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This video is an excerpt from a much longer Italy Travel Talk. To view other
topics, or to watch my Italy Talk in its entirety, visit ricksteves.com, or
check out my Rick Steves YouTube channel. Enjoy.
Hi, I'm Rick Steves and I want to
share with you my take on one of the greatest cities you can visit anywhere
in Europe, and that is Venice, and when you think about Venice you also have to
think about the Veneto, that is the region around Venice, which has some
beautiful towns. So we're gonna look at Venice, we're gonna take a side trip to
Padova, Verona, and then a little bit out of the Veneto, towards the South, but an
obvious side trip from Venice, and that is called Ravenna.
Thanks for joining us, and we'll start with Venice. Now Venice is the best
preserved big city in Europe. It is just beautifully preserved in the middle of its
lagoon in northern Italy, and it's a town that goes way, way back. Remember,
Venice started out as a refugee camp, really. After the fall of Rome,
peace-loving people on the mainland were overrun by all the barbarians going back
and forth, having their little villages burned and trampled. Finally, they got
together and said, "this is going to be miserable but let's move out in the
lagoon, and hope the barbarians don't like water." So they abandoned their farms,
they literally deforested that part of Italy, to pound tree trunks into
the mud to support their little town, and they made a village, a fishing village
instead of a farming village, out in the lagoon, and gradually that morphed into a
trading center, and they were great traders, and when they reach their
pinnacle, they had a trading empire that stretched all the way to the Holy Land,
and they were the economic powerhouse in Europe. It was-their dollar was the
dollar. And when you go today, you'll find that the Venice of a thousand years ago
survives remarkably well. It was able to control a lot, not because only was a
great trader but it was also quite an impressive military power. Venice had
the first really mass-produced military sort of complex called the Arsenal. And
at the Arsenal, and you can see it today when you walk out there, it's a10 minute
walk from the main square, you'll find the place where they could mass-produce
their warships. in a very early form of mass production with an assembly
line, they could put together an entire warship in a couple of days, and
outfit it in one more day. The story is, whenever Venice had an adversary, a
potential military adversary, they'd invite him down, and they'd say,
"let's go to the arsenal and we'll show you how we make our ships." And they would build
the ship in, like, two days, and those potential adversaries would go home and
say, "let's just not mess with Venice". I mean it is such a powerhouse. When you look at
Venice today it's the shape of a fish, and it's perfectly preserved. There's a
law that prohibits anybody from changing any of these buildings, I believe there's a
couple of modern buildings in the town, the only one you're likely to see is the
train station. When you look at that fish-shaped island, you can see, if it is a fish,
the great intestine would be the Grand Canal, right. And up until a century
ago it was an island, but then it was connected with the causeway. The causeway
goes to the mainland and it brings the highway and several train lines, so
you've got Venice now connected with the rest of Italy, and the rest of Europe. You
got a big train station, and you got a big parking lot right there near the
mouth of that fish. From there you get on your boat, and you wind through the great
intestine and you dump out at Piazza San Marco. That's where the Doge's Palace
would be, and that's where Basilica San Marco is. The trick for us is to break
out of that middle zone between the train station and Piazza San Marco, and
explore to the far reaches, and that's where you find the magic Venice without
all the crowds. Here you see a schematic diagram of the city with the different
neighborhoods and I'll remind you, you got the train station. It takes about an
hour to walk from the train station across town to St. Mark's, where the
political and religious center is. It's a delightful walk, halfway between is the
Rialto Bridge. And between the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's, that is the main
shopping thoroughfare. And most of the tourists spend most of their time just
in a shopping trance,
walking back and forth with all the other tourists, with all the fancy
displays, just marveling at the crowds and the high prices. It doesn't occur to them
to get out and walk to the tail of the fish, or walk to far reaches of that
beautiful island. This is where the Grand Canal dumps out, and this is the end of
