Venice is one of the most singular places I’ve ever visited. I’d first visited back in 1986 on my family’s trip to Europe, and it inspired a sense of wonder. I’ve visited a lot of places since, and still never seen anything quite like Venice.
I revisited this pedestrian only wonder on both my European summers, in 1997 & 1998, and was smitten once again. When putting together the itinerary for this trip, I knew I was going to make it a point to return to Venice, even if only for a day.
I arrived early on an overnight train from Munich. I love overnight trains in Europe. It’s amazing to be able to fall asleep in one country, and wake up on the morning in another country. It is especially a marvel when traveling between two countries as different as Germany and Italy. On this trip, however, I didn’t sleep as well as I had on previous overnight trains, and I arrived in Venice the next morning thankful to have a hotel near the train station. While I couldn’t check-in so early, they allowed me to store my bags and head out to enjoy the city that had so captured my imagination on previous visits.
Looking back, I’m thankful I didn’t have a place to take a nap- it forced me to get out and explore this city I’d worked so hard to include on my itinerary.
It was a soggy, grey morning, but that didn’t stop me from hopping on a vaporetto (water taxi) and taking the long, photogenic trip to Venice’s most popular destination, St. Mark’s Square.
I was able to take some time to explore about the extremely touristy St. Mark’s Square. I started the long walk back to my hotel, playing a game with myself- trying to find my way back through the labyrinth to my hotel without looking at a map. I wondered through ancient corridors, stopping off on the world famous Rialto Bridge and an open air market selling everything from household items and fruit to fresh fish. It was a photographer’s dream (post coming).
After a short nap to recharge my energy, I headed out to do my favorite Venetian activity, wandering without a purpose. I left my map in my camera bag, and meandered through the streets and alleys of this historic city. I knew I couldn’t get too lost, since I was on an island, and there were signs pointing the direction toward St. Mark’s square everywhere.
After a few hours, I managed to find myself back in St. Mark’s Square. I ascended the Campanile di San Marco, or the Belltower of St. Mark’s Basilica. The lines to take the elevator to the top had been prohibitive on my previous visits, and I was thrilled that the tourist crowds had left the city by the time I made it back to the square. The views from the top were awesome, and lent a perspective to the city that I’d never seen.
The final few hours of the day were spent exploring the area around St. Mark’s. I’d never been in the square this late in the day, and since most visitors to Venice stay outside the the city, the was a much smaller crowd than I’d ever seen.
Since I had an early train in the morning, I headed back to my hotel admiring the ambiance of city with gorgeous lighting. I was so glad I’d made the effort to include Venice in the itinerary, even if it was only for one day. A very full, rewarding day.