Think of Venice and vivid images of the Gondola within a city of canals would be the first thing that comes to mind. However, Venice is actually an archapelligo of islands nestled in the top east corner of Italy. Apart from being famous for gondolas, it is also famous for Murano glass, the Rialto bridge, St. Marks square, trade (a.l.a "The Merchant of Venice") and of course, the "City of Water" and "Queen of the Adriatic".

The 6 hour 560km drive from Munich southbound takes us into Austria, across the Austrian and Italian Alps, through Austrian and Italian tollways, the Italian border town of Brenner and then Verona. BMW Navigation tells us that we surfaced at 1,380 metres at the highest point in the Austrian Alps... where snow littered fields were all around us.

Not surprisingly, no cars are allowed in Venice. Once parked just outside Venice, we can take the waterbus (Vaporetto) or watertaxi (Vaporetti) into the city. We arrived at noon and had lunch at a local Tratorria before we commenced exploring Venice on the Vaporetto (waterbus). The waterbus was an excellent way to see Venice as the routes are clearly marked and as we knew where we wanted to go, planning was dead simple.

It was amazing to see water vessels being the only source of transportation for the Venetians. The size of the boats and its powerplants must be regulated as we hardly saw any larger Miami-VIce style boats, just gondolas, row boats and smaller outboard motor powered boats. The water taxi and waterbus being the main mode of transportation between "bus stops".

The entire city is covered in canals, large and small. Smaller canals appear to be frequented by gondolas with frequent platforms made available for passengers to get on or off. As there are many canals, there are many bridges - in fact, some 400 in all. Some gondolers are seen to "park" their gondolas alongside wider canals and then wait on a bridge, hoping to catch their next fare. Oh yes, at 75 Euro per 45 minutes, it isn't cheap to ride the gondola. However, some gondolas can take up to 8 people.

The Rialto is a stone bridge which links the west and east Venice on the grand canal. This is a canal side 40 metres wide and the scene of many wonderful architectured buildings - although one can't miss the dirty watermark on the lower side of the buildings. What strikes us is that most buildings have stilts embedded in their waterway to hold gondolas in their place during inclement weather. Many permanent shops, most selling wares such as the Venetian Carnival mask, Murano glassware, clothing etc..

Overall, our 24 hour trip in Venice was amazing, a lot of fun and we managed to capture some pretty amazing images and impressions of this wonderful city. Enjoying our spaghetti in Venice was a nauseating experience - not because of the food quality, but because Venice itself it built on stilts above water. As the tidal system moves in, the places sways ever so slightly - enough to make you feel you"re on the titanic.

Sadly, scientists predict that among other low lying cities, Venice will be covered in water in this century thanks to the effect of global warming, the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising of the sea levels.

February 14th, 2008

Navigate to Florence

Navigate to Venice

Note that images have a 24 bit colour depth and work best when viewed through systems appropriately configured.

Unesco World Heritage Listing
World Heritage Listing

Italians are generally very nice people, although it is unlikely for you to run into an Italian that would stop and talk to you. Such actions are still only found in Australia .. and perhaps some parts of Munich, at least during the Oktoberfest period.. A nervous people which can sometimes be loud and can be rather animated when excited, we are genereally comfortably safe among Italians.  We rate this 3 out of 5.

Service oriented, smiles, good manners, speaks English wherever possible. Whilst you don’t get the smiles as you do in Thailand, the atmosphere is described as friendly and warm.  I would rate this 3.5 out of 5 for Service.

Founded in the 5th century and sSpread among 119 small islands, Venice achieved it UNESCO World Herigage listing also from its amazing architecture and the home of famous Italian artists.. We rate this 4 out of 5.

The waterways, quaint shopping streets, stalls and sidewalk cafes make Venice a very attractive city. Lots of islands to explore and much more to see next time we come back .... and we will come back! We rate this 4 out of 5.

The classic pizza, pasta, soups, risotto, bruschetta plus the humble olive oil and vinegar can be found here in its abundance and often tasting fantastic! Sorry for the yanks, no KFC, Pizza hut style deep pan pizza's or greasy joe'shamburgers here! If you love Italian, this is the world for it. I really love the pizza's here and can live on the stuff, generally speaking. We rate this 4 out of 5.

Our room cost €119 per night in Venice for the 3 of us - with parking a further €21 per night. Italian food is always fantastic but pricey. The 24 hour Vaporetto fare was €16. All in all, this isn't exactly cheap or expensive - its affordable. However, you are able to find an amazing variety of different foods a very short distance at a reasonable price. Note that on the Mac Index, Europe rates as one of the most expensive to live in. We rate this 3.5 out of 5.

Again, in the absence of a perfect science to perform an overall rating, our “emotional” rating methodology should suffice.  Purely by emotional traits, we would rate Venice, Italy a 4 out of 5.

Venice, IT








Overall Score

Big Mac Index
ref: Jul 5th, 2007

Malaysia $1.60
Russia $2.03
Australia $2.95
South Korea $3.14
(incl. Italy)