Ciao! Today we traveled to Venice and had a one of a kind cultural experience. Getting off the train in Venice, I experienced two feelings. One of complete awe due to the insanely picturesque landscape and blue waters, and the other was doubt in my confidence to wear shorts in the freezing cold (not to mention the Siberian winds decided to accompany us on our trip to Venice). Besides the temperature, Venice is one the most beautiful city I have ever been to. The city built on the water is something that can only be seen to this extent in Italy.
We started our day in Venice by taking a gondola ride through the narrow canals in between the colorful buildings. Although we got yelled at and were given three strikes being told not to move, it was still a very enjoyable experience. It was truly a one in million experience that adds to the cultural value and uniqueness of Italy, it only adds to this that I was able to enjoy it with such great new friends I have made on this trip.
We then took a walking tour of Verona in which we were able to learn so much about the history of Venice and how it differs so much from the rest of Italy. For example, it was interesting to hear that the Venice people were accepting of Jewish people during their time of persecution across much of Europe. Venice was always an accepting country to many different types of people which reminds me of America during its “melting pot” days. We were also told about the religious presence in Venice with the magnificent Basilica and strict dress code highlighting the importance of this. The Basilica took 30 years to build and 500 years to decorate which emphasizes the Italian value for appearance and elegant details. We learned a lot about the historical reasonings for bridges and city structure, and just how old and sacred Venice is to the Italian people. Venice is quite different from the rest of Italy but was still incredible and will forever be a great memory. Overall, my favorite experience today was the gondola ride (and the free gelato (thanks Frank)). I’m very excited to get back to Verona tomorrow and continue being an obvious tourist in awe of the beauty of this city.