When I think about Venice, I usually imagine myself running down the Rialto Bridge in my black very high heels Manolo Blahnik with some gorgeous lace carnival mask to keep the mystery alive a little bit. Behind me is the flock of Italian men running to catch me, exact scene from a movie “When in Rome“, but I find them boring because I run to you, my love…
I had visited Venice in 2008 for the first time, and I had different impression about it then. Maybe because I was young and on an excursion and because of the fact that we had only a few hours to spend there, and maybe because I wasn’t in love at that time. But this time… this time was different.
It was a cold morning, few days before the celebration of New Years Eve, and we found ourselves frozenly stepping off the Santa Lucia train station with heavy luggage in our hands, and warm feeling in our hearts. We left the luggage at the station and suddenly got gripped by the greatness of the Grand canal. The scenery was spellbind. My eyes suddenly got wet not because of the rain and snow but because of the feeling I had watching those beautiful ships and gondolas floating down the canal beneath us. I took your cold hand in mine to warm it a little bit, closed my eyes to absorb the love in the air and kissed you gently.
We crossed the slippery Constitution bridge, the new bridge installed in 2008 which connects Santa Lucia train station and the rest of the city and which I didn’t like at all because its not in sync with the architecture and found ourselves in an idilic topographical atmosphere, like in the painting by Canaletto.
Never ending narrow streets where you can buy souvenirs made from Murano glass and hear bargaining over the price of the fridge magnet. Glorious Venetian architecture lined with neighborhood churches and priceless marbles. And, at the end of the waterway, you can see gorgeous Palazzo Ducale and Basilica di San Marco with a single Titian painting that mysteriously lights up an entire basilica. But, be careful if you want to take a picture in the Piazza San Marco you may experience some big fights between pigeons and seagulls.
If you want to experience the Royal Venice, like back in the day, you must treat yourself with a feast available at happy hour. Try Venetian tapas (cicheti) and dive into a proper Venetial meal with lagoon seafood to match a view at canal side bistros, and pour a glass of prosecco to make a toast to that loving moment.
And be prepared for a long walk, because Venice is divided into six districts or sestieri, or if the walking is too much for you, you can always go another district by boats, water taxis or gondolas. Don’t even think about cars, because the cars are banned from the city.
Amount of happiness we gathered wandering around this overly romantic city is indescribable. Although we only had just a few hours to wander around the city, we lived our dream…. dream that is called La bella vita (the beautiful life).
And for the very end, take a selfie from the Rialto bridge and finish this fairy tale trip to a city in which the time stopped and it will go on again when you come back for another visit.
Alla prossima volta…
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