I was about five years old when I learned for the first time about Venice. I remember because it was right after my father spent a year in Italy getting an advanced degree at the University of Padova. I recall looking at photos and travel guides and being curious about the canals, the palaces, and the gondolas…
It is interesting how a kid’s imagination can drive the quest of an adult, and how it can morph both expectations and reality. For me, Venice felt like meeting a cousin that I haven’t seen in many years. It was new, but also familiar. Intriguing. It is a city that the camera loves, although it doesn’t really love cameras…. or tourists. Day tourists, that’s it. To really enjoy the city spending a few nights there is mandatory.
From opulent palaces to very narrow streets, it is hard for me to pinpoint what I liked most in this city built on wood pillars driven in the lagoon’s mud. Probably the “spritz,” but that has nothing to do with architecture. One of the most interesting finds was that canals are really the back alleys of Venice. Some even have graffiti, half washed by the lagoon’s waters. Oh, and that gondolas are built crooked and float tilted to the right.
The mess, noise and craziness that is Venice during the day vanishes when the night falls and the hordes of tourists return to their cruise ships, or pack the restaurants, osterias and tavernas. As one day ends and another begins, the city seems to go back in time and is breathing a moment of respite. Venice at peace.
Enjoy the photos!