the Grand Canal, looking right from the top of the bell tower. This is where you
arrive, in Venice this is the train station, and that's the building from
Mussolini's time, that's a fascist architecture. In front of the train
station you'll find the boat dock. That's called a vaporetto. You get around Venice
by boat. They don't have city buses because there's no cars or buses. And
what you do is think of the boat, the vaporetto as a floating city bus. It has
numbers, it has stops, and the only difference is, if you get off between
stops you can drown. you hop on the boat, and you wind your way down the Grand Canal, under
the Rialto Bridge, all the way to St. Mark's Square. And this is it, just a
parade of beautiful palaces, and mansions, and merchant's villas. I've worked for
thirty years to take groups around Venice, I love tour guiding in Venice, and
we've created an app that has guided walks through the very most important stops
in Italy and the rest of Europe. it's Rick Steves Audio Europe, it's absolutely
free, and I want to really stress it here, because when you go to Venice, you're
gonna want a guide. And you can hire a guide, it's quite expensive, you can read a book,
or if you have a mobile device, simply download Rick Steves Audio Europe, and you
go to "tick tick tick," whatever you want to pick, on your computer, you can listen to it
on your mobile device, you can listen to it offline. Stick me in your ear, get
on that slow boat on the train station, and I narrate every little way-all the
way across town to the Doge's Palace. It's a lot of fun, and it works really,
really good. The main square, St. Mark's Square, it's the only place that gets to
be called a square in the town. It's facing the Basilica San Marco and the
bell tower, the "campanile." This is one of the greatest pieces of real estate in
Europe. This is a romantic painting from a couple centuries ago, but if you stood
in the same spot and looked at it today,
it hasn't changed very much. And it's got the same kind of romance, there's
something about it that I never get tired of. When you're in Venice you want
to get caught up in the romantic of Venice, you want to be on that square in the
evening when the dueling orchestras are playing. You hear people complain
about "oh it's $25 for a glass of wine or a beer at the famous café on the St. Mark's
Square." Well no, its not $25 for a beer, it's $25 for a table at the most expensive
piece of real estate in Europe, listening to live orchestra, surrounded by the
wonders of Venice, and it comes with a drink. Come on, don't complain. If you want a
beer, go four blocks away and step up to the bar and get a beer for the same
price as anywhere else, you know, but this is one of the great experiences of
Europe. Here you are, looking at Basilica San Marco, wow. Now I want to remind you,
Venice started out, as I mentioned, as a refugee camp. It was really important,
ultimately, politically and religiously, or politically and economically, but of
no great important religiously because they didn't go back to biblical times, it
was a relative upstart town, and they had no bones. You had to have relics to be
important in those days, and Venice had all sorts of money, all sorts of power, but an
inferiority complex when it came to religious importance. Now I don't know
exactly how they knew the stuff but I think there was, like, newsletters going
around or, something but the bones of St. Mark were available in Egypt. St. Mark's
bones. Venice sent a crew down to Egypt to, what they call, "rescue the bones
of St. Mark," from the Muslims, you know, and they brought it back to Christendom. And
they planted Mark under the altar of St. Mark's Basilica, and
suddenly, St. Peter and the Dragon are out, and St. Mark and Winged Lion are in, and Venice is
now on the pilgrimage trail, and it's a complete town. Here we have a thousand
year old mosaic telling the story under the door of st. Mark's Basilica,
and if you look closely, you can see Mark on that great day, being brought in after
that voyage across the Mediterranean from Egypt, and finding his ultimate
resting spot there in Venice, under the altar of St. Mark's Basilica. And it is a
gilded, lavish
rich, thousand year old treasure chest today.
Well worth checking out, you gotta check out the interior of Venice, St. Mark's. And
all over Venice, in fact, all over Venice's Empire, you will find lions with wings,
'cause that was the symbol of St. Mark, St. Mark's Winged Lion. This is the
political and religious center of Venice right here, you can see the Doge's Palace,
that was, you know, the political powerhouse, the Capitol building, and
you've got the bell tower which you can still climb to this day, and behind that
you've got St. Mark's Basilica. When we look at it today, it's the same thing.
