Posted by: roamingolivia | March 19, 2010

Venice: the cliches

Today we will generally avoid the most amusing of the pictures I have, regarding recent local elections here, because those are going to be a separate post on Monday. For now, I continue with my shallow, tourist-and-food blog.

I left Milan from the Centrale  Station, which is an imposing structure with fascist architectural influences, and it is still good if you want to feel really, really small:

Then got to my hotel, after a few logistical issues, including the fact that my train stopped at the mainland train station instead of Venice’s train station, but I didn’t really know that and hadn’t properly researched everything in advance. Also, my book (Lonely Planet Italy) doesn’t even mention that it’s a possibility your train will stop at that station, so I walked out and looked around and thought, “Hm, that’s not a canal”, waited briefly for a bus, then assumed that there must be another train to the real Venice station. There was, and I figured out the water taxi system, and got home. The hotel was nice, palazzo-esque:

Basically from here on out, this is a pretty typical Venice blog post, but with some funny parts. Even looking at my pictures from when I was there, I thought to myself that it was funny I’d gone, and funny how it’s pretty much impossible to take anything but the same pictures everyone else has taken in Venice when you’re there. Anyway, here goes:

That’s the water bus stop by our hotel, and this is a water bus: 

Here’s possibly the most cliched picture, but there are other serious contenders:

We didn’t get a gondola ride, by the way. Mostly we spent our time not taking any water-based transport methods, and walking around instead. It was a lovely (if slightly chilly) sunny day, and we also spent 30 minutes sitting on a little wooden pier watching various types of boats.

Anyway, back to the tour. The most touristic site is, as usual, an old church in the San Marco square, which is quite ornate, and then there is an accompanying large bell tower, which apparently collapsed in the early part of the 20th century (more on that in a second). The piazza is nice, but probably crowded with tourists and tourist detritis (T-shirts, etc.) during the summer:

In my opinion, the best thing in the square were the little plaques explaining about the restoration and history of all the things in the square, not because I like to learn (although I do) but because they had these amusing old postcards (which I love):

You can click on those to make them bigger. In the first one, I really like the dresses and hats. The second shows the rubble from the tower. And so when they claim that the tower is really really old, what they mean is that it was old, and then it fell down, and this one is now nearing 100 years old.

In the piazza, there is an American bar, which is amusing. Italy has an interesting relationship to America because of how many immigrants there are, and possibly somehow related to relatively conservative societies (not sure), and anyway all of that is a rambling way of saying: It is amusing there is an American bar (i.e., espresso and gelato, not like a pub) that looks really nothing like America:

Not really American, but looks tasty anyway.

Here’s the next cliched picture:

Here’s the funny thing you might not think about in Venice: It’s difficult to do some normal things. Like, you have to get your post and your printer paper delivered on a boat, too, in the same way you get your main source of money (tourists) delivered:

Funny, right?

We also saw people bringing a chest of drawers onto the water buses, and a private boat that really seemed like someone was moving house.

Back to cliches:

And now we swing wildly back to another popular blog feature: the dog in the sweater. I like this one because it has a really tough-looking guy with a clothed poodle:

And now to “normal life”, where people hang laundry out to dry over picturesque boats:

Another good thing in Venice is how many paper (stationer’s) shops there are, with little journals and notecards and stamps. I love paper, and things made out of paper (especially journals and books), but almost forgot to take a picture, so you just get this kind of difficult-to-see one:

In this one, I like how there’s like a US Revolutionary War hero strolling across the square. I don’t even remember noticing that when I took the picture:

And here’s a relatively modern building:

(Not really exciting, and funny in Venice, but I think it’s a theatre.)

Also able to be filed under “normal life in Venice,” you can see here that there are also stoplights, which is kind of awesome:

… and grocery stores on boats:

Obviously there’s also an on-ground fruit stall next to it (probably the same people),

but why shop there when you can shop here:

Anyway, now we move on to dinner (for lunch we had pasta, but I didn’t take a picture and it wasn’t that photogenic anyway). We went to a trattoria-style place my colleague recommended, Il Nono Risorto, which was delicious and quite Italian (as opposed to “quite touristy”), with a good mix of chaos and loveliness:

I had a rucola and shrimp salad first,

and then monkfish with grilled olives and potatoes. This is pretty much when I learned I don’t really like monkfish. It was too rich or something to be fish. But probably quite good by monkfish standards.

Walking home, we passed a nice display in a shop window of harmonicas:

And the next day we left from the Venice train station:

And, the end. I just discovered I can get two more posts out of this trip for next week, so I will do that. They’ll be short.



  1. We just got back from Venice (we had school holiday in Switzerland this week)…and have the exact same pictures.

    Though I also have a good one of a big screen TV being delivered on a boat in front of a 600 y.o. church. Nice contrast

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