Don't be a tourist in Venice, be absorbed by its magic!
January 1, 1970
Aww Venice Venice.. what a beautiful, romantic and unique city you are!
Even though I was born in Italy and visited so many places all around the world; I still believe Venice has something so special that is uncomparable. From the first moment you walk in this city, you are completely absorbed by a special vibe.
Streets are replaced by canals and cars are replaced by boats. Everything is so different from the usual. It looks like jumping into an history book and have to experience life without cars, with small houses and old architectures.
What’s Venice like?
The sidewalks, are usually really really long and narrow, some of them look like labyrinths, they’re common in Venice and in italian they’re called “calle”. The only ample space that you can find is “Piazza San Marco”; a big square surrounded by incredible buildings full of history, great architectures and the beautiful view on the sea. If you’re not traveling with a lot of money, I definitely don’t suggest to have a drink in that square, since it is the most expensive area.
What also fascinates me are the bridges. There are essential in this city, to enable people to cross the canal. Even though it’s one of the most important things, I think it’s also what makes it so incredibly beautiful and interesting. From one of the bridges, next to Piazza San Marco, it is possible to see “Il Ponte dei Sospiri” which means “Bridge of sighs”; the name derives from the past, when the death penalty used to exist, this was the bridge where the convicted had to walk towards death and could see the light for one last time. This is only one of the curiosities you can get to learn by only walking in this city. When you cross one of the bridges you can admire a wonderful view and some gondolieri that pass under the bridge.
The gondola is a fundamental accessory of Venice. It’s sooo romantic. Imagine to be on this little boat, sitting on a red leather armchair which sometimes has a heart shape, with your husband or boyfriend, floating on the canal and moving thanks to a man who is standing on the front wearing a particular uniform, singing in italian. It’s like living an italian fairy tale!
Art and Food
If you’re not so romantic but you’re into art, you’re also in the right place! Venice, like the rest of Europe, is full of museums, churches, sculptures that you can admire and learn from but it is also the place where glass is made. If this catches your attention you can see all the process of its making in Murano’s glass factories, which is a little island that is only 40 minutes distant from Venice and it’s reachable by boat. And hey.. we’re talking about Italy! Of course you can find delicious food in this crazy city too. Venice’s specialties are starters and fish. The venetian starters are really typical and they’re usually called “Cicchetti”, three or four are enough to fill you up. They are usually made with fried crab claws, mozzarella, meat balls, fish and meat croutons. My biggest advice is to eat in a beautiful restaurant with the view on the canal, especially by night. If you’re a broke traveler but you still want to experience this, you should definitely buy a “take away” somewhere, and enjoy your meal sitting on some stairs that lead to the canal. So you can eat venetian food, admiring the view and maybe meeting some gondolieri that, who knows, can dedicate you a song too (that’s what happened to me)! Something else you should absolutely experience is the “Bacaro tour”: bacari are the old venetian taverns that serve the famous chicchetti accompanied by a traditional wine or the typical Spritz. I suggest to do this during the sunset, when the sky turns a pinkie/bluish colour, the air gets colder, and the wine is more enjoyable!
Tips for a non-tourist traveler
When you travel you shouldn’t follow what all the tourists do, you should experience something different, find beauty in places that no one has seen before, get lost and enjoy the little things.
“Acqua Alta” Library
Venice is perfect to do this, it is full of surprises! Everytime I go there I experience something new, that’s why I’m still not bored of it! Last time I went there, I found out about the existance of a library called “Libreria Acqua Alta”. It’s a library, yes, you can find so many books… but it’s not a normal library. Like everything in Venice, it gives you a special vibe. As soon as you enter this shop, you can see a big gondola which exposes numerous books. Along the way, you can enter a garden surrounded by old books, take a book that you like, sit down in the middle of it and read completely absorbed by the story. If you want to change location you can move on the other side and continue your book sitting on a chair with the view on the canal. When you’re finished, there’s one last spot worth seeing: a small garden full of books, dictionaries and encyclopedias which create a little ladder you can climb, following the arrow and the suggestion written on the wall “Follow the books steps climb”. I did that, and once I reached the top, I got to see an amazing view of the canal filled by gondole, boats, music, a magic atmosphere and a peaceful sensation. Those are some of the rare moments where you hope that time could stop enabling you to enjoy that instant forever.
How to enjoy every moment in Venice
I really believe that Venice is a magic city.
From morning till night time, everything you experience is special, is different. From the smell of the food, to the sound of the sea. Just live every moment. Don’t try to follow the croud or spend the whole day in a line to enter somewhere where everyone wants to go. Try to sit down, and admire every single little detail.
Close your eyes, listen to the music and smell the air. Close your eyes and imagine living in the past, enjoy every moment of a reality where cars don’t exist. A reality that you can’t find anywhere else.
This is the only way, you can experience Venice and fall in love with it.