Venice has more than once been ranked the most beautiful city in the world, commonly known as the “floating city”. We took a train from Milano to Venezia. The two and a half hour train ride felt like nothing when you can witness the beautiful landscapes of northern Italy from the train windows. I planned to sit alone at the back of the train to read one of my favorite books, The Secret. However, I was politely interrupted by a small group of Asian tourists who spoke neither English, nor Italian. They were fascinated with my fedora and red dress. They shared their Chinese candy with me and we became quite fond of each other, despite not sharing a common language. So much of our communication actually comes from body language, aura, and expressions. This is something I have learned throughout traveling, and the knowledge of reading a room without hearing or understanding the conversations will stay with me forever.
When we arrived in Venice at Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia, we walked out of the station, and were immediately swept up in the beauty of the city. Water is surrounding you, water taxis driving past, and flamboyant buildings with immaculate architecture line the view. It is quite overwhelming and you instantly will fall in love with this city, or in this city. Known to be one of the most popular spots for couples, you will find an abundance of romantic boutique bread and breakfasts, musicians playing love songs on the bridges between the islands, and people selling bouquets of roses on the street.
Most people take water taxis wherever they need to go, but I was informed by one of my best friends, a New Yorker, very stern and charismatic, “you can walk anywhere you need to go in this city!, just take the bridges!”. Water taxis are amusing and you should definitely take at least a few while you are visiting. However, the water in Venice is known to be significantly and noticeably polluted. When you choose to walk, you will smell fresh bread and red wine as you pass through the narrow streets. There are novelty shops and precious restaurants hidden in the crevices of the alleys that could be easily missed if you don’t explore by foot.
I am a typical introvert. I love to be alone, I like traveling alone, exploring alone, and just being at peace by myself in a new place, or anywhere for that matter. One of my favorite experiences of Venice was walking through the quaint alleyways and stopping wherever and whenever I pleased. Sadly, because Venice’s economy relies so heavily on tourism, many streets are almost empty. It can be quite peaceful, but an important reminder that Venice is struggling in the sense of their own residents, and how most people have been forced to move away considering how expensive the city has become due to the burdensome infrastructure. Walking the vacant streets is calming and tranquil, but the most popular tourist’s destinations are not to be missed. For example, the Basilica di San Marco, Piazza San Marco, the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs are just a few for planning a visit.
Without question, if you visit Venice, you must take a gondola ride. There are plenty lined up outside of Piazza San Marco, and make sure to choose your gondolier wisely, as many are known to serenade you as you pass some of the most beautiful and noteworthy passageways in Venice. If hearing someone sing to you isn’t your glass of Venetian wine, just sit back and embrace it, when in Rome… Stay tuned for our next adventure.