Venice Italy is a beautiful city surrounded by water and best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Get lost in the rambling streets, eat great food, drink fabulous wine and relax in the charm.
I think the third or the fourth time is the charm in Venice. Actually, it might be the second in my case. The first time I visited Venice Italy, it was during my month long backpack trip through Europe while in college. A friend and I arrived on the banks of San Marco Square with too many bags, not enough money and way too many pigeons. We ran through trying to find an open restaurant at an off time and ended up leaving the same day not really "getting" it.
My second Venice trip was many years later and many times better. A friend from Paris had rented an apartment not far from San Marco's square and asked if I wanted to come stay for a few days with her. It was an offer I couldn't turn down, though I was slightly apprehensive at spending time in a place I didn't think I liked very much.
The apartment was perfectly situated so that I could just drop my bags and wander, and wander, and wander. I found each street more charming than the next. I got very lost on many occasions, but along the way discovered works of art and beauty in many undiscovered locations.
Sure, we had a drink in San Marco square with the other tourists while listening to the pretty Italian men sing to us along the water.
Yup, we hit the Grand Canal at sunset. We snapped pictures from the Rialto bridge and said the shot simply doesn't do it justice.
We overpaid for a gondola ride to get a glimpse of Venice from the inside, while gliding along to an Italian baritone.
We saw art everywhere - in museums like the Peggy Guggenheim and the Accademia Gallery, but also in colored glass outlines around doorways and in small boats.
We took a boat ride over to Murano to watch local glassblowers do their craft, while picking up souvenirs of our own.
I fell in love with Venice on that second trip. I couldn't understand how I missed it the first time.
Then recently, there was a third and fourth trip. Even better than all of the above was having no agenda and just wandering through the streets. Sure, there's Harry's for the classic bellini, but grabbing a Spritz in a quiet courtyard while watching Venetians hang their laundry felt a little more special.
On this last trip I even had the time, and ability to tear myself away Venice proper to head out to the hills where Prosecco is created. The beautiful green countryside is probably the only reason to leave the canals, and of course the light and sparkly bubbles of Prosecco is a big draw as well. Villa Sandi has a nice tour and collection for an afternoon of Italian food and drinks.
I came home inspired, and ok, missing, my afternoon Aperol Spritz, so I created my own. You can also read about how on that second trip to Venice, my friend and I tried, and tried, to like the Spritz, but never really fell in love with it. That came on the third trip.
I think many cities have the power to lure us in the more time we spend there. After you see the major attractions, you can drop in a little deeper to the rhythm of daily life and see a whole other level of beauty. Venice continues to give that to me. I can't wait to see what happens on the next trip!