Jason thought it was only fair that he did a story somewhere romantic, so off he went to Italy with just 24 hours and 100 euro.
In a country full of romance, Venice drew the long straw. One of the most romantic, talked-about and beautiful cities in the world, it really deserves more than a quick visit, but 24 hours there will whet the appetite for a return.
Founded over 1500 years ago on 117 islands, Venice is linked by over 150 canals, 400 bridges and ancient pavements. It is a pedestrian-only city divided into six quarters. Buildings are supported on slender oak and pine piles driven deep into the ground.
A map of the city shows many laneways, canals and squares creating a labyrinth, so Jason decided the best way to explore it was to don a pair of walking shoes and wander.
Like so many Italian cities, every corner you turn in Venice treats you with something wonderful and different. It's easy to lose your bearings, but keep on walking and eventually you will come upon a square and be back on track.
Venice was first settled in Rialto and its bridge the oldest in the city is one of four spanning the Grand Canal. It has lively fruit, vegetable and fish markets, bakeries, cheese and gelato shops galore and the guild of Venetian shoemakers.
The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari has the status of minor basilica. It was built in the Italian Gothic style by Franciscan monks in the 12th century and while the interior is quite plain, it houses a good number of masterpieces.
Of course a trip along of the canals is an absolute must, but as gondolas are pricey and Jason had limited spending money, he chose to hop on a Vaporetto, a local ferry. You get to see everything you would see on the more expensive boats. 12 hour tickets are around $20 and you can hop on and off whenever you fancy. Tragghettos are another version offering rides straight across a canal for under a dollar, but Jason wasn't all that fussed and preferred the vaporetto.
When it's time for sustenance, here are a couple of things to avoid. Places with touts and musicians trying to lure you into a restaurant are usually expensive, and if you sit to drink a coffee, you will pay three times the price you will pay if you stand at the bar.
Of course, there's so much more to see in this marvellous city but in Jason's case he got the feel of it, came home with change in his pocket and has promised himself he will return!
Venice in the north of Italy.
Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre has three nights Venice Experience packages starting at $299 per person twin share. Accommodation, breakfast and tours are included.
Vaporetto 12-hour tickets are around $20.
Prices correct at February 25, 2012.
For further information
Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre
Suite 2, 644 Botany Road
Ph: 02 9313 4633 1300 661 666
Fax: 02 9313 4475
St. Mark's Basilica
St. Mark's Square
Italian Government Tourist Office
Level 4, 46 Market Street
Ph: 02 9262 1666
Fax: 02 9262 1677
Visa: Australians don't need a visa to enter Italy for stays of up to 90 days.
Electricity: Standard voltage is 220V. Plugs are the European standard, with two or three round pins.
Time zone: GMT +1 hour.
Currency: The euro.
Telephone code: +39.
It is recommended travellers see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended for areas you will be visiting. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.