Venice is remarkably well preserved. Now this Doge's Palace is worth touring,
and when you go inside you'll find lavish rooms, and you'll find all sorts
of history, and when you go out back you've got the Bridge of Sighs which you can
walk over in order to get to the old prison, just like Casanova did. And all
those other people who, according to legend, would be sentenced in the Doge's
Palace, take one last look at their beautiful, beloved Venice, sigh, and then
rot in those prison cells with all the rats and everything, on the other side of
the canal. Venice has so many gorgeous corners, and it's so fun for us to check
it out, but I wanna remind you, it's human nature for all of us tourists to stay right
where all the people, and the glitter, and the glass, and the trinkets, and the
glasses, okay. Break away from that. Break away from that, because Venice is much
more than tacky tourist shops, Venice is a chance to get out and explore a
town of 70,000 people. Venice is a small town today, that entertains 10 or 12
million people a year. But the core town is a parallel existence. The local people
know their Venice, and they've got kind of blinders, and they can almost live
oblivious to the crush of tourists that come and go every day. If you're up early,
if you're out late, if you're in the far fringes of that island community, you do
feel the pulse of the community of Venice. One great thing about Venice is,
wonderful art. If you think about art in Europe, remember you gotta have money to
have art.
In southern Italy, there was not a lot of money, and there's not a lot of art
today. The money was in Venice, the money was in Florence, and that's where your art
is five hundred years later. I like art in situ, rather than in museums. In situ,
where was originally commissioned to be, and Venice has one of the greatest
examples of in situ art, and that is the Church of the Frari, the Church of the
Brothers. This is the exterior, not a very impressive exterior, but if you step
inside, you got masterpieces by Giorgione, by Titian, and by a handful of other great
masters of the Venetian Renaissance. To see one great painting in situ by a
great master, to me, is just a delight. To go to a church where you have eight
paintings, by eight different masters, all where they're originally intended to be, is
flat-out amazing. I like it so much that one of the actual tours on the Rick Steves
Audio Europe list is of the Frari, just so I could walk you through that and
appreciate that. If you like Venetian art, remember there is a gallery, it's
sort of like the Uffizi, or like the Vatican, and in Venice it's called the Accademia.
And there you've got a, just a whole lot of very sumptuous Venetian art. The
Renaissance started in Florence. It was brought down to Rome by the Pope. In 1521 when
Raphael died, the Renaissance carries on in Venice, funded by the rich merchant
class. In Venice it became the art of wealthy people. And it was art that made
wealthy people feel good about their wealth. You can imagine, if somebody's
filthy rich, they want to have an artist that makes them feel cultured, and
high-class, not crass and materialistic, and I think you get that kind of agenda
in the art of Venice. A key for me, as a tour guide, when I have a group in Venice,
is to get my people walking. Now, a lot of Americans are nervous about getting lost
in Venice. Don't worry about getting lost in Venice, you're gonna get lost in
Venice, alright, there's almost no street names, you don't know where the heck-
what street you're on or anything like that.
Wander to your heart's content, and remind yourself, "I'm on an island
and I cant get off without knowing it," okay. You're on the island of Venice, it's not that
big, and you just can't get
irrevocably lost. One very nice trick is, any business, any little hotel, any
restaurant, and they are everywhere, has a card, and on the back of that card is a
map that says, "you are here." Anywhere you go in Venice, they love to give up
their cards, you know that. Pick that up, and that's where you are and they want to
help you get to that restaurant, but it's also gonna help you get the heck out of
that restaurant, and it shows you where the big landmarks are nearby, so you got
that sort of, "I am here"
aid. Also remember, when you're walking around, and I used to do this to my groups,
I'd walk all over, my groups would think we're hopelessly lost, and I would actually
know where we are, because I would just look above the crowds. If you look above
the crowds, you see signs pointing to the nearest landmark. You navigate by
landmarks. In this case, you can get to st. Mark's by going left or right. I love
to wander to the edge of Venice. Look at this, there's no tourist in sight, it's just a
pastel wonderland, and this is all yours any day of the year, even in the most
crowded day of the year, you could come to this spot and see no tourists.
