We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What I've learned about Venice

On the occassion of our third anniversary here,  I've been reflecting on all the things I've learned in  the last 3 years.  Here's a few I'd like to share:

1) Venice needs more than 1 or 2 days.  I would tell every potential tourist who is planning a trip to Venice , and especially those who are quickly stopping by at the beginning or end of a cruise that they need more time.  Two days just doesn't do Venice justice.  It's only time to see the very top spots, and not nearly enough time to let Venice get under your skin, where she belongs. You will fall in love with Venice, if you let yourself. Trust me, you will.

2) Slow down. Don't rush through Venice, you will miss too much. Venice requires time to experience it, to feel it. Best place to do some of this is an outdoor cafe!  Just sit and enjoy passing time in one of Venice's campos.

3) Look up.   Don't forget to look up.  Why? Because there is as much to see above you as there is on ground level.  Look for all those roof top terraces.  Check out all the different types of chimneys.  Enjoy the architecture of windows, doors, balconies,  the iron work, and all that marble!

4) Stop to look in every canal.  Every single day the view of Venice you will see in the reflections in all the canals will keep you mesmerized. It's a never ending art exhibit, for free.  Depending on the light and time of day, even if you look at the very same canal day after day, you will see something different.  The light and color will stop you dead in your tracks. Here's a recent example. See, even on a fairly cold winter day, it's an awesome view.

(photo courtesy of my husband, Michael)
5) Spend an hour or so ON the water. Either on a vaporetto, or better yet, do the gondola ride. It's not corny or touristy, it's quintessential Venice. To me, the water is the heartbeat of this city, and you need to be on it to feel it.

6) Try to read something about Venice before you get here.  Not just Rick Steves guide book. Try to find a book that goes a little deeper, one that introduces you to some of Venice's secrets.  And then, try to find one or two of them while you are here.  While you do that, let yourself imagine what Venice was like hundreds of years ago. Believe it or not, not a whole lot has changed since then.

I have more, but this is a good start for today.

Ciao from Venice.


Charlie Thomason said...

I'm currently reading Peter Ackyroyd's "Venice: Pure City" and it's not too bad. Does a great job trying to separate the myths of Venice from the facts.

monicacesarato said...

Brava, I hope people will follow your suggestions!!! Ciao ciao Monica

jann said...

oh, that's a pretty photo. and great advice to look INTO the canals.

Anonymous said...

Awesome Blog! I hope that one day I can follow your advice when my dream comes true and Bill and I visit Italy and fall in love with Venice!

tim said...

I found your blog by chance and wish to congratulate you on your enterprise. My partner and I have been to Venice every year since 2004 and we found Paolo Giordoni's Venice 30 Walks a wonderful companion to discovering the city. The English translation is a little peculiar in places, but that just adds to the pleasure!

karen said...

Grazie, Tim! Will you be making the move over here also???

tim said...

Karen, it will only be a dream for me. I also doubt I can endure aqua alta and tourists! I'll keep dropping in on your blog from time to time. FWIW, I love the Dorsoduro, it's relatively free of tourists and a heaven for me with the camera.

Dianne said...

Karen, I have been catching up on your blog since I have not had a lot of time to sit in front of the computer this winter. We adopted a new rescue springer spaniel when our lovely Murphy Brown had to be put to sleep in June 2010. So I am just loving reading what you have been up to since my last visit to your blog. We were in Venice in October 2010 and I got to experience my first aqua alta. Kind of bothersome for a couple of hours but manageable - at least if the water isn't too high. As to "literature" I have been re-reading my Donna Leon novels and used Brunetti's Venice when I was there in 2009. It was great to get off of the beaten tourist path. Just got the 20th D. Leon book in the mail from Amazon and am looking forward to spending hours with the Commissario and his family! Ciao bella and I will try to contact you the next time I am coming to Venice.