David Stone1 profile image

What Is Venice, Italy, Like Today?

Carnival in Venice

Masks are license during carnival.
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Masks are license during carnival.
Source: Flickr, Creative Commons

Have You Been To Venice?

If you haven't seen Venice up close, hidden away on purpose in a remote corner of Italy's Adriatic Coast, you've missed a wonder of the world, made by men and women with a lust for life that can't be matched today.

Venice today is marked in every corner by the reminders of its thousand years of history.

Centuries after the first Venetians fled the Italian mainland to escape rampaging invaders from the north, the city build on islands is still a gracious center for art. Reminders of it's once dominant position in the world are easy to find.

Venice is a modern city. Electricity, fine dining and festivals continue, and boutiques offer unique shopping. Cruise ships enter and exit the harbor, and although cars and trains are halted at the city gate, the quiet streets have all the cell phones and bustling pedestrians you'd expect to find in a great city.

No other place in the world like Venice exists. Look around in wonder at a city recreated, once secure, to celebrate wealth, pleasure and beauty, and be amazed that so much is still here for you.

It's what passionate travelers have been doing for centuries.

Venice, Italy, remains a living museum. There is no motorized transit on its streets, plazas and narrow alleys. Canals take the place of streets throughout every part of the lagoon, and people walk everywhere, so quietly you can hear footsteps from our second and third floor balconies.


Venice Italy, As It Is Today

Our local friend treats us to her hometown:

We were lucky to have a good friend who had grown up in Venice and who, after a diplomatic career, has now returned.

We were taken to along streets and into Plazas tourists rarely see, especially that odd breed that zips in and out of this amazing place in a single day.

Gabriella took us along the canal where ambulance boats were docked outside the hospital where her father once worked.

We ate dinner with delicious local wine in a tiny outdoor terrace where the owners had time to stop and visit and actually seemed to tolerate my impossible mangling of their beautiful language.

Rambling in Venice

We visited the most exciting and well-known spaces, as we did on our first visit.

We climbed the Rialto Bridge and lingered to watch the the water traffic flowing back and forth and climbed down the other side to prowl the open air market that runs for blocks.

We drank espresso in Piazza San Marco, the famous stallions overhead ready to march off the cathedral and into battle as necessary.

We walked slowly through the Academia Art Gallery, Disneyland for art lovers, where I saw for the first time one of the most unforgettable frescoes I've ever seen.

Little Mary presents an imaginary scene of the legendary virgin as a young girl boldly approaches the local leaders who await her.

I'm not a Christian and the story itself is probably preposterous, but the art, the art...

Later we trooped through Peggy Guggenheim's contemporary art museum right on the canal.

The Grand Canal is Venice's Main Street - Gondolas and Vaporetti

Grand Canal, Venice
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Grand Canal, Venice

Main Street in a Water City

The Grand Canal begins near Piazza San Marco in a broad, open channel in the lagoon and curls passed mansions build and once occupied by the wealthiest merchants in Europe.

Because Venice is a water city, the entrances open to the Grand Canal and draw visitors and guests into sumptuously designed entry halls. Smaller, backdoor canals also accommodate commercial and tourist traffic.

Especially during rush hours, the Grand Canal is busy with the ever present gondolas, vaporetti (water buses) and larger tourist boats.

Just like transportation in other cities, the publicly operated vaporetti stop to pick up passengers at regular intervals and the privately operated gondolas, more like taxis, weave in and out, entering from and exiting into canals that run off into the neighborhoods.

Italian Beauty, More to Watch than Gondolas

Crowd gathered to watch the regatta
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Crowd gathered to watch the regatta
Source: David Stone

Gathering to Watch the Regatta

I mentioned our surprising chance to watch the annual regatta from a prime place. We arrived early, were treated to wine and cheese, and then, I passed the time taking some pictures.Much about Italy is beautiful, not the least of which being it's people. Here are some of the people who gathered to lean over the balcony and watch the dressed up gondolas float up toward the Rialto. I took a lot of pictures before, during and after. This and the one that follows were the ones I liked best and which seemed the most casually Venetian.

My Scenes from Venice

Busy secondary canal.
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Busy secondary canal.
A neighborhood "street."
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A neighborhood "street."
Sunset over the lagoon.
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Sunset over the lagoon.
The Grand Canal trough pier stakes.
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The Grand Canal trough pier stakes.
Decorative ornaments align the canal.
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Decorative ornaments align the canal.
Cat perch.
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Cat perch.
A black cat watches the action discretely.
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A black cat watches the action discretely.
Floral balcony.
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Floral balcony.
Art tribute on the little Venetian island of Burano.
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Art tribute on the little Venetian island of Burano.

