Venice Day 2 (Part 3)

Was going through my previous posts only to find out that I have been straying a bit from my usual posting style, I’ve forgotten to use the ‘blockquote’ function to highlight a few stuffs. Would probably do a re-edit of the previous posts later.

Anyway, back to Burano. After lunch we had a walk around the touristy area admiring the lace work and the numerous tourists ambling around underneath the hot sun. Then something familiar caught my eye, lo and behold, my parents, GC and QS were here on the island after touring Murano! I would say that our ‘reunion’ caught the eye of many passersby, because we were sharing stories and we looked exactly like 2 different group of people meeting for the first time!

Tip: When you arrive at Burano or any of the islands, please have a look at the departure times before traipsing off, this is to optimize the time you have, rather than to find out later that you have just missed the boat by a few minutes.

Check the departure times when you arrive at Burano or any of the islands. Don’t waste time waiting.

We arrived at the dock for our departure 10 minutes early and there was already a queue waiting to get back to Venice. Do not worry, since there is no priority seating, the vaporetto is a first-come-first-serve service, so be prepared to stand for the duration of the journey.

There are a few amazing things to discover about Venice but only if you have the time to get yourself lost in the maze. Who knows? Maybe you can find one of your very own discovery about Venice!

“Let’s go find one.” said the wife.

“No worries, I have one in which we could find quite close to where we are now,” I replied.

“Oh really? Let’s go!”

Where are the parapets?

Where are the parapets?

I was actually referring to Ponte Chiodo or the bridge with no parapets. You can type it into Google Maps and it will show up but I find it quite confusing, the nearest landmark which is about 1-2 bridges away is Scuola Grande della Misericordia. This particular bridge leads to a house/shop and that will be identifying mark, besides the obvious part about it having no parapets. Don’t fall in!

We are now at the Cannaregio district, there is a lesser crowd here as compared to the other places in Venice. A famous area around here would be the Jewish Ghetto. This was where the word ghetto originated, because a foundry (geto) used to be here. Jews were not allowed to live anywhere else in Venice during the medieval times, due to the constricted space, they expanded upwards, you would probably find some of the tallest residential buildings here. The entrance is slightly obscured but you can just key in Sottoportego del Ghetto on your smartphones and voila!

Star of David

Star of David

The weather was getting unbearable with the hot sun shining down, so we decided to take a vaporetto instead to hasten our journey towards the next destination — Santa Maria della Salute.

Try to use the vaporetto especially if you have the transport passes, to avoid getting lost.

“What is so special about this church?” asked the wife.

“Nothing that special, but what comes after this is what I was after,” I said.

“What?”

“Wait and see.”

B&W (click to enlarge)

B&W (click to enlarge)

Just around the corner from this magnificent church lies a strange installation which I would refer to as ‘The Boy and His Frog’. I am not so sure what was the reason for its installation but by having an armed guard (no less), it must be important.

“Armed guard?”

“Yes, surprisingly enough,” as I pointed at the guard standing next to it. Imagine yourself having drawn the short straw and have to stand guard beside this statue.

Whose frog is this?

Whose frog is this?

Walking along Fondamenta Zattere you can look across the lagoon at Giudecca while enjoying the sound of the waters splashing along the banks beside the footpath. We are aiming to discover some of the ‘hidden’ or lesser known areas around Venice. Probably you would have passed them by without really realizing its significance.

“What is the next item?” asked the wife.

“Squaro San Trovaso, the place where they make the gondolas,” I said.

“Too bad it’s Labour Day (May 1st), they won’t be open.”

Place where they make gondolas (click to enlarge)

Place where they make gondolas (click to enlarge)

In order to find Squaro San Trovaso, turn right at the bridge after passing Saint Mary of the Rosary on your right.

The next two items are as interesting as the Ponte Chiodo before this, first of all, walking along the same path opposite Squaro San Trovaso towards the direction of Accademia, lies the Bridge of Wonders or Ponte de la Marevegie.

“Legend has it that a boatman was interested in one of the beautiful sisters (6 beautiful ones and 1 ugly Marina) staying at one of the palaces near the bridge. However, he fell ill in which he blamed it on the witchcraft of the supposedly jealous Marina. One day, he passed by the palace and saw Marina praying, he was so moved by the scene that he finally saw her as beautiful. All this while, Marina was actually praying for his health in exchange for hers. She confessed her love for him, he was so happy till he was cured. They married and live happily ever after, or so the legend goes.”

“You’re making it up,” the wife replied in disbelief.

Next up, Ponte dei Pugni.

“What is the legend behind this?”

“There is no legend but tradition. The districts in Venice used to have a wrestling/boxing match once upon a time and they held it on the bridges connecting the rival districts. One such bridge lived on as Ponte dei Pugni.”

“How would you know which one it was?”

“Look down at your feet, notice the 2 pairs of foot-shaped marble facing each other? That was where they would stand.”

“Interesting,” the wife replied as she snapped away with her camera.

“Time for some gelato.”

Gelateria Grom

This gelateria is located at Campo San Barnaba just a few yards away from Ponte dei Pugni and the church of San Barnaba. Surprisingly enough, despite the hot weather, the queue wasn’t that long. We had granita siciliana in lemon and coffee flavours. €3 per cup. The texture is part-water and part-yoghurt/ice cream, very different from the usual gelato mixture.

Grom's Granita

Grom’s Granita

Basilica dei Frari

Basilica dei Frari (click to enlarge)

Basilica dei Frari (click to enlarge)

If you are an admirer of fine artworks, this is the church (€3) to visit. However, for the uninitiated like us, all was lost. Unfortunately, photography is also not allowed at the church. Among the famous artworks that you are supposed to see:

  1. Titian’s The Assumption of Mary
  2. Donatello’s wooden statue of John the Baptist
  3. Gio Bellini’s Madonna and Child
  4. Veneziano’s Madonna and Child
  5. Titian’s Madonna of Ca ‘Pesaro

If you’re planning to visit a lot of churches whilst in Venice, it would be better to buy the Chorus Pass for €9

Day 2 Conclusion

The tour of Burano was short and sweet, probably better if we could have gone to Torcello, but whilst on the vaporetto, we noted that the church was covered in scaffoldings, so we gave it a skip.

Use the churches as landmarks in case you get lost, since most maps have them. There is only one Rialto but plenty of churches.

The rest of the afternoon was spent poking our noses around the lesser known districts of Venice, looking for strange and interesting sights not usually found in the guide books. If you are planning to visit a lot of churches in Venice, it is advisable to get the Chorus Pass (€9), rather than paying €3 per entry into each individual church. You’d probably ask why the interest in churches? My reason? Churches around Venice, especially the famous ones covered by the Chorus Pass actually function as a landmark in case you’re lost. So you are most likely to be found around them, what better way than to tuck inside and have a quick look or for rest?

Night view of the canal

Night view of the canal

We met up with the rest of the family around evening and spent the remaining hours doing tourist stuffs such as purchasing fridge magnets, postcards and even ending up at simple restaurant catering to the tourist flock near the train station, hence no mention of it in this particular post.

 

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