I love Venice! The atmosphere there is so different, each canal has its own story. And the environment was so picturesque, I struggled to capture it in a photo.
Here are some shots I took on the Rialto bridge. They were taken at dusk, but of course I wasn’t lugging a tripod around with me, so it had to be steady hands but I decided to go bigger aperture instead of higher ISO, which the details a little soft. I would’ve loved to have done a long exposure to get the water to look all silky. Even though I’ve chosen a wide aspect ratio to give the sense of space, in the end, I still don’t think I captured the grandness of the canal here.
We also took an expensive gondola ride. I guess it’s something you have to do.. once.. or maybe more if you can afford it! The best part about it was navigating through the small back canals. Our gondola man was young, and attempted to do a bit of singing, but it felt like he did it because he thought we thought he should have been singing. We did spot only a couple of gondola dudes who actually sang like operatic tenors – I wonder how much they charge!!
I wasn’t quite sure how steady it was going to be, but I brought my camera anyway. I didn’t want to spend too long fiddling with the camera settings on our expensive and short ride, but popped a few shots off to try to capture the feeling. Here’s one of my favourites.
One thing I loved about our time in Venice was the classical music!
In St Mark’s square, there were little classical ensembles (typically 1-2 violins, clarinet, piano, bass) churning out one classical hit after another.
But one thing not to miss is to attend a Vivaldi concert. Vivaldi lived and worked in Venice for a while, so it seems that a Vivaldi concert is a not to miss event.
The problem was that there were so many Vivaldi concerts to choose from!! There was literally at least one EVERY night! It seemed that the main ensembles there rotated between a Four Seasons program and an Operatic program. Being a violinist, I had to see the Four Seasons.
We ended up choosing to see Interpreti Venezia because they seemed to be the most “musical” on paper – having toured a few countries and recording quite a few CDs. We watched them play Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in the San Vidal church and we were entertained. Their interpretation was fresh and their players talented. There was a sizeable audience, but mostly (probably all!) tourists. The most memorable thing about the concert was the cellist! He was extremely flamboyant which put me off at first, but after his Paganini cello encore at the end, he did show he had talent to back himself up.
It wouldn’t be bad being a classical muso in Venice – but to play the same program day after day would take its toll I’m sure.
Isn’t it wierd – there’s all these sites on the internet now that gives us the power to investigate and book flights, trips, accomodation. I guess it suits the type of people who like to control all of this themselves instead of leaving it to a travel agent… like me 🙂 But then again, we’ve spent HOURS investigating, reading reviews, looking at maps, looking up guide books trying to decide on what hotel to book! Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the time?
With our trip starting next week, I had to play travel agent again – we hadn’t organised accomodation for Florence or Venice yet! Initially I was keen on booking Hotel Davanzati for Florence. I did the usual thing and went to Tripadvisor.com, looked up the hotel’s page there and clicked on their links to get the best prices at the various sites. For this hotel, only www.venere.com was checked. Their list price was 500 Euros.
I decided to go to the hotel’s website itself at www.hoteldavanzati.it and after plugging in the dates we wanted to stay, it spat out a total of 364 Euros! What a difference – tip for the day is to always check the hotel website itself when comparing prices.
Anyway, this was above our budget and the room type we wanted wasn’t available for our dates, so we ended up booking Hotel Alessandra instead. Going through its website, it seemed to have a special on and so we upgraded ourselves to a Junior Suite for less than half the price!
Then next on the list was to book Venice accomodation. Again we had budgetary constraints but wanted something rated well on Trip Advisor, with a good location and service. After a few hours of searching, we’ve ended up booking Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo. Hopefully it’s as good as the reviews say it is!
The one thing that we haven’t found time to fit into our schedule there is a trip to Cremona to visit the violin workshops there and the Stradivarius Museum. Hmm.. might have to leave that for next time 🙂