There is only one sure thing in Venice — getting lost. It is part and parcel of touring in Venice without a guide and without a proper map. The art of getting lost in Venice is actually welcomed with open hands.
Getting lost in Venice is an experience you will never forget, get used to it
“Are you sure it is this way?”
“Are we there yet?”
“Haven’t we been here before?”
“I think we passed by this shop earlier.”
“Why does this look so familiar?”
“Isn’t that the church tower that we are supposed to be headed to?”
“What is the name of this street?”
“Why isn’t this junction on the map?”
So on and so forth the conversation would go between my family and I. In order to find our way, all we need to do is to identify the landmarks around Venice, most notably the Rialto Bridge, St Mark’s Square and the churches. Once you have all these marked down on your map, you won’t be lost for that long.
In order to make it fun while being lost, we tried to find certain specific areas on the map and hopefully while in the process, we would get to see some ‘hidden’ places around Venice.
Our first stop of the day after lunch was finding Marco Polo’s birthplace or where he stayed when he was a kid, since some said that he originated from Croatia. It is hard to explain or describe the location if you haven’t been there before, and given the circumstances, I would say that it would still take me some time to find it again if I were to be in Venice some day in the future.
Generally, it is located somewhere on your left as you come down from the Rialto Bridge heading towards the direction of St Mark’s Square. The name of the place is Corte del Milion, and there is a plaque which denotes his birthplace if you find it. Hopefully, while searching, you might just bump into one of the tour groups with a local guide, just play dumb and follow them!
Stumbling around the narrow streets of Venice can be quite rewarding as you get to see the real Venetian life away from the main streets leading to and from St Mark’s Square. Rounding a corner we found ourselves on an open plaza. A quick glance around and focusing on the map, we have arrived at St Giovanni and Paolo.
By using this church as our landmark we were able to find our next target easily. By the side of the church lies Corte Veniera, which will lead us to a iron bridge known as Ponte dei Consafelzi.
“The Ponte what?” asked the wife.
“Don’t ask me. I have no idea but I do know what is important here.”
“What is it then?”
“Remember the time we were in Amsterdam that we saw the House on 3 Canals (Huis aan de Drie Grachten)? This is almost similar.”
“Look over there, that is Palazzo Tetta,” I said.
Our next destination is near the sea, Riva degli Schiavoni. We are now near the district known as Castello. Along this road lies the birthplace of Vivaldi and the deathplace of Doppler. Not that they matter much if you’re not into music and medicine. But it was nice to know about it.
The sun was shining down on us as we turn and make our way along Via Garibaldi. We have left most of the touristy crowd behind us and heading towards Fondamenta Sant’Anna. We were also getting tired, probably due to the journey and the early hours today. Our next item on the list lies on Isola San Pietro — San Pietro di Castello.
If you need a place to sleep with less distractions, go to San Pietro di Castello
There were a few benches outside the church, we just had to find a place to sit. Surprisingly enough, both of us were soon asleep on the benches, underneath the hot sun. This would never had happened back home, especially under the sun. We dozed off for almost an hour, with only the chirping of birds and the occasional whirr of the boats’ engine accompanying us. Perfect!
(to be continued)