It’s an exciting day for the Voyager Club! We have a special Guest Host today – Oxford Club Copy Editor Kathleen Hull invites you to join her on our first “Virtual Visit”.
In this new series, we’ll provide you with all the resources you need to immerse yourself virtually in one of our favorite Voyager Club destinations. While they’re no substitute for the magic of real travel, we hope these visits will bring a sense of fun and adventure to your time in quarantine… and help you look forward to the wonderful experiences across the globe we’ll share when we reunite.
Our first virtual destination is truly a special one. It’s the magical and mysterious city where a symbolic “marriage to the sea” still takes place each year, where people hide their faces in masks even when there isn’t a pandemic, where Casanova escaped from prison using a metal file smuggled into the cells in a plate of pasta… it could only be Venice! Pull up a gondola for a visit to Italy’s crown jewel.
Welcome to Venice! As you step off the water taxi, the morning sun is sharp in your eyes. There are maybe a few more tourists around than you expected, but you don’t mind. It’s easy to see why everyone is clamoring to photograph the green canals, the yellow and orange houses. If only all the straw sunhats didn’t keep getting in the way…
You quickly discover that in Venice, you can use your ears to guide you. Sound echoes from the stone pavement and buildings, and the slosh of water tells you when a canal is nearby. Moving away from the noise, you soon find yourself in a quiet campo, or square, with a tiny white church set in one of its corners. Turning down a side street, you come across a bookstore…
READ: A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich
There are many wonderful novels set in Venice, but readers will find this quirky, affectionately written history as entertaining as fiction. Learn why electing the doge, or duke, was a weeks-long process that took at least 10 ballots, and how the body of St. Mark, housed in St. Mark’s Basilica, was lost for hundreds of years – and then miraculously found.
Crossing the nearest bridge with a book in hand, you begin to wonder more about exactly what’s beneath your feet. It’s easy to get swept up in the romance of Venice, but what about the nitty-gritty details – like how sanitation and electricity work in a city constructed in the middle of a lagoon?
WATCH: Venice Backstage
This fascinating video provides an engineer’s view of how Venice was constructed (incredibly, much of the city still rests on wooden platforms supported by thousand-year-old wooden stakes) and offers insight into the unique way the city operates today.
Nearing the Grand Canal, you hear a gondolier (boatman) beginning to sing to a group of tourists. It’s hard to believe they really do this, yet you’re beginning to discover that there are many unbelievable things about this city. (Of course, the more tourists are willing to tip them, the more musical the gondoliers tend to become…)
A whole genre of classical music arose from the evocative songs of Venetian gondoliers. These songs, called barcarolles, are written in 6/8 time to mimic the rhythm of oars in the water.
Of Venice’s many palaces, you’ve been told that there’s one, in particular, you need to visit. And now, here you are, standing directly in front of it. With its elaborate ornamentation, white-gold façade and fragile arches, it doesn’t look quite like any building you’ve seen before…
TOUR: The Ca’ d’Oro
Though built as a family home, the Ca’ d’Oro, or House of Gold, is now an art museum, and this video gives you the chance to step inside, learn a bit about its history, and marvel at several of the masterpieces it contains, including an extraordinary painting of St. Sebastian with a whole chapel built around it.
By this point, you’ve lost track of the day and the hour, but you know you’re definitely ready to eat. Venice is full of delightful restaurants, but there’s a kitchen in your rental home, and you’d like to try making something yourself. Fortunately, the Rialto market, with its daily haul of fresh seafood straight from the lagoon, is just across the canal…
With an Italian grandmother guiding you through each step of the recipe in this relaxing video, you’re sure to create something delicious.
Meal finished, it’s time for you to continue wandering on your own. You wonder if your next stop should be for an espresso or an aperitif. Or maybe, with evening approaching, it’s finally time for a gondola ride…
That concludes our Virtual Visit! Thanks for joining us, and we look forward to seeing you next time.
Your Voyager Team…
P.S. Want to visit Italy in person? Join us on our Wealth, Wine, & Wander Tour of Italy this September 30 to October 10! Click here for all the details.