Venice (Venezia), Italy
Venice has a reputation for being one of the most romantic cities in the whole world, and I'll agree with that assessment. It's a city built on wooden stilts in the bay. People get around by walking or by taking boats down the canals. There is a lot of history in this town; after all, it was the Mediterranean seat of power for hundreds of years. It's known for its canals, Piazza San Marco, and the famous gondolas.
Venice also served as our transportation hub since it's near Asolo and has major train connections throughout Europe. I think I went to Venice at least five times while I was in Italy, and I still don't get sick of it. There are just too many things to see there.
For more info and photos, see my 1998 trip to Venice.
Don't jump Doug! It's not worth it; you have so much to live for! He's looking down from the balcony of San Marco Basilica, the most famous church in Venice. The most amazing thing about San Marco is all the mosaic work. The art behind Doug as well as the entire inside ceiling are made from tiny pieces of tile. Absolutely gorgeous. It's a shame we weren't allowed to take photos inside.
Venice is also known for its feline population. People love cats there, and with no cars to threaten them, the cats lead a pretty healthy comfortable life, as can be seen in this photo. This cat is enjoying the afternoon sun on a typical Italian window sill.
Venetian glass being made. This artist is making little horses out of red-hot glass. I sat there and watched him for a few minutes, and it's absolutely amazing how he manipulates that molten blob of glass into a horse. The box you see in front of him contains all his horses, and they are absolute mirror images of each other. If I hadn't seen them being made, I would have said they came from a mold.
A shot of one of the side canals. "Fornace" written on the tan building means there's a furnace inside where glasswork is being made. Actually, Venetian glass is made in Murano, not in Venice. Murano is an island just a few minutes outside of Venice proper.
The main courtyard in the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale). A doge or ducale is the principal magistrate of the town in old Venice.
A picturesque view from one of the halls in the Doge's Palace. The church on the left is San Giorgio Maggiore designed by famous architect Andrea Palladio (see Vicenza).
A gondola passes under the Bridge of Sighs. The famous bridge got its name from the sighs of prisoners as they cross over to the doge's prison, never to be seen again.
It's sad but true. Despite the efforts of hundreds of engineers, the city of Venice is slowly sinking into the slush. Here's an intriguing postcard that I saw and couldn't resist scanning. It shows Piazza San Marco completely immersed underwater during high tide, and people cross the square using gondolas. It also has a great view of the front of Basilica San Marco.