Monday, 11 August 2014
It was quite a long ride to Venice from Tirano. We had to ride to Milan first and then get on to another train to reach our destination.
This was my first glimpse of Venice when we walked out of the train station. I was totally charmed by the scenery before me; each monuments, piazzas, narrow lanes and canals seemed to tell its own history that no one had ever recorded. Venice was indeed a priceless treasure and it was amazing how it had remained intact like it was hundreds of years ago.
Photo credit to: http://www.spandimama.com/venexia/
It was already four when we eventually settled down, so we could not explore far. We bought the vaporetti (water-taxi) and museum passes, and booked the Doge Palace Secret Itinerary tour. Food in Venice was costly but we highly recommended the gelato at Quanto Basta because we ate its gelato on all 3 days while we were there.
I managed to capture these beautiful Venetian masks along the street. In the past, these masks were worn by the Venetians whenever carnivals were held. The masks help them hide their identity and social status so that they could socialise freely in the carnivals. The masks also help Venetian women to engage in romantic encounters without revealing their identity. However, this tradition sadly came to a stop when Venice was seized by Austria.
I would say that Venice is one of the most unique city I've ever been to because it is a city of small islands built on a lagoon. Hence, to get from one island to another island, you need to cross a bridge or take a water-taxi.
Our walk in Cannaregio eventually brought us to the Jewish settlement, known as Campo de Ghetto Nuvo. In the past, this island was designated to the Jews by the Doge (leader of Venice) so that the Jews who were escaping from Nazi persecution could find refuge. Later, more and more Jews settled here due to anti-semitism in other parts of the world.
Once we were here, we wanted to visit Museo Ebraico (Jewish Museum), but it was closed for the day so we walked on.
We noticed that most of the buildings in the Jewish settlement were higher than the rest of Venice. Later, I read that when the Jewish population grew, the Doge did not grant them more land to build new housings. Hence, to accommodate the new settlers, the Jews built new apartments on top of the existing buildings.
The Jewish community grew further and so Ghetto Vechio was then designated to become part of the settlement. Unlike the earlier ghetto, the residents of Ghetto Vechio were formed by the wealthier Jewish community.
As the night closed in, we had to walk back to our accommodation as we were not familiar with our surroundings yet. For more info on Venice, tune in to my next post.