What started as a home for Roman refugees fleeing the barbarian invasions later became a major maritime power and a flourishing European trade center. The town of Venice is actually built on 118 different flat islands which contributes greatly to the cities’ uniquely vibrant culture. As the train spills us mere steps from a water taxi station our excitement builds – we cannot wait to explore the charming Queen of the Adriatic!
The water taxi ride is a distinct method of travel and proves to be a wonderful sightseeing tool - on the ride to our darling Bed & Breakfast alone we spot St. Mark’s Square, the Doges Palace and Santa Maria della Salute. Our accommodations are off the beaten path, away from the crowds in a quiet piazza yet still only a short walk from St. Mark’s Square. Today is the first time we've had air conditioning in a week and we are truly grateful for it – the moment we get settled in, we crank the AC up high and catch a quick cat-nap in our lavishly decorated room before getting back to exploring!
Refreshed, we head out to see the Grand Canal at night – battling only a bit of the dwindling crowds along the route. The sky is a deep indigo as we reach the Rialto Bridge and the city is illuminated only by moonlight as we finally sit down to dinner. When we arrived in Venice in the heat of the day, amidst the hordes of tourists I had a quick ponder over whether or not this city was going to be the romantic adventure the world had promised us. As I sit, enjoying a delectable dish of gnocchi bolognese while gazing across the candle-lit table at my loving, handsome husband with the quiet Rialto Bridge in the background, I have to say – tonight, this city is absolutely enchanting.
To top off the most lovely of nights, we make a visit to St. Mark’s Square on our way home. The square is still – no tour groups, no winding entrance lines and no cameras. The only sound comes from the back corner…away from the Basilica and the Palace, a small niche is lit brightly showcasing a small black-tie clad ensemble. The pianist plays quietly as the saxophonist takes the lead, playfully engaging the small crowd with his sparkling solo. Selecting a seat on the outskirts of the area, we stay for a while - enjoying the warm evening and soothing music before turning in for the night.