Beautiful, pastel, sleepy, dreamy, romantic Venice. If you can get a guided
tour of Venice it's a great idea. On the ships, on the boat, on the back lanes, there's lots
of good guides in Venice, there's good books, and of course we cover that in our
app. This is the Bridge of Sighs, and to go under the Bridge of Sighs in a gondola
with your favorite travel partner is a beautiful thing. Remember, when you go to
Venice, you can get a gondola ride. Now it's kind of a tourist trap these
days, it costs about $100 for 45 minutes in a gondola. You can divide the cost and
the romance by up to six people. Six people in a gondola, okay, it's not quite as
romantic as you and your partner but it's very inexpensive, and it's a
beautiful, beautiful moment. I think you gotta budget it. It's a beautiful, beautiful
thing, and we do with our groups, I like to do when I'm there. I will tell you,
you're stuck on a boat with a gondolier, and some gondoliers are just ruffians, and others
are charmers. They're all hustling for your business. Talk to a bunch of them,
it's fun, they're all trying to sell their services.
Find one who you like,
that you feel good about, and then hire him, he can take you around. Nothing's quite like a
beautiful evening on a gondola with a good travel partner. Now if you don't
have enough money to get a gondola, you can go on a traghetto. These are gondolas
that are public ferry gondolas, that go across the Grand Canal where there's
no bridge. The Grand Canal's a long canal, and it's only got, I think, four bridges the
whole way, so what you want to do is look on the map, and any good map will show you
where the traghettos are. This just costs a couple bucks and then, you kind of
stand, like George Washington crossing the Delaware, and you feel very local
when you're crossing the canal with a bunch of locals going to the market on a
traghetto. Enjoy the vaporetti.
The vaporettos are these city bus boats. I like to sit in the front of the boat
and just joyride. It's a beautiful experience, and you can get around, and
you can go to the far reaches of the lagoon. Now, when you're exploring the
lagoon, remember, you've got a bunch of famous islands in this Venetian Lagoon.
Murano is famous for glass, Venice had this wonderful glass tradition. You can go to
Murano and see all the glass works, and they welcome the tourists, and they give
you a show, and the show is always followed by a hard sales pitch. I find
the sales pitch almost comedic. I enjoyed the sales pitch as much as the glass
blowing job show, but remember they're all into selling glass, not making you happy. And I
would remind you also, if you have limited time, to remember that every one of the major
glassblowing works on the island of Murano has a branch right on the main
square, next to st. Mark's Basilica, and you can save yourself a lot of messing
around by just following a tour group into one of those places. They don't care,
it's always free,
they don't wanna give a glassblowing demonstration to a single person, but if
you can tail along with the group, sit down, enjoy, they'll make you a vase, or a
glass horse, or something like that, and you get the sales pitch. It's right there
on the main square, and it's a lot of fun.
Farther out in the lagoon you find a place called Burano, and Burano is
famous not for glass, but for lace. Beautiful lace on Burano, and for me
it's just a pastel wonderland, it's a great place for poets, and
photographers to wander around just marvel at the beauty of the village and
of the lagoon. Venice was born, actually, in Torcello. The oldest part of
Venice is a place that, today, is pretty much depopulated. Malaria swept through
and killed everybody, and today there's just the oldest church in Venice still
standing. But Torcello is an evocative place to check out. When you look at the lagoon
around Torcello, there you see the kind of mucky terrain that is where the
first Venetians pounded those stumps in to support their first little houses.
I like to have a romantic canal-side dinner, but you can imagine any
restaurant that has beautiful canal-side seating is gonna be touristy. The fact is,
any restaurant in Venice is touristy. You can't survive as a restaurant in Venice
without being touristy, and that's just a given. Its not a good thing or a bad
thing, it's just the way it is.
