Lost in Venice

There is one thing that I find easy while travelling: getting lost. Finding myself lost in a foreign country was scary at first. But when it happened many times, I took it as an adventure.

The first place that I blissfully got lost was in Venice.  The walk from Venice Santa Lucia Train Station, Ferrovia to Piazza San Marco took me forever.

Venice_buildings

 

Along the way, I took many wrong turns and being alone in a superficial place, I almost cried. Many times I found myself caught in the maze-like narrow lanes and sometimes it seemed like there was no way out. Some of the lanes ended up on someone’s door. But somehow I managed to get to San Marco Square by finding and following the crowd. I swore to myself that time, if I ever come back to Venice, I will bring a map.

And then four years later, there I was back in Venice again, forgot to bring what I supposed to bring. I instead brought a friend, Evi.

“Emila, you’ve been here before, I hope you can take me somewhere nice where we can do plein air drawings,” Evi said.

“Uh-oh,” I replied.

Evi had wanted to sketch Venice since the first day we arrived in Italy. That actually makes the two of us. The last time I went I was so caught up in finding my way around.

And so we took an early train to go to Venice using regional train. Regional train is cheaper but slower than the fast one, costing only Euro 12 to compare to Euro 30. After validating our tickets (failure to do so can result in a fine), we boarded the train.

It was funny how the view along the way was somewhat different from what I saw four years back. Italy has changed a lot, I thought. But that was not the case when the ticket conductor came and check our tickets. He said the train we boarded was not bound to Venice; it was bound to Padua. We panicked and later boarded off the train. We took a train back to Bologna Station (paid extra 10 Euros for our tickets) and then took a correct train to Venice.

Before we boarded the train, I told Evi, if we ever got lost in Venice, we should find a hotel to sleep and find our way back to our base in Bologna the next day. She agreed as she could not do much about it as I was the so-called ‘expert’.

We reached Venice at about 11.30 am and first thing we saw was a Moleskine shop! We dropped in and bought each ourselves a Moleskine Sketchbook. We already had bought some in KL but we just need to add one each from Venice. Moleskine is an Italian company based in Milan. Moleskine products include sketchbooks, notebooks, planners, diaries and many more.  The design of the current Moleskine sketchbooks were based on sketchbooks designed by a small family-run French bookbinder in Tours, France almost two centuries ago. They produced it for stationery shops around France. However, in mid 80s, it had discontinued production after the death of the owner. So, I reckon that the last owner was unmarried and was the only child of the last generation – seems logical, right?

venice_moleskine

After Moleskine, it was lunch! We were super hungry since we just had a slice of bread and a cup of espresso for breakfast before we left for Venice.

Venice_lunch

Funny thing was, I seemed to know where to go. We did not cross the canal, but instead just walked along Carnareggio (the lane on the left side of the Santa Lucia Train Station) to find a place to eat. We found a halal restaurant called Trattoria All’Aquila. Evi had Penne al Pomodoro while I had Spaghetti alle Vongole. Evi sketched her lunch first. I could not draw with empty stomach so I decided to draw later after I finished my lunch.

Then we just followed our feet around Venice to admire beautiful buildings and found a spot to draw at Campo S. Sofia, off Carnareggio main lane. The buildings are all so beautiful.

venice_draw03

Luigi Barzini described Venice as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man” in The New York Times. I have to agree him because every building appealed to me, not to mention picture-perfect. I could go on taking pictures of all buildings one by one. But I was there to draw, so I only managed to cover little part of it.

Our trip went smooth, it was windy and cold but we managed to stop by another location to do a drawing before following the crowd to get to the ferry station at San Marco Square to get back to Santa Lucia Station and then to Bologna.

We missed many touristy spots namely Rialto (where I got lost on my first trip), Murano, Burano and Torcello but we didn’t mind. As long as we set foot anywhere in Venice and drew something, that was good enough. Having Evi with me on this trip gave me the strength and confidence to stop worrying too much about getting lost.

Things_Venice

On the night train back to Bologna, Evi told me, “Emila, although we only discovered 5% of Venice today, I think if we ever come back to Italy, I don’t want to go to Venice. I want to discover the place that we got lost earlier today. You remember the signboard at the train station where we boarded off?”

“Yes, you mean Montselice?” I replied.

“Yes, that’s the one.”

“Sure Evi, getting lost in Montselice sounds like a great idea. I’m getting the hang of it,” I remember telling her before I dozed off to the sound of the regional train moving slowly towards Bologna.

[This article appears in Gaya Travel magazine, issue 9.4.]

