A Tour of Venezia: “La Serenissima”

My first visit to Venice was in 1999 and that was the start of my love affair with what has become my favorite city in the world. I’ve returned to “La Serenissima” (the most serene one – a nickname often bestowed on Venezia), many times since then and I’ve probably taken a few hundred photos as I’ve wandered the city. Yet, with every new visit I add a few dozen more because Venice has to be one of the most photogenic places on the planet. The light, the shadows, and the reflections on the water change a thousand times a day and look different with each season. Join me for a tour of La Serenissima and hopefully you’ll see why I love her so much. (Be sure to click on a photo to see captions!)

Probably the most famous spot in the city is Piazza San Marco, an enormous square enclosed by ornate buildings, outdoor cafes with live music, the spectacular Basilica San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, and the towering Campanile. In the heat of a summer day or in the crush of humanity that occurs during Carnivale, this is the place to avoid, but on a quiet morning, late evening, or chilly winter day, it’s magical.

The only way to travel in Venezia is by boat. Choose from the Vaporetto (water bus) or if you have money to burn, a gondola or a water taxi…

Walking is the only other way to get around Venezia, and it is easy to get lost, even for the locals. Half the fun of Venice is just getting lost in her maze of bridges, canals, and narrow alleys while taking time for window shopping or just soaking in all the beauty.

Just a 40-minute boat ride across the Venetian Lagoon lies Burano, a colorful island famous for fishing and lace manufacturing. It’s a mini-Venice in bright, primary colors and should not be missed when you visit the city.

My favorite time of day in Venice is after the sun has set and evening sets in. The day tourists have all gone home, streets are often deserted, and the city is enveloped in quiet. The only sounds are your own steps on the brick sidewalks, the lapping of water in the canals, the rattling of dishes and cutlery signaling dinner time in a third story apartment, and the occasional hum of a vaporetto as it makes its way down the Grand Canal. The tourist who visits and doesn’t spend at least one night in the city is, in my opinion, missing out on the real Venezia.

It’s now been over three years since my last visit to La Serenissima and it’s probably at the top of my list of places I want to return to now that the madness of the pandemic and its accompanying travel restrictions are in the past. Wait for me, dear Venezia. I will be “home” soon.

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