Friday, April 9, 2010

American & Italian Perspectives of Venice and Traveling

As an American, traveling to Venice was a totally different experience for me. I had never been to Italy before and had always heard about Venice and seen pictures. I flew directly into Venice Marco Polo and stayed a few days in the city. Since then, I've traveled back to Venice two more times. For me, the train is the only option and is very easy to use. I typically avoid the tourist map and just wander around until I find what I'm looking for. Americans are generally interested in the museums, churches, monuments and tacky souvenir shops. For me, I feel like Americans stuck out very easily in Venice. I also went to Venice during two busy weekends-Carnevale and Easter. Many tourists from all over the world were packed into the small streets and into Piazza San Marco.

My Italian friends have very similar traveling experiences. Most take the train into the city, but others who own cars are able to drive directly there. Those who live around the area have been to Venice multiple times and usually know the easiest way to get around the city. Others have family members who know the ins and outs of the city. For the Italians, traveling to Venice is more common and not as popular as it is for all the other parts of the world. They also try to avoid the big holidays or weekends and try to visit during the week when it's less busy. Even for the Italians, the local people of Venice aren't the friendliest. We also both noticed that there aren't very many people our age in Venice. There were generally middle-aged and older families and not many teenagers.
In general, we didn't find many differences between our cultures and the way we travel. In the end, the way American and Italians travel is typically very similar and we both like experiencing the beauty of different places.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Family Weekend in Venice

This past travel weekend, I met my mom and dad in Venice. It was the first time I had seen them since January 14, so it was great to meet up with them! They flew into Venice and then went to Florence and on to Rome. On Saturday, I took the train into Venice and had to navigate my way to their hotel, which was pretty hard to find. It ended up being really close to Piazza San Marco and was a great location. I was sitting in the hotel waiting for them and they knocked on the window behind me. It was great to finally see them again!

I got to do a lot of things I hadn’t done the two times I went to Venice, so it was a lot of fun. We took a walking tour and went into the Doge’s Palace and through the Bridge of Sighs to the prison cells. Then we took a water taxi over to Murano and watched glass making at Ferro-Lazzarini. It was amazing to watch him because he made it look so easy. On Saturday night, we took a gondola through the canal and past Marco Polo and Casanova’s house then under the Bridge of Sighs. It was so quiet and all you could hear was the paddle against the water. It was a gorgeous evening!

On Monday, my parents came up to Paderno and I showed them around the campus. It was a beautiful day and we walked to Crespano and then ate at the pizzeria. I’m so glad they got to see where I’ve been for the past three months! It was a great weekend and I can’t wait to see them again soon!