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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

Hello again collegiettes™! I have been in Italy for over two weeks now. The culture shock has passed and I am not as homesick as I was a week ago. As a matter of fact, after the weekend I spent in Venezia (Venice), I am even more excited for the other trips I will take in the next five weeks!

Venezia was about a three hour drive from Firenze. When we arrived to Piazzale Tronchetto, we waited for our private boat to take us to the main island San Marco. The boat ride was about 40 minutes long. When we got on the island we were surrounded by vendors, tourists, gelato and water. It was a chaotic area that I was not prepared for. Since Venice is a cruise port and big vacation spot, I did not get to see locals as much as I wished. Venezia is made up of 118 islands that are linked by unique bridges. Each one I crossed was different from the last. There were canals around every corner, so I walked up and down stairs quite a lot. 

We were not given a map or guides when we first arrived. We were given a meeting point and that was that. So we explored a little, found a panini shop with a bathroom that was free of charge. The public bathrooms charge at least one euro to use, which is about $1.40. It was difficult, but I am proud to say that I did not pay to use the bathroom at all during this trip. After having a quick meal, we walked a bit more and got a little lost. Eventually, we found the large canal and were able to spot the meeting point for our guided tours.

While waiting for the tour guides I got to witness a couple taking pictures right after getting married!

The tour started off in the Piazza San Marco and took us into Basilica de San Marco, a cathedral church. When visiting churches and cathedrals in Italy, you must be covered from your shoulders to your knees – this is simply a sign of respect to the tradition. The inside was absolutely spectacular, which showed that the people of Venice have truly kept it in great condition after so many centuries. While inside, we were not allowed to speak, so I was able to admire the Basilica in peace and quiet.

The entrace to the Basilica.

After touring the main square, we made our way into the smaller, less populated streets and came across our tour guide’s favorite location, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. It is a quiet courtyard that leads to a palace with a spiral staircase that goes all the way up to the fifth floor. The building was fragile and currently being preserved, but I was able to snap a picture from behind the gate.  The spiral staircase was built because the Sir that lived in the palace wanted to be able to get to his room on the top floor while on his horse. Funny how people who had so much power back then, got exactly what they wanted.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually not the only leaning tower in Italy. Since they were built on pretty much mud, many belltowers in Venice start leaning after a while. These leaning towers have not collapsed, at least yet. Ironically, the perfectly straight belltower in Piazza San Marco was rebuilt after it collapsed sometime in the 1900s.

The “leaning tower” of Campanile di San Stefano in Venice.

The next day we started off in the island of Murano, which is famous for their authentic glass making. Since all the houses are made of wood in Venice and it is a fire hazard, glass making is confined to this particular island. My group got a private presentation of a glassmaker actually making the glass from scratch. The process of making a unqiue glass piece takes seconds of concentration and quick movement. Our presenter made a horse standing on its hind legs within 15 seconds. 

After exploring the small island of Murano, we made it back to San Marco Island and had free time for about five hours. Within this time, we took a gondola ride. These rides are not cheap whatsoever. It is 80 euro per ride and each ride is about 30 minutes. Since there was four of us, we each payed 20 euro. We relaxed and enjoyed the quiet canal routes while sharing a bottle of Bellini. 

Our Gondola as we entered into the main Canal.

Venezia was one of the best experiences in Italy so far. I definitely recommened spending at least one day in this city of water.

Until next time,


Ashley Harnish is an Alumna of the University of South Florida. She graduated May of 2016 with her Bachelors in Dance Studies and minor in mass communications. Ashley is a former Editor's Assistant for Her Campus at USF. Even though she has be dancing since was just three years young, she loves it more everyday. Writing is another passion of hers, especially on her blog http://ashleycamille24.wordpress.com/. Her favorite show is F.R.I.E.N.D.S and one day she hopes to travel the entire world while writing about her experiences in each dance community.
Justine is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida. She received her B.A. in mass communcations in spring 2014. She was the 2013-2014 Campus Correspondent for Her Campus USF.She was also a News & Feature Writing Intern for College of Arts and Sciences and the Public Relations Campus Rep for Rent the Runway at USF. She is currently seeking agency experience and would love to someday work for a magazine, become a novelist, poet, editor, host of a Travel Channel show and much more.  She enjoys writing about fashion, beauty, art, literature, pop culture and student life. She spends most days listening to Lana del Rey, calming her nerves with various types of cheese, being sassy and trying to figure out when she can take a nap.Check out her website and portfolio here.She'd love you forever, if you followed her on Twitter @tinafigs_.Contact Justine regarding business inquires only at justinefigueroa@hercampus.com.