When you think about Venice it depends which continent you come from. Venice Beach already existed in good old Europe when LA was still in its childhood shoes. It was at the time and still today is called Lido di Venezia. This is where the Agnelli and the other old rich Italian families spent their summer holidays. It was the hot spot which you mentioned in the same line with Sanremo, Portofino and Capri. The patina has grown more on this place while Capri for example is still striving today and very much remains a hot spot for the high society. Making your way to the lagoon city it is the entrance door on the way from the airport. After that you enter the heart of Venice – the lagoon city, the mysterious system of canals, the origin of carnival, the home of Casanova, the place where melancholic beauty meets streams of tourists. We were visiting just the week after carnival in early March. We were lucky with the weather and it is the ideal time to explore the city. When you start early you can have Venice almost to yourself, a sensation which is unheard of in summer. You will arrive at the grand piazza as the merchants did already centuries ago. San Marco – a place where occident meets orient, where the roman catholic church merges with the byzantine origins of christianity. It is a rich place boasting with beauty and the unique lagoon feeling flexes its muscles better than Arnie will ever have been able to at Venice Beach.
Venice is best explored walking and maybe taking a gondola through the little canals, with a gondolier trying to create a romantic feeling – few are really successful though. Boats are the taxis of the city and no cars exist anywhere. Equally no scooters are to be found, which is impossible to imagine in any other Italian city. Here in Venice modern forms of urban life, like ordering your next lift by smart phone do not exist and if there will be a place where Uber will not succeed here it is. You still can feel how it must have been in medieval times as the mornings are still busy with men collecting the garbage with their trolley carts pulled by hand. All supply is carried on boats through the canals and it will stay that way unless drones would arrive here. A really scary thought….
Keeping your orientation in the sheer endless little winding alleys is difficult. But do not worry too much, at the end there is always the sea and you can make up your mind when you arrive there about where you are. Boats can always take you back to San Marco if you are tired off making your way over little bridges to a new opening around the corner with stunning views, a new little shop to discover, a cafe with the beautiful smell of fresh brewed coffee, a market full of the best ingredients for a fabulous meal. So being lazy you might miss this little square where you should rest for a drink or a snack embracing life as a Venetian. Food is plenty and fish dominates the local menu. Try the Bigoli if you fancy pasta, Baccala a local fish speciality, try the fegato alla Veneziana (but only if you are really up for it) and wash it down with one of the excellent wines from the region. While Venice is not cheap the local kitchen offers a great variety. Venture around, leave the main tourist roads and you will find loads of options. In case you want to save money and experience the taste of Venice go for “cicchetti”. These are served with your drink in the local bars. Like Tapas they differ from bar to bar and you can be sure if you charm the owner with compliments on his quality there might be more coming your way. Do like the locals and you will not regret it.
We stayed at the Villa Stucky, a bit outside the main lagoon but it offers a shuttle boat to San Marco (10min) and you can use it as often as you want and till late. The hotel’s roof top bar offers one of the greatest views of the city. We had a very nice room facing the waterfront and enjoyed the attentive service. Venice you conquered our heart and we are seriously considering to become the next merchants of Venice just to be sure to come back. For now arrivederci e alla prossima!