Venice: the City of Dreams

There I was, sitting on the edge of Canal GrandePonte di Rialto to my right, the other side of Venice ahead of me, and a long stretch of walkway to my left – on a coveted spot, one I managed to snag after squeezing ahead through the crowd. Nothing special was happening, but it was a warm August night, a time when Venice is inevitably swarmed with travelers, so getting a sitting spot was indeed an achievement.The day has turned into night, the heat no longer oppressive, and Venice is now basking in glowing street lights, punctuated with bright neon signs from ristorantes and pizzerias.

Ponte di Rialto

Ponte di Rialto

We had gotten lost, again, on our way here from Basilica di San Marco; a 550-M walk that should have only taken us 5 minutes tops took us 20 minutes, all thanks to the complicated maze and alleys of Venice. Twelve hours earlier, we made our way from Milan (where I was mugged, no less), across the northern part of Italy to arrive at Santa Lucia, Venice’s train station. Greeted by the sounds of water lapping against the cement walls, the smell of salty ocean, and a glaring sunlight, we grinned broadly and walked confidently out of the train station.

Santa Lucia train station in the background.

Santa Lucia train station in the background.

After consulting a map from the train office, we dragged our suitcases and made our way towards our hostel: across the bridge, turn right, and take the second left – probably the easiest directions we followed during our stay in this city. There, beside a laundromat and tucked in a corner, is our home for the next several days. Per the usual norm, we put everything down and quickly set out again to the embrace of alleys and canals.

Venice, or Venezia, as the Italians say with their typical sing-song intonation (LOVE!!), is a city built on water and located on the marshy Venetian lagoon. As such, the city is humid and unbearably hot in the summer months. Despite this, Venice continues to draw visitors because of its beautiful architectures and downright charming atmosphere it exudes throughout its alleys. Here is a collection of pictures from those hot and humid days in Venice.

One of the many, many canals in the city.

One of the many, many canals in the city.

Gondoliers in action

Gondoliers in action

Believe it or not, these obscure "directions" are so much easier to follow than the map.

Believe it or not, these obscure “directions” are so much easier to follow than the map.

Venice

Seen in the distance: the Bridge of Sighs or Ponte dei Sospiri

Seen in the distance: the Bridge of Sighs or Ponte dei Sospiri

In hindsight, we really didn’t do much in Venice. The hours were spent walking through its maze of alleys and canals and stumbling across random churches every now and then. We operated on a student’s budget, so we opted out of a gondola ride, a decision I’ve regretted ever since.

One of the many churches we came across while getting lost.

One of the many churches we came across while getting lost.

As if this city can be any more charming that it already is, Venice is MAGICAL under the glow of the moonlight. Trust me on this: when you go, make the splurge and stay overnight in the city. Throngs of tourists fill Venice by day, but they retreat to their docked cruise ships or to their hotels in Padua (a city nearby where accommodations are cheaper) when evening falls, making the city much less crowded. There is something wonderful about Venice at night: Strolling through the darkened and narrow alleys, climbing over many bridges under the streetlamps, feeling the cool breeze, and listening to free concerts at Piazza San Marco.

Ah! Despite the crazy crowds, Venice left such an impression on me and I absolutely loved it!

Venice

Listening to free concert at Piazza San Marco

Listening to free concert at Piazza San Marco

Have you been to Venice? Did you like it as much as I did? Wouldn’t you want to be serenaded by an Italian gondolier while going through the back-canals of Venice? I would! 

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5 thoughts on “Venice: the City of Dreams

  1. Lisa says:

    I loved getting lost in Venice too! It’s great to just roam freely. We found a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition in a quaint church– so much fun. Also, I think every city is better at night, despite the poor photo opportunities ;)

    • Lisa says:

      ps. Our gondolier did not sing to us, and told us that it is not standard and is just an American myth that they sing! My Mom asked hers to sing to them and she said his voice was terrible (hence, confirming the fact that they do not sing).

  2. Michelle says:

    Wow, that looks so pretty! I’d love to go to Venice! I’ve been all over Europe but not Italy yet strangely…have booked my flight in May to Pisa and Florence so I’ll start there :)
    Michelle recently posted…Where will I be in 2015?My Profile

    • Pauline says:

      Ah! We had to come back to Italy to see Venice, so you’re not alone with your plans! Have a great time in Pisa & Florence, though! I’m looking forward to reading about it.

  3. Amie Cole says:

    I was in Venice last February. You must go there this time of the year to see that masked carnival. Also its the moth of love so it can be a nice gift for your loved ones ;)

    Amie Cole recently posted…Reservation Counter

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