After leaving the breathtaking Zurich, we took a train (SBB CFF FFS) down to the city of romance, Venice. Due to a landslide the ni...

After leaving the breathtaking Zurich, we took a train (SBB CFF FFS) down to the city of romance, Venice. Due to a landslide the night before, our original line was interrupted and we were redirected to another route, stopping by Domodossola, instead of Milano Centrale. Located at the foot of the Italian Alps, Domodossola is a small, yet beautiful town, surrounded by the mountains. 

The view on the way -  beautiful!
The railway station

The railway station

The town of Domodossola - home to about 18,000 people
The beer came v free snacks :D

After a stopover of nearly 2 hours, we continued our journey to Venice, the city which is renowned for its stunning architecture, artworks, mysterious passageways, and of course, the canals, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon. 

Watched the sunset as we crossed into the city.
Since it was kinda late after checking in, we headed for dinner at a small pizzeria place near Rialto Bridge, which was about 8 minutes walk from our hotel. The food was so so only...

Grilled salmon steak

Spaghetti with mixed fish
Rialto is the oldest bridge in Venice, built strategically over the Grand Canal. Lined by shops on both sides, this is the perfect place to buy souvenirs, carnival masks and Murano glassware. Lucky for us, it wasn't very crowded at that time so we managed to get a good picture of the Grand Canal from the bridge.

Ponte di Rialto

The Grand Canal seen from Ponte di Rialto

Carnival masks

Glass decos from Murano, the glass island
Walking between the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco is one of the most popular walking routes in all of Venice. The walk wandered down many narrow alleys full of shops, boutiques and eating venues with many twists and turns. There are little signs (above normal eye level) on the corner of the buildings directing to the Piazza

Some pathway on the way to Piazza San Marco

 Gondolas parked here after operating hours
Piazza San Marco, or St Mark's Square is one of the most important squares in Italy and is definitely a must-see in Venice. Referred to as the ‘drawing room of Europe’ by Napoleon, this square is surrounded by spectacular historic landmarks including St Mark's Basilica, St Mark's Campanile, St Mark's Clocktower and Doge's Palace. Standing in the middle of this magnificent square at night, surrounded by the illuminated buildings, was an experience in itself.

The Piazza
Basilica di San Marco - under restoration at that time :(
Torre dell'Orologio, the clocktower
Doge's Palace on the right
The Lion of Venice - an ancient bronze winged lion sculpture which symbolizes the city, as well as one of its patron saints, St Mark, after its arrival there in the 12th century
The next morning, we headed to the ancient Rialto market, where the locals shop for their daily supplies of fish, vegetables, fruits, spices and other food stuffs. It's best to arrive early as the wholesalers and most of the retailers close up shops by noon.

Erberia - veggie market

Pescheria - fish market

Weird looking fish :P
Sfogliatina al cioccolato with espresso
Be aware that many eateries charge an extra fee if you consume your drink or food seated. Locals normally have their espresso at the counter. Ask in advance so you don't get caught out. We wandered to the St Mark's Square again after that.

An entirely different atmosphere during the day

Feeding the pigeons is not permitted

St Mark's Campanile
Standing at the junction between the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco is the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (Basilica of St. Mary of Health), commonly known simply as the Salute. This beautiful Baroque building is one of the largest churches in Venice and has the status of a minor basilica.
This church was built to honor the Virgin Mary
The Grand Canal during the day

A gondola ride is the one Venetian tourist trap everyone falls into willingly. Lol. Like most people say, no trip to Venice would be complete without a gondola ride. Not cheap but truly an unique experience.
The gondolier getting ready

For those who are looking for a cheap (and quick) gondola-like ride, you can try taking the traghetti across the Grand Canal. The boats are large gondolas without bow decoration, brocaded chairs, and other luxury trimmings.

In such a relatively small area, Venice harbors many artistic and architectural wonders. It is one of the most alluring cities in the world and as a visitor, you will inevitably get 'lost'. The best way to experience this city is to pick a direction and wander. Getting 'lost' allows you to stumble upon the city's many secrets. Arm yourself with a map and donned your comfortable shoes for endless walking. No matter where you go, you'll find history, beauty and romance.

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