A morning stroll in my new favorite city // Venice, Italy
I love Italy. It really, truly is the best country in Europe. “Va bene!” the locals often say, it’ll be alright. Unlike their rigid European counterparts to the North, driving is lacks rules and organization. Va bene! We eat pizza, drink wine, and do nothing but relax for hours – and it’s perfect and expected.
In February Dan and I spent a weekend in Italy’s tourist mecca, Venice (Venezia). My previous experience hadn’t been a great one. On a college graduation trip I joined 30 other Hokies for a month-long tour of Europe. Our stop in Venice coincided with the peak-of-peak tourist season (end of June) and insufferable heat. I wasn’t impressed and wanted out. Perhaps my expectations were low, however with all my recent travels around Europe I wouldn’t say that I had lowered the bar, only elevated it.
On Saturday morning we rose early to catch the free walking tour and explore the city. It was February at the time so there was a tranquility in the air as the sleepy city came to life. Just outside our window I could see the gondoliers strolling to work, chatting loudly over espressos as they began their day. I smiled to myself at the thought that this was everyday life here. How charming.
We landed absolutely incredible rates by visiting in February, which is still off season. Our stay at Foscari Palace typically would have been at least triple the price. With a solid breakfast and stunning views of the Grand Canal, I was extremely pleased with our stay.
In all honesty, the walking tour wasn’t my favorite – too many people (and this was low season) and a quiet-talking guide. She did however take us through the back streets of Venice that were truly stunning. With every turn I mumbled a quiet “wowww” and snapped away more pictures. I couldn’t have been more wrong about Venice. This place is remarkable. The architecture is one thing, the food another, the waterways that nose their way through it all yet another.
For those toying with the idea of a visit, pretty-please try your best to go in the low season. If not, perhaps going mid-week will improve your experience. Or, at least just in with the mindset that it will be crowded, maybe that was my problem initially. ALSO, Venice is laid out in a spaghetti-inspired grid. I downloaded a Venice Map App called “Ulmon” that allowed me to access maps offline AND (most importantly) GPS, so I could see exactly where I was currently located.
Strolling back to the hotel after the tour, we both had cheesy, happy grins. What a place!
More Venezia to come!