V is for Venice

Venice: In my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

As mentioned in my S is for Souvenirs post, this was not my first trip to the city of love. Nor was it my second. It was actually my fourth, and that in itself testifies to the magic of this city.

What I find with many popular cities when travelling, is that people will often go to a city to seek out things to see within that city. In Berlin you might go to the Brandenburg Gate, in Rome to the Colosseum, in Paris to the Eiffel Tower, and in London to Westminister Abbey. It would no doubt be considered a failed expedition if a number of those ‘things to do’ weren’t ticked off the the list.

Venice is different.

Venice is a city that is enjoyed just for being itself. Sure, there are piazzas and murano glass islands and architectural glories to marvel, but I genuinely believe, and have also heard it said from others, that the beauty of Venice lies simply in being able to walk through the maze of worn alleyways, crossing bridged canals and watching gondolas glide by as the gondoliers whistle or sing away in Italian.

That’s why the best way to enjoy Venice is to put the map away and just wander.

That’s right, wander.

There is definitely something to be said for getting lost in Venice. In fact, I’m inclined to say it’s the only way to truly enjoy it. Follow the main drag and you will end up in Piazza San Marco in half an hour, with your fair share of souvenir shops guiding your way through crowded narrow alleyways.

Steer away even slightly from the main drag, and you’ll find yourself walking alone across beautiful bridges, passing locals doing their grocery shopping, and children on their way to school. Of the 409 bridges in Venice, no two are the same, and with the warm ochres, autumn oranges and rusty reds that paint the buildings, there is no tiring of the beautiful surrounds.

You could spend a whole day just wandering like this and never lose interest.

This particular trip to Venice happened to take place just when the big freeze across Europe began. It was -4 degrees and freezing, but despite fog and cold, it did not dampen my admiration of the place. It did, however, make for a relatively brief wander, with frozen toes determining our return home after just three hours.

Even after four visits, I’m still eager to return to Venice. There is something magical and terribly unique about a city immersed in water, yet there isn’t a canal or submerged building that looks out of place.

I don’t know that I’ll ever tire of the old buildings, quiet alleyways and rocking Gondolas. What I do know is, if you haven’t already, it’s about time you too, went and got lost in Venice.

Click on any of the photos below to enlarge

42 comments on “V is for Venice

  1. Yep, getting lost is the best way to see Venice, but I think it’s also the only way! No two street maps are the same; I got horribly lost every time I set foot outside of San Marco Piazza. I didn’t mind, though – it’s such a gorgeous place.

  2. Moto bene! Grazie.

    That’s about all the Italian I have. A very nice post. My wife and I visited Venice probably 10 years ago. We intended to return this year and instead are opting to visit Quebec City, Quebec. Maybe next year is Venice. It’s hard to like places so much, when there are other places unvisited.

    • Bravo! It really is difficult to keep returning to favourite places when you know there are so many more places to visit. Hope you have an amazing time in Quebec!

  3. Great photographs! Lovely.
    I agree on getting lost too. Someone at my work was grousing recently about how horrible Venice was because of all the tourists, but then she admitted that she was too afraid to ‘get lost’. What a shame.

  4. Venice is stunning. I was there for Carnevale in 2010 (absolute mayhem! But of the best sort). My friends and I got lost, stuck in the throngs, and nearly missed our boat to the mainland. But it was an incredible city, one I was quite happy to be lost in.
    I would love to go back.

  5. Interesting reflection on it being seen as a city itself rather than landmarks located within a more central place.

    To me, landmarks seem like merely a common ground for tourists. Everyone goes to see these things so that they can discuss with others who have also seen these things and bond over shared experience. It is not about the thing itself… just an opportunity for sharing.

    Do you think this could apply to Venice as a whole, then?

    • Yes, I think it probably could be applied to Venice as whole. Though I think a lot of landmarks are so named because there is something special about them that keeps people coming back. I know there are some people who visit landmarks for the sake of it, with no real appreciation for what they’re seeing or any desire to find out more. For many I’m sure it’s just a photo opportunity. But I’ve rarely found landmark hopping to be an opportunity for great discussions. In fact, I’ve generally experienced the opposite. “Did you go to the colosseum?” “Yeah, it was amazing. How about you?” “Yep.” It’s almost a conversation stopper, because what more could either person offer that they don’t already know? Now, when you start sharing different travel experiences, I think that’s when conversation gets interesting!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

    • I know I preached ‘get lost in Venice’, but sometimes I wonder how you could not! It’s such a maze! One day I have to stay over a few nights. How on earth did you manage with your suitcases and all the bridges? I’ve always wondered..

  6. Ah, I would love to go to Venice, it’s the only place I’m really desperate to go to.When I eventually do I think I’ll take your advice and just walk about, you make it sound wonderful :)

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