A Regatta of Gondolas

Grand Canal, Venice
See all 14 photos
Grand Canal, Venice
Source: David Stone

The Venice Regatta

A Big Show

I guess I should have expected it, but it never crossed my mind that modern day Venetians would show off their history with a regatta.

This picture is representative of the finery gliding up the Grand Canal.

The really interesting story I couldn't get near enough to get a good shot to tell it with is the emergence of women gondoliers in this, until recently, all male profession.

Several gondolas sporting all female crews drew applause for their aggressive competitiveness as the rowed by.

There were a number of large decorated boats like this one.

What Tourists Don't See - A Normal Venetian Neighborhood

Venetian alley
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Venetian alley
Source: David Stone

Venice is a place where people live.

We walked all the time, seeing much that we'd never have found on our own or would have gotten lost trying to.

One unforgettable location was a open plaza in the what was the Jewish quarter before the Nazi's deported the residents to camps. Quietly, the survivors posted lists of those who never came back, and they still stand as weathered reminders.

Everywhere, there were reminders that this old city with its impressive history is more than anything else a place where people live ordinary lives as it always have been.

We remember the de Pontes, the Casanovas and the Vivaldis, but it's the names never entered in the histories that are always the soul of any community.

 Last updated on September 11, 2014

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What do you think? 50 comments

anonymous 3 years ago

Wonderful lens .. Dave. I love your pics and really love Venice. I hope to get there one day. 5 stars for you. Have a wonderful times :)


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 3 years ago from New York City Hub Author

@anonymous: A trip you will never forget, Raphaelo. Bring your camera!


jptanabe profile image

jptanabe 3 years ago from Red Hook, NY

Wonderful pictures - brought back memories of my visit to Venice oh so many years ago. I even remember cats! Great job!


Brookelorren LM profile image

Brookelorren LM 3 years ago

I've been to Venice twice, but you did a great job here. Angel blessings for Valentine's Day!


kateloving profile image

kateloving 3 years ago from Lancaster PA Level 1 Commenter

****Blessed****on Valentine's Day!!


ChrisDay LM profile image

ChrisDay LM 3 years ago

Beautiful!


PizmoBeach LM profile image

PizmoBeach LM 3 years ago

A great tribute to Venice.


anonymous 3 years ago

Venice is a lover's paradise, I love this beautiful city and the elegant architecture.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 3 years ago from New York City Hub Author

@anonymous: Yes. In many ways, even on the groudn, it can even seem quite unreal.


ChrisDay LM profile image

ChrisDay LM 3 years ago

Oh heavens, what gorgeous photographs!


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 3 years ago from New York City Hub Author

@ChrisDay LM: At that, Chris, and even though a lot of them are mine, they don't do this amazing place justice. It's a shame so many go when it's packed with tourists and don't get to enjoy more casual views.


Diana Wenzel profile image

Diana Wenzel 3 years ago from Colorado Level 6 Commenter

This tour of Venice brought back many lovely memories. I loved my time there and hope to return for another visit. Thanks!


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 3 years ago from New York City Hub Author

@Diana Wenzel: Stay tuned. I am working on another Venice lens today, more pictures, more views. Thanks for your comments.


anonymous 3 years ago

Exquisite! I loved it. Thanks for sharing Venice with those of us who've never had the pleasure.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 3 years ago from New York City Hub Author

@anonymous: Venice is an indulgence. I hope you get to make the trip sometime.


Bigdaddyguru profile image

Bigdaddyguru 2 years ago

Great site, wishing I can go back.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 2 years ago from New York City Hub Author

@Bigdaddyguru: Me, too, Big Daddy. Never enough of Venice.


wecomparebooks 2 years ago

Venice is a beautiful city!


irminia profile image

irminia 22 months ago

A lovely tour! Yes, people do live there and it is amazing how they adjust to life surrounded by water ... and to a constant flood of us, tourists :)))


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 22 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@irminia: Last visit, we stayed with a friend who lives there and took us to see places along the back canals tourists never see. It gave us a whole new appreciation for Venice.


Auriel 22 months ago

amazing places..i love it.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 22 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@Auriel: Thanks, chochay. I hope you get to see it firsthand someday.