 

Credit references:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moleskine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice

 

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Venice

Evi had wanted to sketch Venice. Me too. And so we took the earlier train to go to Venice using regional train. Regional train is cheaper than the fast one; Euro 12 to compare to Euro 30. We reached Venice at about 11am and on the way to the toilet we saw a Moleskine shop! We dropped by the shop later and bought each ourselves a Moleskine Sketchbook.

venice_moleskine

So first thing Venice was Moleskine. Next was lunch! We were super hungry as we just had a slice of bread and a cup of espresso for breakfast. Evi had Penne al Pomodoro while I had Spaghetti alle Vongole. Evi sketched her lunch first, haha! I could not draw with empty stomach so I decided to draw later after I finished my lunch.

venice_darw01

Then we walked around Venice to admire beautiful buildings and find a spot to draw. Luigi Barzini described Venice as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man” in The New York Times. I have to agree him because every building appealed to me, not to mention picture-perfect. I could go on taking pictures of all buildings one by one.

I let my photos do all the talking below :

venice_archie

venice_people

venice_archi02

venice_archi01

Venice is a city in north-eastern Italy situated on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.

The name Venice is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. Venice has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe’s most romantic cities.

venice_pisato
Remember the hotel in Tourist movie? The orange building is the façade of the hotel in the movie. The building is called Palazzo Pisato Moretta. It is actually a palace. 

And here are two more drawings I made of Venice:

venice_draw02

venice_draw03

Getting to Venice: KLM operated 2 time(s) daily from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Venice Marco-Polo (VCE).

 

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Art & Places: Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, Venice, Italy

When I visited Venice, I saw this one huge monument and it says “I. MAGGIO MDCCCLXXXVII”. I can only read the last 6 Roman numbers (37) but not sure about the rest. So, I Google-d.

From my research on the Internet, in Roman numerals, MDCCCL means M=1000, D=500, C=100 (CCC = 100 x 3); L=50. It sums up to 1850. 1850 + 37 = 1887. So, the Roman letterings I.Maggio MDCCCLXXXVII means 1 May 1887. Must be a year of significant for Venice, or Italy in general.

So what happened in May 1887? And why does a monument bears the date?

Well, a lot of things happened in Italy in May 1887 and one that relates to the statue was an inauguration date. The monument above was inaugurated in May 1st, 1887. The monument was made to honour Vittorio Emmanuele II, the first king of a United Italy. It is located on the Riva degli Schiavoni waterfront in the Castello district of Venice (Venezia), Italy. There are several of them in other cities in Italy.

The bronze equestrian monument is 125 years old and was sculpted by Ettore Ferrari. Ferrari was born to an artistic family. He was a professor at the Accademia di San Luca, a deputy in the Italian Parliament and Grand Master of the Grande Oriente d’Italia. He sculpted many other statues around Italy.

Now, knowing a history behind a monument or statue, or better known as public art, is more significant. Although I could not gather the information during my visit to Venice, I am glad I took pictures and made the effort to find the history of this monument. Here are more pictures of the monument.


 Credit: most informations are from Wikipedia.org.

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Get lost in Venice

Italy was the first foreign country I visited. I remember how I was so busy getting some illustrations done that I did not have the time to search the Internet for places of interest, let alone to go out and buy a map or book about Italy.

One of the places that I blissfully got lost in, was Venice. The only way to see Venice is by walking. Of course there are gondolas and boats to view Venice from the canals but walking is the best way to explore Venice, even that means it bundles with a guarantee that you will get lost.

The walk from Venice Santa Lucia Train Station, Ferrovia to Piazza San Marco took me more than two hours. Along the way, I took many wrong turns and being alone in a superficial place, I almost cried. Many times I found myself caught in the maze-like lanes and sometimes it seemed like there was no way out. Some of the lanes ended up on someone’s door.

narrow lanes

To handle this situation, I tried to find the crowd and follow them. Eventually, they indirectly helped me arrived at some well-known attractions in Venice.

