English 30


Ciao! Buon giorno. And welcome to Venice. This city, snuggly situated at the northern tip of Italy, is a place of vibrant colors, rich history, and sounds that are captivating.1 Venice is called the City of Water because of the web of canals that weave throughout the city. Visitors and Venetians alike2 travel by foot, boat, or gondola. The slender black boats bounce in the water. Gondoliers in striped shirts and black pants, balance expertly3 on their watercrafts, beckoning tourists to take a relaxing ride.

Gondola passengers, since they are tired of finding their way around, float peacefully on the winding canals.4 The steady strokes of the gondolier’s paddle directs5 the boat under bridges and through alleyways. However,6 the canals feed into the Grand Canal, the city’s main “highway.” Speedboats skid by, threatening to overturn the delicate gondolas. But the gondoliers must steer through the Grand Canal’s treacherous7 waters to give their passengers a glimpse of the famous Rialto Bridge.

Traversing8 the streets of Venice is a thrilling, yet daunting9 experience. Even with the help of a map and a working knowledge of Italian, one can easily get lost. The alleys are long and winding. Buildings, several stories high, are like towering walls closing in on either side of the street. Before long, the traveler is hopelessly disoriented and confused.10 But hope remains.

By following the signs labeled “Per San Marco” (to San Marco), however, visitors are miraculously directed to one of the city’s most prominent attractions. Suddenly, upon entering the square, vast, blue sky opens up before the amazed visitor.11

Unlike the tightly packed streets, St. Mark’s Square is spacious and airy.12 The sun shines brightly on the groups of tourists, who move in clusters toward St. Mark’s Cathedral or the Doge’s Palace, which was completed in 1424.13 Vendors solicit sightseers with trinkets, while flocks of pigeons gather around visitors.

[14] The tourists have returned to their hotels, the shops have closed, and the Square has come alive with lights. Strings of lights outline the tops of the surrounding stores. The domes of the beautiful churches glow, spotlighting there15 majesty. Outdoor cafés line the sides of the Square. Diners converse while classical musicians play softly in the background. The cheerful sounds of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” drifts through the night air. There truly is no place like Venice.