Some of them are a good value, others are a rip off, so I spent a lot of time and a
lot of energy
scouring Venice for good restaurants, I cover them in my guidebook, and there are
some beautiful places where you can eat in Venice. My favorite place to eat in
Venice is a mobile feast, visiting a bunch of little bars, eating ugly things
on toothpicks, and washing them down with local wine. That's called "cicchetti." Cicchetti is a
local tradition, like Spain has tapas, Venice has cicchetti. Now I like this
photograph because it gets me all excited. The suns going down, all the
cruisers are back on their ship, all the tourist groups are back home, and it's
just me, and Venetians. And I'm out and about, and I'm going to bars. I'm going to
colorful bars, where all the local ruffians are hanging out, and I'm eating
those beautiful ugly things on toothpicks, and I'm learning a lot about the cuisine, and
not spending a lot of money, and I'm making lifetime memories. When you get
high tide, and a wind, and a certain barometric pressure, all in a perfect
storm, what you get is a flooded Venice. The lowest part of Venice is St. Mark's
Square where we all hang out anyways, and that's the first place to flood. You can
be sitting in those famous cafes, with the orchestra, and suddenly-wait a minute-there's
water here. And then you put your feet up on the next chair, and the water gets
higher and higher, and the orchestra keeps
playing. It's just a lot of fun to be in Venice when the flood happens. The floods
are happening more, and more it's not unusual to see a flood. The downside of
the flood is, during the day they set up these elevated walkways, and everybody
has to walk on these elevated sidewalks, and that makes it even more
congested than normal, and you can't get anywhere, it just stops everything, it
makes it very slow going, unless your local with hip boots and then you pull those on
you can slosh right across the square without bothering, but it's very interesting time.
And if you do get a food, I would highly recommend you get out and have some fun
in it, because it's beautiful to be out during a flood, especially at night. I
have so many friends that run hotels in Venice, and their families have
been running these hotels for generations, and it's just a beautiful
dimension of the city. When I get to Venice, I get an old, old hotel, and I
take off my shoes, and I stand barefoot on the "pavimento veneziano."
That's the ancient kinda linoleum that is designed with a bunch of marble chips
and everything, so it can flex. As this building settles, the floor won't crack,
it'll just flex, and you see the waves in the floor as that city continues to settle.
But for me it's a very tactile welcome to Venice, to stand barefoot on the "pavimento
veneziano." Now, Venice is so great, that almost nobody thinks about Padua.
Padova, Padua, English and Italian ways to say the same town. Padova is just
about a half an hour away from Venice, and if there was no Venice, Padua would be
a major stop, but almost nobody goes there because of the greatness of Venice.
Again, right next to Venice, it's a town with beautiful arcades, beautiful cobbled
lanes, a wonderful time warp atmosphere, a great market, and lots of pilgrims,
because pilgrims go to Padova to see the Basilica of St. Anthony. St.
Anthony is a beloved saint, and when you go there you'll find a lot of pilgrim
action, and I would recommend going to the Basilica of st. Anthony and
kind of respect and follow the whole route of the pilgrims, because they're gonna stop at a
number of places inside and use these relics to help them worship. Padova's
also famous because it has a venerable university. It's got one of the oldest
and greatest universities
in Europe, and what's fun about the university in Padova is, people don't
all graduate on the same weekend in the spring or early summer. They're
graduating all year long in a steady trickle. Whenever you do your
dissertation and meet with the professor you can graduate, and then you find
people, it's a great day for the family, everybody is dressed up, grandma and grandpa are
there, you're wearing your laurel wreath, and you're all fine and everything. And then once
you've graduated, you dress down, your friends hijack you, you all get drunk, and
they have this kind of roast in public. And it's a very rude, and crude, and kind
of silly, and alcoholic sort of event, and people are gathering around, and you
are now a doctor, you know. And your friends are reminding you, you may be a
doctor, but you're just still one of us, you know, you're just still a normal person. And they
sing this very catchy song I just can't stop singing it when I'm in Padova, I forget the Italian words
but in English it's, "you're a doctor, you're a doctor, but you're still just an asshole,
you're a doctor, you're a doctor, but you're still just an asshole." And then there's a
ruder part that I won't sing.
But to be there, and to celebrate with those kids in the street, and see all that
craziness, and of that wonderful reminder that you may have letters
before your name now, but keep your feet on the ground, it's a beautiful thing, and
it's been going on for centuries.
