Note: To help our scholars familiarize themselves with their host country, we asked each to watch a different 25-30 minute youtube video about a particular region of Italy. Each video stars Rick Steves, a foremost expert on European travel. After they watched their assigned videos, Scholars were asked to provide a summary of its contents and highlight a topic it covers that especially interests them – this could be anything from a moment in history to a place or a person. In addition to explaining their personal interest in the topic.
As a curious child, I am honored to invest time in researching about my future travels. My assigned city is a well preserved masterpiece known as Venice.
Although its history is doused in blood, the end result was a safe haven for the general public. One of the many locations on the lagoon is the sight of the great beginning of Venice, Torcello. Torcello is now a depopulated location that is surrounded by forest land and the oldest church. After the fall of Rome, the barbarians began to burn down and rampage villages, causing the people to abandon their own towns/villages. They moved out to the lagoon, deforesting part of Italy along the way, to build their new homes. They used the raw materials to create a level in which to build upon; the mud and raw materials would make a great asset to the stability of Venice. As they developed on the outskirts, they became a village/town of fisherman, and not of farmers. Venice became a trading empire with economic and military power. They were the first mass produced military Arsenal, that could build an entire warship in 24 hours.
In Venice, many of the local tourists stay between the Rialto Bridge and St. Marks. St. Marks is known to be the political and religious center. Most travel on the island is on the many boats located in the waters. These are know as vaporettos; vaporettos are similar to trains, they have numbers and stops. Other forms of travel would be the gondolas, traghettos, and vaporettos. (The gondolas are $100 for 45 minutes; travel expert Rick Steves recommends splitting the cost between six people as it is one of the most beautiful forms of travel.) The traghettos are “gondola like”, but they travel through the grand canal. The vaporettos are city bus boats that go beyond and reach the internal heart of the lagoon cities. Torcello is actually one of the cities that a vaporettos can travel to, others include Murano, the city of glass, and Burano, a pastel wonderland(lace). St. Marks Square, also known as the main square, faces the Basilica San Marco and Campanile. These locations both hold true treasure, and are relics of the ancient past. The Basilica is a political and economic staple, while the Campanile a magical “orchestra”. Simply put by Rick, “People complain about the $25 cost of a beer, but it’s not $25 for the beer, it’s $25 for a table at the most expensive piece of real estate in Europe, listening to the live orchestra, surrounded by the wonders of Venice, and it comes with a drink. Come on, don’t complain.”
The Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs are also some of the most memorable places to visit. The story says that prisoners were taken through the Doge’s Place and the Bridge of Sighs, prisoners would sigh at the beautiful sight of their Venice as it was their last remembrance. As a town of 70,000 people that entertains more than a million people each day, we hear about and see many entertaining sites. So, because Venice is a wealthy city, we as travelers, are able to explore more of what it truely means to be a Venetian. The wealth started with the Renaissances movement through Europe, it began in Florence, traveled to Rome through their pope, then in 1520 after Raphael death, it established itself in Venice. This was due to the wealthy merchants, and their thirst for art-signifying wealth. This art came to be know as “situ art”; most of art is located in the Church of the Frari. The contain “masterpieces by Giorgiore and Titian”, as well as classics of the Venetian Renaissance. This is amazing because all these great art pieces are meant to be there/ intended to be on the walls of that estate. There are places like galleries that showcase many art pieces like the Uffizi, the Vatican, but in Venice it’s known as the Accademia.
All in all, my research has lead me to a ton of amazing facts. As a Wandering Scholar it’s easy to get lost and like Rick Steves said, “it’s okay”. The great thing about traveling to/touring Venice is that at every restaurant or business, they have cards that tell you your location. This excites me, because I know as wandering scholars, we’ll all have some sort of aid along our way.