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Venice 2020

In June 2020 I decided to travel to Venice in Italy, immediately after the country had reopened its borders. In this video I want to show you what travel in Italy is like now and share my top 23 things to do in Venice during the new normal. (upbeat music) I’m just so happy right now to be back in Venice. It’s beautiful, it’s amazing, and it’s also much warmer than it was in Milan, which is quite nice too. And the good news is also, here in the Veneto region, the masks are not obligatory outside. So, I can take it off, (chuckling) freedom. So now we’re gonna take the Vaporetto, which is the water bus, and we’re gonna go to the Piazza San Marco, which is close to where my hotel is, let’s go. (upbeat music) So, first impressions, of course Venice is just as stunning as ever, but it’s so quiet, there’s almost no boats as you can see behind me, the water’s almost completely empty, because there’s no tourists. So barely any gondolas in the water at the moment. (upbeat music) Right, I just stepped off the boat, so I can finally take off that mask. So now it’s time to get to the hotel, I’m gonna cross Piazza San Marco to get there. The stunning Piazza San Marco or Saint Mark’s square is the social, religious and political center of Venice. Some of the most interesting buildings on this square, are the Basilica di San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale and two columns. One with San Teodoro, and one with the Winged Lion of Venice. The symbol of the City and its patron saint, Saint Mark. Piazza San Marco hosts many popular cafes, including the famous Caffe Florian. (upbeat music) (door opening) Welcome to my new home for the next three days. This is really a beautiful room, true Venetian style. Here we have the bed that looks really like a bed for a prince or something. This mirror, a little table there, and of course, best thing is the view. Take a look outside. So it’s time to out for dinner. And I’m gonna go to a restaurant that was recommended to me by the guy who checked me in. It’s a local place, and I think it could be really good. (bright happy music) And of course, the drink in Venice is the Spritz Aperol. Venice’s signature drink is a super refreshing cocktail, made with Aperol, recycled white wine and sparkling water. Still just as good. (upbeat happy music) The pizza arrived, it’s the specialty pizza of this restaurant and it looks delicious. (whooshing) (upbeat happy music) Good morning. So, it seems unfortunately like we’re a bit unlucky with the weather today. ‘Cause if you look outside, it’s really pouring. All right, so first of all, we’ll go to the tourist office to ask what exactly is open today and which museums we can visit, ’cause unfortunately it’s Monday today, so some of the museums might be closed. After a quick stop at the tourist office, I went to visit one of the most famous sites of Venice. The Basilica Di San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica in English, is the most important church of Venice and one of the finest examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture in the world. The building dates back to the 11th century, but was originally begun in honor of Saint Mark, whose body was smuggled out of Egypt by Venetian merchants. The architecture of the Basilica, reflects Venice’s cosmopolitan attitude and wealth and features more than 8,500 square meters of glittering mosaics. Next, I walked over to the second show stopper site on Piazza San Marco. The Palazzo Ducale or Doge’s Palace is one of the most impressive buildings on Piazza San Marco. It was built in 1340 and was the official residence of the Doge of Venice, the leader of the once mighty Venetian Republic. The famous Ponte dei Sospiri, the Bridge of Sighs, connects the palace to a prison. The most famous prisoner to ever cross this bridge was Giacomo Casanova. But the notorious seducer didn’t stay for very long and made an ingenious escape through the roof of the prison that he later described in his memoirs. After checking out the palace, I crossed Piazza San Marco to get to the Campanile. (bright music) And here we are on the Campanile. Nice, the view is spectacular, I mean, I’ve been here before, but I forgot how awesome the view actually is. Venice looks so beautiful from above. The 99-meter-tall Campanile is a bell tower of Saint Mark’s Basilica, and the tallest structure in all of Venice. It was initially built as a watch tower to sight approaching ships and served as a landmark to guide Venetian ships safely back into the harbor. Because of its height, the tower offers spectacular panoramic views of the City below. (bell tolling) Actually, this bell tower is still being used and the noise was just incredible. Oh, I had to hold my hands over my ears, it was so loud. (preppy music) So, this is really one of my all-time favorite things to do in Venice. It’s basically just to head out and try to get lost in all the little backstreets and little allies, it’s just so much fun, ’cause you’re always discovering something beautiful or interesting when you do that. It’s just incredible I guess. Venice is just the most beautiful and biggest maze in the world. (preppy music continues) (mellow music) As you can see, I’m standing in front of