You'll get that when you go to Padova. Another highlight of Padova is the
Scrovegni Chapel. and I just love the High Middle Ages, Gothic and Giotto. And
the greatest Giotto art is this chapel. Completely frescoed, by a whole
series of wonderful scenes from the Bible by Giotto. This is a very precious
and fragile masterpiece, and what they do in a precious and fragile scene
like this is, they only let a few people in at a time, and they actually have to
dehumidify in a special box first. So you sit, and you dehumidify, and
they open the door, and you can go in and enjoy it, and then you're out of there.
And you only have so much time to see that, but it's well worth the trouble. We
filmed it, you can see it on our TV show, but don't miss the Scrovegni
chapel when you're there in Padova, because Giotto was the greatest painter
of the Gothic age. About an hour away is Verona. And Verona is famous among most
travelers and tourists because of Romeo and Juliet, which was a gimmick, a
complete goofy thing dreamed up by a tour guide just in the last century, and it's
quite effective because it brings a lot of tourist town. But Verona is worth a
stop for far more important reasons. It's Roman city, it was the great Roman city
before crossing the Alps, and you'll find this is a Roman bridge two thousand
years old. When you go to Florence[Verona] you'll find Romeo and Juliet's balcony which is
just completely fictitious. It's fun to be there because you've got a whole
flood of tourists coming and going, but what you'll also find is, you'll find an amazing
Roman arena, and a wonderful "get out in the streets and stroll" kind of ambiance
in Verona. Two hours south of Venice, you get to a town called Ravenna. Ravenna is
a charming town, it's got a beautiful, bike-friendly sort of atmosphere, it's
the most bike-friendly town I've been to in Italy, but it is famous for its mosaics.
Ravenna is important because it was a Western outpost of the
Byzantine Empire. Rome, you know, was in the city of Rome, and then around 200 or 300 AD
Rome fell in the West, but the Emperor moved to the east, and he took the Roman
Empire basically to Constantinople, present day Istanbul, named Constantinople
after Emperor Constantine, and it became the Eastern Roman Empire, which survived
the west by centuries, and eventually morphed into Byzantine Empire. During the
Byzantine time, it was the pinnacle of civilization. For centuries, Europeans in
the depth of the Dark Ages, back when they were just running in the mud, looked to
Constantinople for civilization, and spiritual and cultural leadership. It was
stability, it was the pinnacle of Western Civilization. And the western outpost of
the Byzantine Empire was Ravenna. And in Ravenna it you've got sumptuous
Byzantine mosaics. Now if you're really a connoisseur of mosaics, you should go to
Ravenna because they are the best, but if you take all the time it takes to go
from Venice to Ravenna to see the mosaics, and dedicate it into appreciating
the beautiful mosaics already in Venice, that frankly is a more practical use of
your time. There are wonderful mosaics in Venice that under-appreciated, or there
are the best mosaics in Ravenna. These are in churches that are five hundred
years old.
These are churches that really are ancient Roman, as much as medieval. This
is the cusp. In this church you can see mosaics of Jesus, who's the beardless
Good Shepherd, and that's the ancient Roman portrayal of Jesus, no
beard, and you can see Jesus with the classic beard that we think of that he
has, which is the medieval portrayal. Right here, it's the cusp of the Middle
Ages and the ancient world. When you think of North Italy, you gotta think of
Milano, the best of the no-nonsense, powerhouse economies in Italy, urban
center. You gotta think of the beautiful lakes, and the best lake is Lake Como. You
can think of the best stretch of the Mediterranean coastline, in
my estimate, the Cinque Terre.
You can also think of the Dolomites, that is the mountain resorts, and
what we've just been talking about now, probably the highlight of that part of
Italy, Venice, and the side trips from Venice, Padova, Verona and Ravenna. "Grazie."
If you've enjoyed this video, you'll find lots more at ricksteves.com. and on my Rick
Steves YouTube channel. Happy travels, and thanks for joining us.
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Italy: Venice & the Veneto

2014 タグ追加 保存
Ntiana 2017 年 5 月 26 日 に公開
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