Past and Present Venetian Secrets




Smooth sailing to Venice

It seems that anytime I plan any sort of trip, I end up reporting about how many times I got lost. Thankfully, my trip to Venice this weekend was a success. That isn’t to say that I didn’t get lost, but I got lost on purpose. I should start from my departure from Milan. Unlike our last encounter with taking the train out of Milan, we decided to buy the tickets online. We were really fortunate to find inexpensive tickets in first class. My roommate and I were very excited to say the least. It didn’t seem like a necessary investment until after our trip was over and we were so glad our seats were extra comfortable. The great thing about Venice’s train station is that it is literally at the entrance of the city. Therefore, we did not need to find any sort of transport in order to get to the exciting parts of the city.

As expected, there were a lot of people from all over. However, that didn’t matter because it was still an enjoyable experience. This was not my first time in Venice. I was fortunate enough to have been there before about 2 (or 3) years ago. Nevertheless, seeing the city again took me back to the feeling I felt when I first stepped into Venice. It was like I was reliving the same moment again. In that moment, I knew that nothing go wrong because I was in a familiar setting that felt like a second home. 

Walking aimlessly to our target

During the trip, I felt like a tour guide because this was my roommates first time in Venice and I wanted her to have a great experience. Luckily I remembered a lot of the information my Italian teacher had told us about certain buildings and monuments. It was great to go to the big attractions such as the Basilica di San Marcos, but my favorite part is always walking around the city with no purpose. In doing so, you find a lot of hidden gems that you wouldn’t other wise see if you stuck to the main paths.

An example of finding hidden prizes is the Venice Secrets: Crime and Justice Exhibit. The first time I was in Venice, I did not see any such exhibit. Of course this caught our attention and we went right in. The exhibit is very interesting for many reasons. It does show a lot of gruesome depictions of the Venetian Inquisition, however, it is not simply a gore fest with no explanation. At the front desk we were given audio-guides that would explain several parts of the exhibit. In every room there is a number on the wall in which you play on the audio-guide. To others this might seem like another boring museum tour, but to my roommate and I it is a fun and informative experience. We like that sort of stuff. The history behind a city, even if it is dark and full of regrets

The gore, documents, and historical facts of this exhibit were all really interesting and completely worth my time. However, what I enjoyed most of walking around was walking without a bunch of people surrounding me. That really changes a persons mood while exploring. It is really hard to enjoy an exploration when there are tons of other people crowding you. But if you just keep walking, then you’ll find peace even in a busy touristy city like Venice.

indulging on the sweetest of treats

While in the city, my roommate and I were not sure if we should have a meal there. Most restaurants in a very touristy city fall into the food stereotypes that most foreigners are accustomed to. In the end we decided to skip a proper meal and just eat a lot of sweets. It doesn’t seem like a very healthy option, but it doesn’t hurt to indulge once in a while. It also hard to avoid eating sweets when there are literally tons of chocolate and gelato shops in one tiny city. 

My roommate and I had gelato from a small shop in front of the canal. It was a nice view, but the gelato was nothing different, or special, from any other that we had previously tried. It’s not to say that the gelato isn’t good, it just wasn’t anything special. But it satisfied the sugar crave we had developed after walking for about 4 hours straight. One notable shop that we were very excited to try was the Magnum store. At first it seemed like another overpriced tourist trap, but as we walked by and saw people coming out with custom made ice creams, we knew we had to try it. Lucky for us it wasn’t a completely outrages price. The Magnum brand is one of my favorites, but their supermarket options don’t usually grab my attention. However, the options in this shop were really intriguing and I found it difficult to pick something. I eventually decided on something and it was absolutely delicious.

As I mentioned, there were tons of chocolate shops in Venice. There were a few that caught our eye, but one particular store that has a chocolate fountain-like window display really interested us. While inside we browsed a little and saw the prices, bur remained skeptical on the quality of the products. Those doubts were quickly put to rest by a nice gentleman names Antonio. He gave us a sample of some of the hazelnut chocolate balls (which were absolutely delicious) and before we knew it he was making us try almost everything in the store. Aside from the chocolate, we also got to chat with him a little, which is my favorite thing about Italy. When people realize you’re not from there they tend to have conversations with you about your origins. I personally don’t mind, but some might be disturbed by this. While chatting with Antonio, we found out he’s actually from Napoli. It doesn’t seem that odd, but to my roommate and I it was very interesting because our last Italian professor was also named Antonio and was from Napoli. We all got a bit of a laugh from that. To conclude the journey through our dessert adventure, we did end up buying two small boxes of chocolate for our families back home in California.

Saying good-bye never gets easy

As I mentioned, this was not my first time in Venice. However, when it was time to go, I found it extremely difficult to part ways. I always say that Venice isn’t my favorite city in Italy, but when I am there I love everything about it (except how crowded it is). As I looked at the Venice view on last time, I remembered how much I missed looking at the boats and gondolas full of people pass rapidly by the canals. Looking over from a bridge, I always feel like it’s my first time in Venice, and the Venetian wonder always charms its way into my heart. Venice is still not the best city in Italy (in my list), but it is one that I hold a lot of fond memories of. I know this won’t be the last time I’m in Venice, but for now it is the last. It was difficult to say good-bye to those wonderful views, but it was time to go home to Milan.


On the gondola. This is the “bridge of sighs” which was the bridge that connected the court to the prison.
I believe this is city hall, but if not then here is another cool picture from my gondola ride.
One of the views I absolutely love.
Some of my receipts from the trip as well as the map of the exhibit.
A picture of my custom made Magnum ice cream.
Another view from the gondola.
A painting from the exhibit depicting some a scene of the council of ten.
One of the displays at the crimes and justice exhibit.
A view from my gondola ride.
Basilica di San Marco