Enchanting Venice, La Serenissima
Let us take a camper journey to the most famous and charming city in Italy, discovering its surreal, timeless beauty.
Venice seduces with its elegant atmospheres and with a criss-cross of lanes, bridges, arches and waterways. During Carnival, the city is twice as wonderful, and beauty flashes at every step.
One cannot possibly resist the idea of a camper trip to the city of the Doges, especially around February, when Carnival approaches. With its changing colours and its canals, Venice is a city divided into six ancient districts: San Marco, San Paolo, Santa Croce, Castello, Dorsoduro and Cannaregio. As everyone knows, the roads in Venice are actually waterways that create a wonderful maze of hidden lanes and small squares, unexpected corners, churches and bell towers, bridges and covered walkways.
To enjoy the magic experience of getting lost in Venice, you must explore it on foot, but you can easily reach it from Bologna via the A13 motorway, or the A4 if coming from the north or east. The A14 for those coming from the south-eastern coast. As for parking, there are several excellent camper parking spaces, served by shuttle buses that comfortably reach the centre of town.
(See “Useful information” below)
Santa Croce and San Polo
Santa Croce and San Paolo
Our camper safely parked, we can start our visit crossing the different neighbourhoods with the ferry. We begin with Santa Croce and then San Paolo, where we cross open air markets and lanes to reach one of the most famous spots: the Rialto bridge, which crosses the Canal Grande, reflecting the fantastic skyline of Venetian palaces. Take some time to watch the amazing view over the Canal and the shops and cafés teeming with people. This is one of the liveliest parts of town, particularly during Carnival, and it leads us to Campo San Polo, an ancient square where masqued shows, parades and ceremonies used to take place in olden times. There are several great street markets in Rialto, best explored early in the morning; the area also boasts the Home of Goldoni, several churches worth a visit and the Great School of San Rocco. Here, we can admire amazing paintings by Tintoretto in the Sala dell’Albergo, Salone Maggiore and Salone Terreno.
Time seems to stop when we stand before works of art of such incredible beauty and value.
Cannaregio is nestled between the two districts mentioned above, along the Canal Grande; it is an authentic quarter, with the touch of local folklore and colour that other parts of the lagoon appear to have lost. Here is the world’s oldest Ghetto and the Jewish museum, that shows how life in this district used to be. In the 16th century, the Jewish community was controlled through strict rules, and the area seems to be suspended in ancient times.
Here in Cannaregio, Tintoretto used to live and his home is still visible. On the shores of the Canal Grande we also find
Ca’ D’oro, one of Venice’s most famous buildings, with its pinnacles, marbles and ogival windows reminiscent of the Orient. Elegant, fascinating architecture that becomes an unforgettable icon of the city.
Proceeding along the Canal Grande, we can reach one of the world’s most famous squares, the heart of Venetian life that gives this district its name: Piazza San Marco. This is the elegant lounge of this city, which turns into a theatre for its masks and artists during Carnival, enchanting visitors with its majestic Byzantine Basilica and its huge five domes.
Next door we find the Palazzo Ducale, with its light loggias and harmonious columns, which hosts the Museo dell’Opera, Armerie, and the grand halls and rooms of the Duchy Apartment.
Crossing the Ponte dei Sospiri, peeping on the tourists below from the narrow crannies, descending on the dark palace prisons are all experiences that will stay with you for a long time. Unforgettable feelings and incredible views are enjoyed from atop the Bell tower, using the lift. From that height you can view the whole city, like a postcard. On the other side of the square, the Correr Museum, the National Archaeological Museum and the halls of the Marciana Library are also worth a visit.
Dorsoduro and Castello
Dorsoduro and Castello
As we cross the Canal, we reach Dorsoduro, with a wonderful view over the baroque Basilica di santa Maria della Salute. It is great to just get lost here, walking among narrow lanes and street markets, like the one in Campo Santa Margherita. Art lovers will want to see the characteristic Ponte dei Pugni bridge (knows as the ‘bridge of fists’ because of the fights between rival gangs) and Ca’ Rezzonico, an elegant palazzo that hosts the Venetian 18th century museum. Also, the Galleria dell’Accademia is an amazing collection of invaluable art works, including Giorgione, Veronese, Titian and Lotto.
Heading back towards Piazza san Marco, we proceed to the district of Castello, where we can walk along Riva degli Schiavoni, and lean off the Ponte di Paglia to take a picture of the Ponte dei Sospiri. Here were the homes hosting famous visitors, such as Petrarca and Balzac,and here we can see the beautiful architecture and stunning interiors of the Hotel Danieli.
The Church of san Zaccaria, combining Gothic and Renaissance styles, the Church of San Giorgio dei Greci, and the grand, severe Basilica dei Santi Govanni e Paolo are certainly worth a visit as well. Another iconic monument of the Castello district is the Arsenal; it used to host on the world’s largest builiding site, with warehouses, laboratories and workshops. Some of these areas are used today as exhibition space during the Venice Biennale.
Travelling north from Venice, we can visit Murano and Burano, to find out about the ancient crafts of glass blowing and lace making (Burano is famous for its bobbin lace). We can enjoy here a close view of these picturesque villages, where the houses are built right on the lagoon, creating bright colour palettes: pink, yellow, orange, green...
A real joy for the eyes and a memory that will last for ever.
You can easily reach Venice via the A13 motorway if you are coming from Bologna, the A4 if you are coming from Trieste, Milan and Turin, the A14 from the southeastern coast, the A1 from Naples.
As for parking, Venice has several excellent camper parking spaces, served by shuttle buses that comfortably reach the centre of town.
Camping Village Miaramare www.camping-miaramare.it
Camper area of Venezia Porta Ovest: www.veneziaportaovest.it
Caravan Park San Giuliano Mestre: www.caravanparksangiulianomestre.it
Venice Camper Parking: www.venicecamperparking.it
Union Lido Camping site: www.unionlido.it