In perhaps the least surprising news ever, Venice is amazing.
I can add little that hasn’t been said already; it’s a truly unique place, a genuine wonder of the world, everyone must visit once in their lives, there’s nowhere quite like “Venezia”.
The scale, the architecture, the culture, the history, and the remarkable canal network, the real magic of the place, leave a deep and lasting impression.
The huge Grand Canal scythes through the middle, dividing the main island; ferries, gondolas, and taxi and fishing boats power, pootle, weave and buzz along from dawn till dusk, and beyond. This main artery is truly spectacular, magnificent palaces rise from and sit flush to it, moorings and garages opening onto the water, resplendent balconies overlooking it. Bewitching smaller canals and beguiling streets and lanes intertwine and surround it, crossed by and crossing 400+ pretty bridges ranging from the iconic Rialto to tiny wooden footbridges.
Many cities are brilliant to “wander around” but Venice is something else, jaw-dropping vistas at every turn, canals, streets, lanes, squares, churches, bridges and boats forming a rich and beautiful tapestry.
Everyone knows all this already. But it’s still nice to write down in the warm afterglow of true magnificence.
We were fortunate to arrive during the Venezia Biennial – many of the city’s iconic buildings were hosting contemporary art installations, the grandiose settings and striking modern intrusions providing an arresting contrast.
Considering we visited during peak season (mid-July) it was a pleasant surprise to find some deserted alleys, empty back street wine bars, and silent squares. St Mark’s (Piazzo San Marco) the most famous site and erstwhile centre of Venetian civilisation, was humming – but not horribly packed.
Overall the TPSQ (tourists per square km) was pleasingly low, relative to expectation. Akin to Prague – busy, but not ridiculous. Yes, it was touristy, but it was still breathtaking; the volume of people didn’t detract from the experience.
And what an experience visiting Venice is. In the truest sense of the word, it’s incredible.