There are places, all over the world, that take your breath away. Venice is potentially the most unique of those places. Surrounded by water and on the verge of extinction, this beautiful city opens its heart to you. The locals bare it all, they open the door to explore their city. And with an infrastructure that requires tourism and the water to survive, Veniitians show you how they live with and among the elements that threaten them at every corner.
Visiting Venice for Just 48 Hours
We arrived in Venice mid-morning, having absolutely no idea what we were doing. we knew that Venice had water taxis because the city is essentially flooded. But we didn’t know was that they only use water taxis or water buses. The city of Venice is made up of one hundred different islands! Even after years of wanting to visit, you can feel completely lost.
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That first night in Venice yielded a sunset that was too beautiful for words. It was a majestic moment when nothing can possibly be wrong in the world. It was a great first night visiting Venice. The sunset felt like a wonderful omen for the busy day to come. Typically, we take a week to really enjoy a location, but this time we had a very fast, tourism filled 48 hours. And it was wonderful.
A Day in the Life of a Venetian
Today, the people in Venice are mostly tourists. Only about 11,000 Venetians (born and raised) are still located in Venice. The other 230,000 people that claim Venice as home are foreign transplants. The city is stunning, but daily life for an average person must be quite difficult. The cost of living is astronomical. Access to supermarkets and stores of sustenance are hard to come by. The livelihood of Venice is entirely dependent upon tourism and therefore, so are most of the jobs for locals.
Tour guides typically steer people away from heavy tourism areas and activities, but Venice is definitely an exception. You need to see them, you need to walk the alleys and ride the boats. Search high and low for a local and ask them questions, the Venetians are incredibly hospitable people. Go see the lace makers and glassmakers so that you can say you saw Venice in its original glory.
Must-See Things in Venice when Visiting for 48 Hours or Less
There are so many things to see and do in Venice, you can’t possibly do them all. Here are some ideas!
The Gondola rides are a must. Even though you take a waterbus everywhere, it’s still a different experience. It was awe-inspiring. We found ourselves gliding along a quiet canal and we could have been the only people in the city at that moment.
Leonardo Davinci Museum
We really enjoyed the Da Vinci Exhibition on San Croce Island, which is a chain exhibition. Therefore, there is a Da Vinci exhibition in Venice, Florence, and Milan. All the Italian locations that Leonardo once called home. It is a hands-on science exhibition of models of all of Leonardo Da Vinci’s machine sketches. The models were made from the plans Da Vinci drew in his notebook.
Murano and Burano Islands
These two islands are home to some of Europe’s most famous craftsmen. The glassmakers and the Venetian lace makers are so renowned that over the centuries they have developed techniques that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. As one of the original artistic meccas of Europe, Venice showcases its unique talents everywhere. The windows of shops are full of blown glass figurines and natural paint pigments that most of the world would have no idea what to do with.
Truly incredible artistic traditions that we are quickly losing. With a huge step away from tradition with Millennials and Generation X, the lace-making and glass blowing techniques of old are almost gone. It’s very possible this tradition will be gone within our lifetime.
What About the Water in Venice?
Venice as a whole is quickly sinking, but the government has stepped up and has designed a series of gates to help prevent excess flooding during the rainy winters. They are working on building these huge creations and hopefully will be able to prolong the inevitable for another millennium.
Very recently, Italy passed a Global Warming Bill to help prevent more damage to its Northern cultures. This bill was passed simultaneously as winter storms ravaged Venice and parts of Florence. Irreversible damage was done to Florence and whether the city will be able to recover is still to be determined. This place of utmost perfection will be the Atlantis of our lifetime.
We are on the verge of losing history and culture that helped begin the renaissance. Some of the greatest minds in history originated from Venice. The people, lifestyle, artistry, and culture that was born and cultivated from this region are irreplaceable. Go see it while you can. Absorb it so you can tell your grandchildren about the Venetians.
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Photo Credit: Lydia Bradbury