied by fellow journalist and writer Robin Saikia I managed to visit the island. HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call our offices in Milan at (+39) 02 400 47313 or London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi)

For more images check the Poveglia gallery here or as a slideshow

Robin Saikia writes: "Shortly before we left Poveglia, I forced myself to lie on an iron bed in the ruins of the psychiatric ward, recalling the images of the day: the desecrated chapel with the scabrous remains of its cheerful Tiepolo-blue ceiling, the claustrophobic corridors, the rusting beds and lockers, the quay, the bell-tower, the woods, the bridge. I closed my eyes tightly for a few long seconds. When I opened them, I saw a very clear picture of hell..."

The island of Poveglia, with its ruined hospital and plague burial grounds, is said to be the most haunted location in the world. Though the island is a multi-million dollar piece of real estate, it remains deserted and off limits to the public. Its dark, derelict and forbidding shores are only minutes away from the glamour of the Venice Film Festival on the Lido, but there are few visitors. Very few Venetians are prepared to talk about the island or answer questions. They believe that while the rest of Venice is governed by the Comune di Venezia, Poveglia remains firmly in the Devil’s jurisdiction. They see it as a kind of supernatural penitentiary, an outpost of purgatory and hell. This view is captured in an unnerving local saying: quando muore un cattivo, si sveglia a Poveglia; when an evil man dies, he wakes up in Poveglia. I visited the island in August this year with the photographer Marco Secchi. Our account is a drawing together of truth, half-truth, speculation and urban myth. It is based on conversations with local people and our exploration of the island. It is an attempt to make sense of the fear and revulsion that Poveglia continues to provoke, despite the best attempts of sceptics to exorcise its ghosts with the bell, book and candle of reason. (Robin Saikia)

Robin Saikia is the author of the highly acclaimed book, The Venice Lido, recently published by Blue Guides (http://thevenicelido.com). Please contact us to discuss licensing our 4000 word photo documentary of the island, words by Robin Saikia, photography by Marco Secchi. msecchi@gmail.com

Flying above Venice

The Seawings tours are specifically designed to complement your cruise experience, Seawings  encourage you to relax as your guide whisks you away to the historic Island of San Clemente; explore the grounds of the luxurious San Clemente Palace Hotel & Resort and hop on board for memories that will last forever. Providing unparalleled and rarely seen aerial views of the Venetian Lagoon and the islands of San Servolo, San Giorgio Maggiore, Giudecca, Torcello and Lido, Seawings promises you all the excitement in a lot less time.

No other tour provides such a complete picture of the enitire empire of Venezia. Seawings guided sightseeing tour of Venice is truly a unique way to see Venice as never before.

VENICE, ITALY - JULY 07:    A general view of the Venice with Giudecca, San Giorgio Island and the Lagoon seen during the Seawing  tour above Venice on July 7, 2011 in Venice, Italy. Seawings has started a new tour of Venice by seaplane, offering aerial views of the Venetian Lagoon and its historic islands, continuing a long history of seaplanes in Venice.  (Marco Secchi)

How does Venice work?

Venice, Italy, "stretching across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy," may be one of the most amazing places in the world to live. Fans of Donna Leon's fictional detective Guido Brunetti come to know it as a land of good food, water taxis and alleys that dead-end at the water. Having said that Venice is not just a stage set. It is also a city with a resident population, which has productive activities, transportation and services. But how does the “Venice system” work? How do the tides in the lagoon behave? How are the canals formed? And the embankments? What’s under the buildings?

Venice Backstage. How does Venice work? from Insula spa on Vimeo.