The Perfect Venetian Day

My boyfriend and I are in Venezia visiting his family for the holidays. Leo has visited several times and knows the city well. He’s my official tour guide. We are wanderers when we travel together. Generally we have no specific plan or rigid schedule. When I travel by myself, I have my own agenda. But when I travel with my love, I just go with the flow. Spontaneity makes everything more romantic anyway. We wander the maze aimlessly, stopping in bars, restaurants, and creperies when we need a break. We sit on the steps of the canals, at the bases of endless bridges, and snack on chocolate while gondolas float by gently.

Venice is romantic, but the weather is not. It isn’t particularly cold in the winter (40-45 degrees Fahrenheit), but it is very humid which makes the cold seem inescapable. There have been a few rainy days, and the rain combined with the wind makes being outside bearable for only a few hours at a time. However, the weather cooperated on Saturday, and we had an incredible stroll around the city, a 12 mile stroll to be exact! And it was just beautiful. It was sunny and bright. The air was crisp, and the usual sea fog held off so that we could enjoy a dreamy sunset.

It was the first sunny day after a couple days of rain, and the streets were bustling.

The space between Christmas and the new year is less confusing here because the Italians celebrate Epiphany on January 6th. So their holidays last for approximately two weeks. Many, but not all, shops close on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Life goes on in between.

Our walk lead us to discover the magic of Libreria Acqua Alta, an eccentric bookstore along a canal. In Italian, “acqua alta” means “high water,” and the books are stacked on various objects, including gondolas, in preparation for the city’s constant flooding. The store had books in several languages. There were cats climbing on the books in the gondolas, and they played with anyone who came along.

Technically, I discovered it, but Leo rediscovered it. 😉

I’ve observed that as we explore, I notice small details while Leo sees the big picture. Yin and Yang, for better or worse. I notice decoration, graffiti, and store fronts while Leo spots sweeping views. However, I photograph them. 😉

After some aimless wandering, we stopped in a cafe for “brunch.” Brunch is really an American tradition. I ordered an omelet at 1pm, and the Italians considered it breakfast.

I am in love with this unlikely mix of color and texture.

Okay maybe it was still a little bit grey, but wait for the sunset! 😀

I may have given up my pursuit of architecture a few years ago, but I still appreciate it. I’m fascinated by the lingering Byzantine details of the Venetian windows; a reminder of the city’s history as a center of free trade hundreds of years ago.

You must visit the San Marco basin for a Venetian sunset. This was my second, my first being on Christmas Eve! On the 24th, the sea fog rolled in, and made the sunset misty and other-worldly. This one was clear and bright. It faded from orange to muted pink to orange again. We walked on the dock from San Marco square past a carnival all the way to Sant’Elena. The low winter sun cast a golden glow on the ancient buildings on the other side of the harbor. The photos do not do it justice. As a sunset enthusiast, I highly recommend.

The perfect winter day in Venice ended on a cold note with dark chocolate and vanilla gelato at home.


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