Keeping with our Italian theme to go with An Inconvenient Love’s recent release, we’re heading over to Venice today. A visit to Venice is an absolute must for any Italian tour. But not for the reason you’re probably thinking. It has nothing to do with romance, or the architecture or history. Or that must-see tourist spot where you HAVE to take a selfie to prove you’ve been to Italy – although Venice definitely has all those things. No, you have to visit Venice for your sanity.
Venice, with its network of canals in lieu of streets, has no Vespas (at least not when I was there). If you’ve been to Italy, you’ll know what this means. Quiet. Peace. The ability to cross the road or walk on the sidewalk without fear of being run-down. Just getting away from that constant whine of an over-revved scooter is reason enough to visit Venice. But let’s look at the other draws.
Romance. Venice has great marketing. But it works. Romance is in the air, the food, the gondolas gracing the water. Unfortunately, I was there with my brother. So not romantic.
Architecture. The buildings, the bridges, the squares, large and small are gorgeous. Everywhere you look is an intricate detail worthy of consideration.
History. Yup, heaps of that, too. Marco Polo ring a bell? The merchant explorer, not the blind-folded game, which I strongly caution against playing in Venice or risk ending up in one of the canals. Venice has a long and varied history. Did you know that Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Venice in 1797? Go on, historical romance writers, forget Waterloo, write a story based around that event. Or, if you have already, let me know about it.
“But what about the smell? I heard Venice stinks.” Well, not when I was there, not that I noticed anyway. But I don’t have keen olfactics. I remember going to Bruge in Belgium with my husband and he spent the whole time complaining about the odor of the stagnant canal water. If you are sensitive to smells, you may want to time your Venetian visit to spring or autumn when the weather is cooler and the water less smelly. It would also mean fewer other tourists, always a bonus.
So, you’ve got one day to spend in Venice. What would I recommend? Grab your camera, stick your map in your back pocket and get lost. Wander the narrow streets, which turn into alleys, which turn into dead-ends where the real Venetian people live (watch out for hanging washing). My brother and I wandered for hours, mostly away from other tourists. We discovered amazing shops and restaurants, far from the over-priced and way-to-busy Piazza San Marco. On our gondola ride, we spotted an interesting looking restaurant. It took an hour of searching but we eventually found it, and had one of the most delicious meals we had in Italy.
Another great thing to do in Venice is get up very early and stroll around while most other tourists are still in bed. I love the stillness of a city just awakening to greet a new day. Especially a city free of Vespas!
Those are my Venice experiences.