What a Ball Venice is

I have just returned from my third visit to Italy, with the intent on visiting the south, as I had never been there before. My flight took me to Venice and I decided to stay a few days, just to see if anything had changed. All was exactly as I remembered. The 800 year old buildings still looked old and the water in the canals was the same shade of green. What was gone was the smell associated with the city. It appears the government has gone to great lengths to keep the metropolis from sinking (it has been dropping at a rate of 2 millimetres per year) by restricting and controlling the flow of the tide, aiding in the preservation of the buildings and somehow eliminating the stagnant odour.

The only place worth staying in Venice is in St. Mark’s Square, the hubbub of activity. There are a few things you should be aware of: from the airport a 40 minute water taxi will take you to the square, but you will have to drag your suitcases along cobbled streets for 10-15 minutes. In itself that is not such an ordeal, but after a lengthy flight, a choppy boat ride, thirty plus degree heat and a bevy of tourists rushing nowhere fast in all directions, it can be quite an ordeal.

Most of the hotels are small and quaint, which is one if the reasons we visit Europe, however, elevators (if installed) are slow and unreliable. Not to be negative, but preparedness goes a long way in making your adventure enjoyable. Once settled in, it is time to explore and there is no better town in Europe to do just that. St Mark’s Square comes to life as soon as you stand in its centre. The Doge’s Palace, next to the Cathedral of St. Mark, stands directly across from the famous bell tower. Former government offices line the remaining three sides; all built in a Byzantine style and kept clean and restored.

Tourists are almost as abundant as pigeons, however before 9 am or after 5 pm the square empties out, except for a handful of tourists who are staying in the area. It seems the majority of visitors