My daughter is in Venice with friends, their latest stop on an 18-day tour of Europe. I’m jealous, so I’m going to live vicariously through her and reminisce about our trip in 2013. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have gone to this magical water city once. At the risk of this special place being loved to death, I hope everyone who wishes to go has the chance to go. Grab it. Once you’ve been, it never leaves you.
My daughter is back for a second time. The one day she has there is far short of the time Venice deserves, but it’s enough to soak in it’s utterly unique charms.
When we went as a family in July 2013, Venice’s main attractions were filled to the brim with tourists. The Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doges Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. They were all must-sees, but we found more fun in exploring the quieter streets of Venice. It was our tour guide who advised us to use our one “unscheduled” free day in the city “getting lost.” She told us to wander, and round whatever corner strikes our fancy.
It was the best advice. Those hours are my best memories of Venice. Not far off the traditional tourist routes we found neighborhood streets that were surprisingly empty. We saw local residents tending to every day life — hanging laundry out to dry, washing windows, and tending to flower boxes in windows that hung over canals. We saw children’s scooters propped against walls. All proof that people live and work in this magical place!
There were countless picturesque alleys, countless photo-worth bridges, and countless photo ops with hardly a soul in sight except us. You’d never know from these photos it was prime tourist season.