one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the Rialto Bridge, which connects two of the inner city parts of Venice and crosses the Canal Grande and of course what’s striking is how empty the water is behind me, there’s only a boat every once in a while. The Ponte Di Rialto, or Rialto Bridge from 1592, was an amazing feat of engineering in its day and served as the only land link across the Grand Canal for centuries. The bridge offers spectacularly romantic views of gondolas gliding down Venice’s central waterway. It is particularly beautiful around sunset time and at night. (upbeat music) ♪ One, two three, go ♪ And we’re now on Rialto Brigde and usually they, during the normal, normal, there would be a huge line here with people trying to take their picture, but with the new normal, there’s no line, and you can just look at it to your heart’s delight. (upbeat music) So, it’s lunch time and I found this little trattoria close to the Rialto Bridge, and I’m gonna try a very famous specialty from Venice, called Sarde In Saor. Sarde in saor is one of Venice’s most traditional dishes. It’s prepared by frying fresh sardines and then marinating them in white wine or vinegar with softly cooked onions, pine nuts and raisins. Really nice, it kinda tastes a bit like sweet and sour with the raisins in particular. So, I made it to the Basilica dei I Frari, which is one of the most beautiful churches in Venice. (inspirational music) The number one attraction at I frari is the 1518 Assunta by Titian, an incredibly radiant painting which captures the exact moment of the ascension of the Madonna into heaven. Other masterpieces inside the church, include Bellini’s Madonna with child, the Doge Pesaro funeral monument and Canova’s pyramid mausoleum which was originally intended as a monument to Titian. (upbeat music) I walked around Venice some more and then took the Vaporetto back towards the area around Rialto Bridge. Wow, and it looks like the weather’s finally getting a bit better, so, this is the first time I’ve seen blue skies since I arrived in Venice. So nice. And of course, the gondolas are everywhere. Wow, this is such a beautiful time to visit the City, I can only recommend it. Come now, before all the tourists come back. (upbeat music) All right, so night is slowly falling in Venice, which means it’s time for spiritz Aperol and cicchetti. Chicchete are delicious little Venetian tapas, there’s all kinds of different versions and they’re all just so incredibly delicious, so we’re gonna go out now and have some cicchetti with Spiritz Aperol. So here we have a selection of different cicchetti, and this one here, baccala montecato is one of the most traditional ones. It’s cod with cream and it has polenta as well, then sarde in saor, what we also had for lunch already, it’s sardines with a sweet and sour sauce and onions and we have some fried potato here, some squid, some bruschetta with bell peppers and two other things that I have yet to try. So, yeah, I’m really a bit amazed that not more tourists know about this, but the cicchetti are some of the best things you can have in Venice, so I highly recommend those if you’re ever in the City. And by the way, this is a sign of a really good place, if the menu’s written on a piece of cardboard like this, ’cause it means that the things are usually really fresh and it changes daily, depending on what kind of ingredients they can buy at the market. Well, I just left the restaurant, it was a great meal, but unfortunately now it’s pouring again. Now I’ll have to walk back through the rain. It’s about a 10-minute walk, so, it’s not too bad. (upbeat music) And we’re back. Wow, that was quite a wet way home. (upbeat music) Good morning, so it’s time for breakfast and yesterday, I was at the (speaks in foreign language) and got some really tasty Venetian pastries. Take a look. And they look so good. Of course, this is an Italian breakfast. I got an espresso, which is this, it’s this tiny coffee over here. And usually, when you have an espresso in Italy, you have it with a glass of water, and that’s what I have right here. And it’s sunny today. That’s amazing, for the first time, since I arrived in Venice, the sun is shining, it’s the perfect day for a island tour. (upbeat music) If you ever wondered how the post service works in Venice, this is how it works. Like a ton of Amazon packages on a boat. So, yeah, the post men don’t actually swim here. (upbeat music) And we are on the boat now. Our first stop will be the Cimitero, and that’s Cemetery Island of Venice. (upbeat music) So, we’re now on the Isola San Michele, which is a Cemetery Island of Venice. In earlier days, the dead were buried inside of Venice, but then during the French occupation in the 19th century, the cemetery was opened here. The peaceful cemetery island of San Michele features a charming Renaissance church and is the final resting place of many illustrious locals and foreigners. (peaceful music) Two of the most well known people buried here, are the American modernist poet, Ezra Pound, and revolutionary Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky. (peaceful music) (bright music) We just landed on the Island of Murano, which is famous for glass production, artisan glass. Let’s take a look around. Because of the fire hazards of glass