First well-known place I met was Campo San Polo. Campo San Polo is the largest Campo in Venice, Italy, the second largest Venetian public square. This square was then used as the scene of bullfights, mass sermons and masked balls. It remains to this day as one of the most popular Carnival venues and is also used for open air concerts and screenings during the Venice Film Festival.

campo san polo

Campo San Polo

From Campo San Polo, I followed a sign that says Per Rialto and Per Piazza San Marco.

the way to rialto

Along the way, I came across a Gothic façade. I looked closely and found out that it’s called Chiesa De San Polo, a nineteenth century church that also has a museum of Venetian works.

sestier de san polo

Chiesa De San Polo

After Chiesa De San Polo, I passed another building called Chiesa Di S. Giacomo Apostolo. The Venetians call it the Church of S. Giacometto and is the oldest church in Venice. It was built in 1071 and the 24-hour clock was put up in 1410 and restored in 1749.

chiesa s.giacomo

Chiesa Di S. Giacomo Apostolo

I finally reached Rialto, thanks to the signs.

Rialto

Rialto was the first harbour of Venice and today it is the financial and commercial centre of Venice and is situated in the district of San Polo Sestiere. Rialto is known for its markets and bridge that connects the districts of San Polo and San Marco across the Grand Canal in the heart of the city is the Rialto Bridge. This bridge has always been a busy crossing in Venice. But instead of being crowded with merchants like during Venice’s heyday, the bridge is now swamped by tourists. Well, I added to the statistic last year. Who wouldn’t want to snap a photo by this bridge? I was doing a favour for another tourist and later she offered to take my photo with my camera. How could I resist such temptation as all my photos were missing ME. Haha.

me at rialto bridge

After buying some gifts from Rialto Market, I walked on with the crowd and finally reached Piazza San Marco, the principal public square in Venice. The Piazza is dominated at its eastern end by the great St Mark’s Basilica. The west façade of the basilica is decorated with great arches and marble decorations,  Romanesque carvings round the central doorway and, above all, the four horses which preside over the piazza and are such potent symbols of the pride and power of Venice.

st mark's basilica

St’ Mark’s basilica west façade.

After that, I was just wandering aimlessly along the piazetta and took a picture of me using remote control and tripod, near the jetty. There are many attractions along the piazetta  which includes Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Campanile, Hard Rock Cafe and many more.

me at piazetta

Me smiling to my camera.

The Doge’s Palace is a gothic palace in Venice, Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice. The Doge’s Palace, Venice, has façade which dated from 1309-1424, designed by Giovanni and Bartolomeo Buon.

Doge's Palace

Anyway, after taking many photos, I realised that it was already 4pm. I quickly walked to find the way I came only to be lost again in the mazes-like lanes, which seemed to become more narrower.

where am I?

I managed to find my way back to the jetty after making few rounds at the same area. I took a ride on the ferry to save time as I had to catch the train back to Bologna which would take me 2 hours to reach. By 6pm, Bologna would already be dark.

venice view from the ferry

 

The ferry ride from St. Mark’s Basin to Santa Lucia Station was great as I get to experience the ride through Grand Canal. The banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which dated back to 13th to the 18th century and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice.

Grand Canal, Venice

Although I got lost, I cherished every moment of my walking experience in Venice and would always look at my photo albums just to feel the feeling I had back there.

If you are up to it, do not bring any map or GPS. Just go with the flow and enjoy Venice! Don’t forget to take a lot of pictures and take note the name of buildings or vias.

 

 

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Italy: Day 07 – Venezia Santa Lucia

Better known as Venice, Venezia Santa Lucia is dubbed as one of the most romantic cities in the world. Being about two hours ride by train from Bologna, I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. Linda gave me a day off from the bookfair. Thank you Linda for being so supportive! I took the 8.30am morning ride from Bologna and reached Ferrovia Train Station, Venice at about 11.30am. I walked from the station to Piazza Santa Marco. I lost track of the time but I think I walked more than two hours! Venice is a car-free city and the only way to get around is by foot or boat/ferry. This is why I walk 🙂

A view just outside Ferrovia Train Station. Magnificent isn’t it! The sky adds a dramatic feeling to it.

Gondolas with red seats; how strikingly romantic!

A table for two…

I think this is peony. But please tell me if you know the real species, thanks!

Blossoms everywhere!

Came across a group of kids holding flowers, I think they were all going somewhere but not sure where…

albatrosses

Street performers; somewhere between Ferrovia to Piazza San Marco

a black cat on a balcony somewhere after Rialto

Rialto

Piazza San Marco

I just love their windows!

Venice houses

It is best that you go with your other half or kids. Going alone is no fun. My head kept picturing myself exploring Venice with my husband and son!

Anyway, I tried walking back to Ferrovia from Piazza San Marco but the usual thing happened; I got lost. For almost two hours. Pusing-pusing kot tu, sampai balik ke Piazza San Marco. So to save time, I took a ferry back to Ferrovia from the ferry station near San Marco.

Here are some views from the ferry:

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