10 Things You'll Love About Venice (Just Try to Resist Its' Charms)
Ah, Venice. The heart of Italy some might say (I just made that up). Many a book has been written both in and about this magical city, most notably by Ernest Hemingway who often called Venice his home. And it's easy to see why. There's just so much to love about Venice.
I was fortunate enough to visit Venice in late August of 2009 during a whirlwind three week tour of three countries (Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands). I only stayed a few days in Venice but the city left an impression on me, to say the least; I've been dreaming of going back ever since.
In the early morning the city feels bright and colourful, cheery, vivacious but in a soft way, like the kind of friend who makes you feel comfortable and makes you laugh out loud all at the same time.
Later in the day as the sun starts to set, the whole city softens as it becomes awash in hues of gold and the bustling increases as people duck in and out of shops on their way to a drink before dinner.
Because that's what you do in Venice. You let the colours of the city and the hours of the day whisk you through the tiny streets and on to the next drink, the next coffee, the next meal, the next tiny bookstore or artisan shop.
10 reasons Venice is a city unlike any other
The "streets" are in most cases nothing more than narrow alleys between buildings, replete with adorable bridges crossing the many small canals. Some of them are so narrow that you have a hard time passing two people and must squish and suck in tummies to get by one another.
It's like you're in a secret garden maze and you have to find your way out, but even if you don't, you know an adventure is waiting just around the corner (or at the very least, a cute cafe with amazing espresso or the most amazingly jam-packed used bookstore you've ever seen). Sigh. Dreamy.
The coffee shops. And the coffee. With a uniquely Italian snobbish-but-still-welcoming atmosphere, where order anything but an espresso and you'll probably get a sniff of disdain. But it's Italy after all! I want someone to sniff at me and make me order a proper coffee. And I want the smell of that amazing coffee to waft all around me as it combines with the sounds of Italian and romance.
There are no cars, motorbikes, or even bicycles, due to the aforementioned lack of space. Making it is SO peaceful. There are some motored boats, but even those are rare, with most people preferring a gondola or simple canoe.
And homes have BOAT GARAGES. It is too adorable to even handle and it's really romantic and calm (catching on to a theme here?). You can see why people head here for honeymoons or to pen their great novel.
The architecture is just so darned pretty. The churches, parks, squares, homes, boat garages. It's a photographer's delight as much as a writer's delight, I dare say.
There's gelato. Like A LOT of it. And you can eat it any time of day, twice a day if you want. After all, it's your holiday! And gelato is better for you than ice cream anyways, right? I think I heard that somewhere...
The acceptance, nay imperative, that meals should be enjoyed slowly and for hours, even occasionally blending into one another with a glass of wine or limoncello (that amazing yellow Italian liqueur).
Decadence, but simple decadence, is the order of the day in Venice. Time seems to stand still whenever you want it to and hours are easily whiled away at a table in the square or tucked away somewhere nibbling on a fresh wood stove baked pizza.
The canals and their gorgeously outfitted gondolas floating by, under bridges and through the tiny streets, lovers cosily ensconced together and taking in the views. It's a cliche of the city, sure, but it's one for a reason. There's no beating the tranquility, the beauty and yes, the romanticism.
Carnival. A time when the city comes alive with masks and ball gowns and parties and drinks and festivities so grand...well...I can only imagine them. Because I wasn't there during Carnaval. Wah wah waaaaah.
However! There are tons of tiny shops all throughout Venice selling the beautiful masks and costumes year round. It's a peek into another side of the city and one that will have you wanting to come back and join in all the fun...or at least buy a few items to take home to remember the excitement and mystery by.
You are treated to a stunning sunset every single night. Every. Single. Night. With a view like this, why would you ever leave?
Beautiful and stunning blown glass everything. It's a joy to meander through shops and streets and behold the light shining through all those gorgeous glass pieces, throwing gorgeous colours on the walls and alleyways. Talk about the perfect souvenir...
I spent the entire time in Venice feeling like I was in another era. Probably the lack of vehicles and the architecture more than anything lend themselves to that. But I really feel like there IS something more, like there's magic in the air.
It's the stunning light throughout the city as dusk descends and the teeny patios with candlelit tables and the air of sophistication all around. It's the soft music floating through an open window here or there, or a pair of lovers talking dreamily of future plans with cappuccino in hand.
It can be hard to capture with words, but there's definitely something about Venice...