WriterJanis2 profile image

WriterJanis2 22 months ago Level 5 Commenter

You have so captured the beauty of Venice. I haven't been there in years, but hope to return one day. Blessed!


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 22 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@WriterJanis2: Thanks, Janis. Venice is intoxicating. We'll go back, too. But there's just so many amazing places yet to see. Still, there's just something about Venice...


anonymous 22 months ago

I've always thought I'd like to go to Venice and enjoyed all the pleasure you took out of being there again and its like it was meant to be that you'd have a special view of the regatta because you would be one to appreciate the experience richly along with every bit of nuance that you could capture....delightfully shared!


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 22 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@anonymous: Thanks, Susie. The thrill of the regatta was enhanced, as many other things have been, by our being unaware that it even existed. It was trip in one more way.


SquidooPower profile image

SquidooPower 20 months ago

Was just reading about Venice two nights ago. It haunts my dreams and I've always regretted not going there when I lived in Europe.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 20 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@SquidooPower: There's still time to make that trip, man. Not such a long shot from the States.


anonymous 20 months ago

I have always wanted to go to Venice.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 20 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@anonymous: By all means, Momsbusy247, go! You'll never regret it.


anonymous 19 months ago

Great looking gifts and a beautiful place.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 19 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@anonymous: It is, but even great pictures can't do it justice.


Dave Lynch profile image

Dave Lynch 19 months ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa Level 2 Commenter

Looks like a beautiful place to visit. I find it interesting that there's no motorized transport in Venice and that the main street is the Grand Canal.


emilysmaids profile image

emilysmaids 19 months ago

You got some really beautiful shots! I'm in love with Venice and I've never been able to make the trip. The day will come though, it's my dream trip! Perfect place, perfect lens, cheers to you!


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 19 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@emilysmaids: Definitely a trip not to be missed. Wonderful to read about, but amazing to see and experience in person.


delia-delia profile image

delia-delia 19 months ago Level 5 Commenter

I really want to visit Venice....I have an old oil painting over 50 years, done of Venice. Because of this painting I have always wanted to visit that spot...it's on my bucket-list! My daughter was in a wedding in Italy and she took a photo identical of your intro picture...I did a painting of it for her.~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 19 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@delia-delia: Time to move it off that bucket list and go, d-artist. You're not going to believe what you see.


anonymous 17 months ago

I love your tour of Venice, that's why I decided to take the tour again. :)


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 17 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@anonymous: I hope, as I did before, that you get to take that trip on your own two feet. You won't want to return.Thanks, Susie.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 17 months ago Level 2 Commenter

I had been there three times now but never for the annual regatta. That would have been really an experience.


SandyMertens profile image

SandyMertens 16 months ago from Frozen Tundra Level 3 Commenter

Would love to visit.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 16 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@SandyMertens: Let nothing stand in your way, Sandy. You will treasure it for the rest of your life.


anonymous 14 months ago

I had one of my great epiphanies in Venice which activated a very creative muse. Oh, what great memories of many beautiful moments, enchanted by the natives passion. La Doce Vita... 'The sweet life' of Venice will charm the senses to euphoric heights of a sublime experience like no other in this temporal world.


girlfriendfactory profile image

girlfriendfactory 13 months ago

A beautiful tour via pics and videos. We missed it while in Italy but loved Florence and southern Italy. Didn't like Roma too much, however. My son doesn't like the noise and crowds - though the Vatican was a terrific tour! Thanks for sharing your page! (See, we can agree on some things! ;-) )


TanoCalvenoa 11 months ago

Excellent! I wish I could go there, what an awesome place.


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 11 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@TanoCalvenoa: I hope you can at some point, Jonathan. There are no permanent barriers.


Brite-Ideas profile image

Brite-Ideas 6 months ago from Toronto, Canada Level 7 Commenter

wonderful work here, well deserving of Purple Star status - photos are gorgeous as well - I was in Venice once in my life, a very long time ago, and loved it


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 6 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@Brite-Ideas: That trip when you were a teenager must have been great. I can only imagine. I was well into my forties before I saw Venice and the rest of Europe, but were try to catch up on lost time.


Mary Crowther profile image

Mary Crowther 2 months ago from Havre de Grace Level 3 Commenter

A great inside look of Venice that you have here! On my bucket list, hope to get there soon!


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 2 months ago from New York City Hub Author

@Mary Crowther: I hope you do, too. You'd have a ball.

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