Tag Archives: student

Lions of Venice

The symbol of Saint Mark, the lion, can be spotted all over Venice. Here are a few of my favourite lions!


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Venetian Life

Venice has long been associated with the imposing Saint Mark’s Square and the bustling Rialto Bridge. Studying and living in Venice provides the opportunity to see another side of Venice. Venice is very much a living city, which  flourishes in its unusual environment. Canals remain vital to the Venetian life, not just acting as a tourist attraction. Food delivery, refuse collection, taxis, police, ambulances, hearses and buses all get about on the canals.

The Canale di Cannaregio is one of the main canals of Venice, along which delivery boats make their way into the city.

Food shopping at the Rialto market, picking up fresh vegetables and an amazing array of fish is good fun. However, after lectures and a stint in a library, you will inevitably run out of time to hit a market everyday. Billa and the COOP are the two most common supermarkets in Venice and can be found all over the city. Not known for its supermarkets, they are often small and hidden away. It is worth working out where your nearest one is for a bit of convenience. Be warned, the cashiers can get upset if you don’t have exact change!

“Gondole! Gondole!” Is a call that often confronts tourists as they make their way around Venice. In reality, the boats that you will come across most in Venice are locals’ smaller boats and delivery boats, as well as vaporetti, transporting Venetians and tourists a like. 

Boats collecting rubbish do their job, rain or shine, high tide or low tide. Below is the rubbish collection boat going about its regular business during a particularly high tide. Bin collectors wear special aqua alta wellies.

Local Venetians sell wellies to unsuspecting tourists and commuters during an unusually high aqua alta, along the Strada Nova.
Little dogs are an intrinsic part of the Venetian way of life. With only a small number of parks and open space at a high premium, the picollo pooch is certainly the favourite amongst Venetians. During my studies, I did notice a Great Dane with his owner, every now and then. So I guess there are anomalies to this rule.
In true student style we hung our washing up inside the apartment. If you’re lucky though, you will have somewhere outside to hang your washing in true Venetian style.
Venice is most fun when you escape the main tourists trails. Step down a couple of little side streets and often you are by yourself. Venice is really quite a quiet city and it really is an amazing place to explore!

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Window Shopping in Venice

Venice is full of beautiful shops, full of beautiful things to buy. With a student budget, however, sometimes a little bit of window shopping has to do. Here are a few of my favourite shop windows, you may notice a distinct lack of mask and glass window shops! I think I must have passed so many, that they stopped catching my eye! Next time I make it out to Venice, I will have to correct this!

This shop window can be found just off the famous Rialto Fish market. Wonderful herbs, spices and dried vegetables and fruit tempt you inside. Buy some spicy Italian sausage, fresh vegetables from the Rialto market and some dried chillies, tomatoes and mushrooms from here and make a delicious casserole.

Not so healthy as the previous window display, but just as tempting! This window is only next door from the shop selling spices and dried vegetables. Filled with a selection of sweets that would make Willy Wonka jealous, this shop is worth a visit just to gaze at the beautifully wrapped sweets and huge chunks of chocolate. Be warned, you can easily spend more than you ever wanted to on these blocks of chocolate.

Venice is definitely a city of art. Famous galleries from the Accademia to the Peggy Guggenheim attract thousands of tourist, year in year out. Smaller galleries and art shops are also well represented in the city. It is therefore no surprise that shops, favoured by artists also feature heavily in Venice. I loved the beautiful colours of all the paint powders. This photo really doesn’t do them justice.

Streghe Benvenute! Halloween isn’t widely celebrated in Venice, but this sweet shop would always have beautiful window displays without fail. The shop is located on the Strada Nova and if you walk past early in the morning, there is a chance you will see the lady who runs the shop, carefully changing and redesigning the display. Autumn saw a display of cuddly squirrels surrounded by Lindt shaped chocolate nuts and paper leafs. Christmas saw a spectacular display of white, silver and red wrapped sweets.

Venice’s Christmas decorations are understated and simple. Pretty, white fairy lights brighten up the occasional narrow street. A projection of falling snowflakes graces the sides of the Campanile in Saint Mark’s Square. Coin, however, takes full of advantage of the festive season. Coin is Italy’s department store and is great fun to explore, especially at the run up to Christmas. Trees covered in fake snow welcome shoppers in. Bright, white snow flakes fall decorate the outside of the building. You couldn’t help but get excited for the festive season as these went up!

Venice’s supermarkets are known for their displays, but I couldn’t help but smile at this display in the window of a small COOP along the Strada Nova. Near Christmas time, Panettone are everywhere! I was horrified to discover that my Italian teacher had never tried, or even heard of a mince pie. However, a slice of Panettone with a cup of tea gives even the best mince pie a run for its money!

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Make Mine a Spritz!

Entwined with Venice’s history, the Spritz has become a staple of Venetian life. The Spritz is comprised of white wine or Prosecco, a liqueur such as Campari or Aperol and sparkling mineral water over ice, commonly completed with a large green olive. Originating in Venice whilst it was under the Austrian Empire, this distinctive orange drink is now an unmistakable part of Venice’s bar culture.

So where is the best place to soak up the atmosphere whilst sipping on this Venetian classic? After lectures the Venetian students of Ca’ Foscari head to  Campo San Margherita, which by 5 o’clock is buzzing. On the south corner of the square you can find Margeret Duchamp, a small and friendly bar serving other cocktails along with the classic Spritz. Other bars are dotted about the square, in between restaurants and shops selling student books.

Head closer to San Marco and you will find you are fighting for space at the bar with tourists, rather than local students and Venetians. However, the draw of the luxurious watering holes of Venice can be too much to resist.  If making a visit to the famous Harry’s Bar you really should treat yourself to a Bellini, a snip at fifteen euros. However, this is still a pretty special place to sample a Spritz.

If you don’t want to pay a premium for your cocktail check out a couple of bars in Canneregio; the live music and friendly staff at Al Parlamento often draws a great crowd. Bar Sarpi, a tiny bar along Strada Nova, is another great place to pick up a Spritz. Closer to San Marco you can admire the quirky ceiling decoration of Bacaro Jazz whilst sipping on a Spritz.

Why not combine this Venetian classic with a spot of reading at one of Venice’s most beautiful libraries? The Querini Stampalia is home to an interesting collection of literature, a small gift shop and museum, as well as a little, but perfectly formed cafe and restaurant. The only library in Venice to open at weekends, pick up a Spritz one Saturday afternoon.

A visit to Venice isn’t complete unless you’ve tried this Venetian staple, so get yourself down to a local bar and try it for yourself!


Filed under Food and Drink