The Floating City of Venice

For our second weekend trip sponsored by USF/FUA, we headed to the coastal city of Venice!

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Made up of almost 120 individual islands, Venice doesn’t have any actual cars or motorized vehicles on land, but rather depends on boats for travel – even for emergency services. More than 400 bridges allow the heavy foot traffic of nearly 15 million visitors each year.

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Our first stop on Saturday was a tour of the famous Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark’s Square. St. Mark’s Basilica showcased a blend of Byzantine-style mosaics with some restored in the 17th century. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the interior. However, the Square also featured the Campanile and Clock Tower of St. Mark that made for other great sights. The Campanile, or bell tower, stands at 323 feet tall, closer to the water than the other main structures in the Square.

The Clock Tower features astronomical signs and bright blue colors, serving as a archway into the main street of the city. The rich history of this area made me really appreciate the antiquity featured in such a now tourist-centered area of Italy.

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Unfortunately, the early part of our second day consisted of torrential downpours and more time spent in the hotel. After the clouds finally cleared, we were able to go on a gondola that took us through some of the city’s many canals. Although the cost was high for the boat (80 Euro split between six people for a 30-minute ride) the experience was one I’ll never forget. I have a new-found respect for the beauty of this subtle tradition that has happened in Venice for hundreds of years.

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Even though the weather wasn’t the best, it couldn’t rain on my Venetian parade. I really enjoy this trip more than I thought I would. With only two weeks left in Florence, I can’t wait to go on more trips like this one in these closing weekends of the program!

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