Barefoot in Venice Italy
Pastel Houses line the streets of Burano
Pastel houses line the streets of Burano, an island in Venice's lagoon.
When you know where to look, there's so much to see in
I spent my first two days avoiding St. Mark's Square. It's the back lanes where this enchanting city is most intriguing. An inverted corner of a beautiful church had an ugly iron fence cutting across it. Why? So men won't use it as an outdoor urinal. In Gothic times, the architect couldn't have imagined someone would relieve himself against the corner of a church. But this is a different age. Later I was walking on an unusually wide street. "What's this doing in
Then there are times when the magic suddenly stops. I needed to check out the parking situation at the edge of the city, and the traffic appalled me. As I dodged the crazy Italian drivers, the contrast was clear: What a charming world the Venetians enjoy -- no traffic noise and as pedestrians they completely own their byways.
Back on the water, I tried out one of my
Another boat ride took me to the nearby island of Burano, which is famous for humble fishermen's houses and squinting lace-makers. I noticed how the pastel colors of the homes are getting more and more vibrant. The place is just darling (an adjective I've never used to describe a town before).
But the rising sea has forced Burano to raise its canal-side pavement. I could see a strip of fresh bricks above the water line. Some houses had a new step added from the sidewalk down to their doors, while others just had a shorter door.
Back in the city, St. Mark's Square is about to have its pavement raised for the third time in history.
The flooding is getting worse because
After decades of debate,
Done with my boat ride, I retreated to my hotel room. The speckled "Venetian pavement" -- the city's characteristic floor made of a broken hodgepodge of marble fragments and then polished -- greeted my bare feet. While some might mistake it for cheap linoleum, it's far from that -- it's treasured here, and quite expensive. It flexes with the settling of the buildings ... so costly to maintain, but so characteristic. This was a sign that I was back in one of my favorite cities. My feet connected with the floor in a way my feet have never before connected with flooring ... happily grounding me in
Verona Italy: City of Romance
About two hours from bustling Milan and touristy Venice is Verona -- a welcome sip of pure, easygoing Italy. Made famous by Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, Verona is Italy's fourth-most-visited city and second in the Veneto region only to Venice in population and artistic importance. If you don't need world-class sights, this town is a joy
What's New in Rome and Venice
Rome and Venice are two of my favorite cities. But to enjoy these classic destinations fully, you need to be prepared for changes in 2010. Knowing about a few recent developments will make your visit smoother this year.
Venice Beyond St. Mark's
Margaret M. Johnson
Venice is today more noted for its constant throng of tourists -- more than 12 million annually -- who come to see its spectacular churches, elaborate-but-faded palazzos, incomparable art, and of course, the maze of alleys, canals, and bridges that link the little islands that make up the city as a whole.
Venice: Italian Magic on the Adriatic
Barbara Radcliffe Rogers
To discover your own personal Venice, head for the less trammeled streets of Dorsoduro, San Polo or Cannaregio. Instead of other tourists, you'll meet craftsmen in their studios, Venetians shopping for their dinner, nannies and nonnas watching children play and couples drinking Prosecco in canal-side cafes
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(c) 2010 Rick Steves' Europe
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