A Semester in Italy – Venice, City of Water – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Venice, which has been on my ‘bucket list’ for years. I was very excited to visit this Italian city because of the well-known transportation system on the canal roads. I was expecting some canals and some streets but all of the roads are water. There are sidewalks in between buildings and piazzas where you can shop or eat but all transportation is water based. Cars and motorcycles are not allowed on the island of Venice, biking would be hard due to the bridges with stairs at the end of every path. The city is very condensed with narrow passages between the buildings, which the island is filled of. This makes the city a sort of maze; it is very easy to get lost. It is small enough that when you are lost, you can just wander around until you find someone to give you correct directions.
First off, to get into Venice you can take a train or car across a large bridge to get to the city. To travel between the smaller islands of Venice or within the city, you need to take some sort of boat. These can be personal boats, water-taxis, water-buses or gondolas. It seems that many local people own boats, as this is the easiest way to get around if you are traveling to the other side of the city. You can see the small boats parked and tied up along the canals in the city. There is one main canal that is bigger and gives the option of taking a water-bus. The traditional gondolas are all around the city but do not travel from island to island. I rode in a gondola very briefly because taking it to your final destination would be very ‘spendy’.
One of our days in Venice was spent exploring two of the smaller islands: Burano and Murano. To get to these we took a water-bus, which was a fun experience. First you buy a ticket or pass for a certain number of hours, this gets you through the gates and to your water-bus platform. When the bus arrives and is tied down, you are allowed to enter the floating platform to load the bus. The bus ride took about 45 minutes to one of the islands where we had to catch another water-bus to Burano. Seeing this island was my favorite part of the trip. It is known for it’s colorful houses and lace making. Each house is a vibrant color and no two neighboring houses are the same color. This island had a few canals running through the buildings with sidewalks running along the waterways.
The other island we visited was Murano. This island is known for it’s glass blowing; this is apparent when walking along the main canal and seeing that every other shop is a glass shop. It is not hard to find a specialty of an area. For example, Venice is known for it’s masquerade masks and you can find them around every corner. Venice was full of tourists but it was nice to explore the neighborhoods off of the beaten path and see all of the sights that this unique city has to offer.
About our special correspondent Sara: I am a junior at St. Scholastica majoring in Computer Science with a concentration of Software Engineering. I am staying in a small town about 25 minutes outside of Florence, Italy with a HECUA program. My current studies are focused on Agriculture and Sustainability, which is very interesting to learn about in Europe. I chose this program because Italy has always been a place that I wanted to visit, mainly due to the fact that my great-grandfather came here from southern Italy. This is my first time in Europe and it has been quite the experience so far. I am excited for even more experiences as I gain a better understanding of the community!
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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
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