One of the best things an individual can do when visiting Venice is to wear comfortable shoes. Of course, this doesn’t mean that these comfortable shoes cannot be highly stylish as well. The important thing is to take in the city that is paved in stone, on foot. The maze-like streets coupled with the hard stone beneath your feet will have you crying out for a foot massage and a lay down.
Taking a walking tour in Venice, Italy is truly the best way to see the city. Although you may be armed with a guidebook, nothing can help more than someone who is familiar with the layout of the city which is quite a mystery to any foreigner. The truth is, in my entire life have I seen this many tourists puzzled when trying to read maps of the city. Venice is one of the most beautiful cities, but easy navigable it is not.
Exploring the Canals and Paths Through Venice
I signed on to one of the several Venice walking Tours that took us around the city in an organized fashion without ever getting lost. We visited the older districts, near the Rialto Bridge markets. We walked through the back streets, much like the locals, and much to the dismay of the locals who have often walked these back streets to avoid tourists. The good news for them is that no one can make their way around that city without a trusted guide.
In addition to that, he was absolutely incredible. He was knowledgeable about the city, being able to cover all of its history as well as modern day life. He was able to provide insight on the best restaurants, the art district, and so much more.
We began from the Rialto Bridge centre where the view was incredibly beautiful, catching a glimpse of the water traffic in the Grand Canal. I have seen traffic before, but it was always with wheels and a road, not water and boats, which made it quite interesting.
The Glimmering Streets of Venice
One thing I was not aware of the Grand Canal was that the famous palazzos were actually painted frescoes in the past. A huge building just next to the Rialto Bridge used by Germanic traders by Titian and the Ca’D'Oro, which dates back to 1421, was actually gold.
Unfortunately, all this faded away and been repainted. It was not until recently that these buildings became valued by people who now try to restore them and maintain their original beauty. Near San Marco is a glass tiled fresco facade, which provides a glimpse into the past and how the Grand Canal looked like in the past when all buildings were decorated.
Ca’D'Oro is still beautiful to look at, even though it is no longer adorned in gold. In fact, it is a real example of a term (oriental Gothic) coined by Ruskin which describes the Arabic and Western architectural styles mixing.
The Fish Markets and the Back Streets
Through the market we observed numerous things, such as the one armed 24-hour clock, the first bank in Europe, and the hunchback grasping the podium, where the newest laws were divulged to the public. Another discovery we made about Venice is that it sits upon thousands of old tree trunks, and that Venice had a stronghold on trade and import taxes.
The back streets are narrow, dark and winding, and they date back to 12th century. After business hours, this is the area where traders store their goods. In truth, it was a peek backstage, far beyond what is normally known for by tourists.
The Ponte de la Tette, which actually means the bridge of breasts was the original red light district. This industry was so popular in the early 13th century that the ruling government pushed prostitution all to this area.
We passed was known as the best restaurant in Venice, Da Fiore, located on Calle del Scaleter, a narrow back street. We also took in the residence of the famous Aldo Manucia, the inventor of the pocket-sized book.
19th Century Venice Closes The Canals
Our tour guide informed us that the leaders of Venice actually started filling in the canals in the 19th century. About 50 were filled in all to allow for pedestrian walks. Every street that is now named Rio Terre was actually a canal in the past. Even the Grand Canal was scheduled to be filled in to allow for vehicles, which thankfully did not occur, however, bicycles were legalized in 2007. New brands have been added across the bridges to allow for easier access with bicycles, even though I did not see even one.
The walking tour of Venice came to an end at the Friari Church which is glimmering with treasures and history, as well as the Titian fresco above the altar of the Ascension. We were left on our own to take in the beauty of the Friari Church as we bid farewell to our guide.Viewing Venice On Foot With A Guided Tour,