venice canal

Italian Rendezvous: Venice

venice canal

By Devon Delfino

We arrived on a Wednesday evening, four girls on break from studying abroad in London, our mission: find some gelato (not exactly a tall order over there, on a five minute stroll you’ll probably pass just as many gelato shops), and get a real feel for the city.

The first thing that struck me about Venice was that old, familiar smell: musty canal water, humidity and sweat from the masses of tourists mixed with the sweetness of gelato shops and bakeries. It sounds insane, but I kind of love it.

It reminds me of my first trip to Europe about ten years ago, an experience that left me in awe and with a newfound love of travel. The first day in a new country is always somewhat surreal, full of new customs and traditions, and the hope of doing something truly adventurous and memorable.

We met our host, Ricardo, at the gelato shop and soon we were on our way to our temporary home: a small, ancient and easy-to-find apartment near the St. Lucia train station.

We ate dinner at a restaurant on a canal near our apartment. It was tiny, with just three or four tables, but the small collection of patrons gathered outside made it clear that the place was worth trying. The restaurant had a relaxed yet somehow upbeat ambiance. We had pizza and wine for dinner (both delicious), and then went for a stroll down the Rio Tera Lista di Spagna.

Venice, it seems, is the true city that never sleeps: everything, from restaurants to shops, was open late, offering tourists the opportunity to buy a token of Venetian culture.

We stopped in at shops that caught our eye, rested on the steps of a boat docking station, and returned only when someone got a bit more than they bargained for in an attempt to touch the canal water. But hey, the night can’t end till someone falls in a canal, right?

The following morning we went to the main tourist attractions. We took a relaxing ride on a water taxi to the Rialto Bridge and from there we made our way over to St. Mark’s Square (not exactly an easy task for four non-Italian-speaking twenty-somethings in a city as labyrinthian as Venice.) Somehow we managed to find our way through the city without getting lost, an absolute miracle in my book.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the area near our apartment, eating more pizza and gelato, shopping for souvenirs, and soaking in the warmth of the Italian sun. It was truly a gorgeous day. We got dinner at an adorable restaurant, more wine was in order and I got pasta with an assortment of seafood. (When else can you get seafood that fresh?)

The next morning, and our final day in Venice, we took a ride on a gondola (an absolute necessity for anyone going to Venice.) Paolo, our friendly gondolier, took us around the area we were staying in. It was so relaxing to explore the smaller canals running between the buildings and to observe the gorgeous architecture of the ancient city. It was the perfect conclusion to our time in Venice.

It was truly a relaxing yet invigorating experience, and even though I only had a couple of days to immerse myself in the venetian lifestyle, I truly enjoyed everything it had to offer. I just can’t wait to go back!

About the author:

Devon is a journalism student at Boston University who is currently studying abroad in London. She is originally from northern California, where she developed a taste for road trips and the hippie lifestyle, and travel in general. Check out her travel blog, Dev Across the Pond, here.

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