Venice – Island of Glass

Venice, Italy is one of my favorite spots in the world (so far anyway).  Because I am a glass beadmaker it is like going to the source of glass beadmaking.  It all started on the island of Murano.  More about Murano later.

Venice is an old city, shaped like a fish with the Grand Canal running down the middle.  The mouth is where people and food enter the city, passing under the Rialto Bridge and ending at San Marco Square.  Venice was built on a foundation of more than a million trees, or wood pilings driven nearly 15 feet into the clay.  The population of Venice is decreasing.  It is about 60,000 residents now but 25% are 65 or older.  In 1450 Venice had 180,000 citizens.  Humidity and occasional flooding make it difficult to maintain apartments plus there are lots of regulations for remodeling apartments due to the historic nature of Venice.  There is lots of walking in Venice – and going up and down bridges.  Baby strollers don’t do too well there.  Grocery stores are few and involve lots of walking with all your groceries, over bridges.   There are some speciality shops in the neighborhoods where you can purchase fresh cheese, bread, and wine.  The Rialto Market is something to see!  This market is incredible with the array of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat.

Vaporetti are Venice’s public transit system.  They are like city buses but no wheels!  You board at yellow and white stops around the city.  You buy an iMob card which is good for five years, re-charging tickets as needed.    The iMob card makes it easy to flash in front of the ticket machine and hop onto a vaporetto.  Single tickets are 6.50 euros so it is much more economical to buy groups of tickets.    But mostly you walk.  Venice is a walking city and is very quiet since there is no traffic noise.

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