blowing, this industry was moved from the city center of Venice to the Island of Murano in the 13th century. Today the island is home to dozens of glass shops, some of which offer live demonstrations of their craft. It’s the perfect place to shop for some typically Venetian souvenirs. So, I’m now in a tiny restaurant called Acquastanca, and specialty here is seafood, so let’s try it. So, there’s the food. It’s asparagus with shrimps and pasta. Next, I took the Vaporetto to Torcello. (bright music) Now we’re on the tiny Island of Torcello which is typical famous for a very old church. Let’s go check it out. (upbeat music) Torcello was once a Byzantine metropolis of 20,000 people and it has the stunning mosaics to prove it inside its Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta that was founded in the 7th century. The two most famous mosaics inside the cathedral are the golden Madonna in an Eastern apse and the Last Judgment on the Western wall. (upbeat music) After a quick tour of Torcello, I took the Vaporetto to the bigger island next door. Well, here we are. Welcome to Burano, the most colorful village in Italy, maybe in the world, let’s take a look. The reason for the colorful houses in Burano is that fishermen wanted to be able to spot their home village more easily after a long day out a sea. On a sunny day just looking at the incredible color schemes of the village puts you in a great mood. The best thing to do here is to wander ’round in the little backstreets and take lots of pictures. Burano also has a famous Lace Museum and a beautiful church called Chiesa di San Martino. (quirky music) As the sun began to set I took one of the last boats from Burano back to Venice. (upbeat music) We’re on our way now to the Osteria Mocenigo, where we hopefully try some more, really good Venetian food. (upbeat music) As you all know, Venice is built on water, so obviously seafood is one of the best choices for food here that you can make. I haven’t really had that much seafood here yet, so I decided to change this tonight in the great osteria, and the first course just arrived and looks stunning. Seafood here, as you can see, squid and shrimps, man, it looks so good. This is cuttlefish, cooked in its own ink with polenta. This is a Venetian dish I’ve heard a lot about, but I’ve been too scared to try it until now. All right, let’s take the first bite. Pretty good. Tastes like seafood. Like squid. Well, that was not my favorite suit, but I’m glad I actually tried it. (upbeat music) (quirky music) All right, I’m walking home now through the empty streets of Venice. And I got a weird feeling, maybe we’ll meet someone. (quirky music) (bell tolling) – So is this your first health crisis? (speaks in foreign language) In 1613 we had a similar issue here in Venice. 80,000 people died, out of a population of 150,000. I hope you’re doing much better today. At least your masks look a little bit more comfortable than mine. (curious music) – All right, so let’s go out, discover Venice a little more. (light curious music) So, we are now going up the Ponte dell’Accademia, and the Accademia is the biggest art museum in Venice and the bridge in front of it is the only remaining wood bridge in Venice. The views from he bridge are spectacular, it’s one of the best views you can get in the City and absolutely perfect for those Instagram pictures. (curious music) The Gallerie dell’Accademia is Venice’s most important art museum and was founded when Napoleon decided to install his haul of Venetian art trophies here in 1807. Some of the most important masterpieces here include Carpaccio’s 10,000 martyrs of Mount Ararat, Tintoretto’s Creation of the Animals, Veronese’s Feast in the house of Levi and Titian’s Presentation of the Virgin in the precious Sala dell’Albergo. (extravagant music) I took the Vaporetto from Accademia back to Rialto Bridge. And now we’re gonna have lunch at one of my favorite places from when I used to study here as an Italian student, it’s called Antico Forno and it sells pizza by the slice. Pizza al taglio, as they say in Italian, and the pizza there is so delicious. Conveniently located close to Rialto Bridge, the Antico Forno pizzeria sells some of the best pizza in Venice. They’re constantly preparing fresh varieties and you can pick and choose slices from the pizzas that they have on offer during your visit. After the delicious pizza it was time for some ice cream at one of the best ice cream shops in Venice, the Gelateria Il Doge, which offers many inventive flavors. (bright upbeat music) Oh, it’s actually incredibly good. This is the Crema di dogi what I’m having here. It’s a specialty of the house. Wow. So, welcome to Campo Santa Margherita. This is a true local square here, and it’s one of the best places to come for having a Spritz Aperol when it’s happy hour between six and eight, but since it’s Venice, you can also have it whenever you want. I’ve seen people having the Spritz Aperol at like nine in the morning too, so yeah, that’s what we’re gonna do here. (upbeat music) So even though it was only afternoon I decided to have one more delicious Aperol Spritz before catching my train to Florence. All right, cheers, or as they say here, Cin Cin, to an amazing time in Venice, Italy.

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