O'Leary Grant Blog
Traveling through Venice was unlike anything else I have ever experienced. If you woke up early enough in the morning there was a beautiful, light fog that covered the little city in a dream like way. I loved to wake up early, catch the bus over to Venice from our hotel, and just wander around for a couple of hours before everyone else was out and about. One of the things we talked about in class was just getting lost in Venice and I tried to do this as much as possible. It’s not a very big city, so you will always find yourself at a landmark eventually, but just taking random turns and walking aimlessly is such as fun way to experience everything. The first time I did this I ended up about a thirty minute walk away from where I wanted to be, but I found myself in front of the most beautiful church that made the trek back very worth it.
As a military child I have traveled a lot, but Venice is unlike anywhere I have ever been. Their entire way of life is fascinating to me. One of the things that stood out most to me was that because Venice is made up of a lot of small islands many parts of the city often flooded during high tide. In central New York we would have to shut everything down if a foot of water flooded the entire city, but in Venice everyone still goes about their day as usual. They set up these tables for people to walk on so their feet don’t get wet. The tables are all through the squares and streets. Many of them lead right up to the front doors of shops, restaurants, and houses. Some people opt not to use the tables and just tromp through all of the water in their rain boots. This is a normal occurrence for the people in Venice and they have adapted to it. It was one of the most interesting experiences for me while spending two weeks in this beautiful city.
Another thing that was so incredible about Venice was all of the art. As I wandered around the city I came across several galleries and shops owned my local artists. I spent a lot of time looking through the paintings that I found. There are also many mask shops in Venice that are absolutely wonderful to look through. Often there were actually artists sitting inside making and painting the masks as you shop. The masks come in all different styles, shapes and sizes. Many of the masks were done in the traditional Commedia del Arte style; however, some of them were very creative and intricate. Some of the most interesting masks I saw were done in a steam punk style, decorated with plastic gears and bright jewels.
During this visit to Venice I was lucky enough to be a part of a mask-making workshop with the rest of my classmates. In this workshop, an artist taught us many different painting techniques that are used when creating a mask. We were allowed to pick the shape of the mask we wanted and then we painted them any style we saw fit. The masks that the class created were stunning and it was such a fun experience do be a part of something that many Venetians spend their entire lives practicing.
I could go on and on about my time in Venice. I’ll say again that it was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It is such a culturally unique place and I would recommend that everyone try to visit at least once. I know that I can’t wait to go back one day.