Winter in Venice
Winter in Venice: November has arrived in Venice with a vengeance.
Today the sky is grey, the rain is pouring and the wind is howling! And the wind is also blowing in memories of Venice from some other dear Facebook friend: Jessica from Bootsnall!
Jessica has been to Venice many times but it always amazes me how she got to know the city so well and not just as a tourist. And the love for this city always transpires from her writing. Thanks again for taking the time to write for me!!
Not Just one memory!
When Monica first proposed the idea of contributing a guest post on the topic of “my best memory of Venice,” I jumped at the chance. Venice, perhaps my favorite city in Italy, always makes me gush – so writing a post on my best memory in a city I hold so dear wouldn’t be difficult, right?
Except it’s proving very difficult.
How can I choose just one moment from my many visits to Venice over the years? How can I pull one filament of memory from the constant stream of bliss I feel wandering Venice’s back alleys? How can I point to a single instant that everything was perfect when I so often think everything is perfect in Venice?
Of course, I know the reality of Venice is different for the vast majority of people who stop for a brief visit on a whirlwind trip through Italy. They get off their train or cruise ship and are immediately pressured to see everything before the train or ship leaves that evening. They want the fastest route to the big sights – St. Mark’s and the Rialto Bridge – and when they consult a map they pick what looks like the straightest shot from Point A to Point B. This inevitably means they get stuck shuffling along in the traffic jam of people who all have the same goal – and that’s when you can almost hear the love they anticipated they would have for Venice hissing out of their ears like steam from the vent on a kettle.
The Venice all of those people dream of is the one I fell in love with, and the one that still makes me sigh deeply when I think of it. It’s the quiet Venice, the peaceful city, the so-called streets that aren’t even wide enough to walk down with your arms outstretched fully, the dead-end alleys that open onto a canal and force you to backtrack or dive in. It’s the early-morning and late-night city when the day trippers have left and even the Venetians are still at home, when the Piazza San Marco is huge in its emptiness and you hear water more than footsteps.
The longest amount of time I’ve spent in Venice at one stretch is four days – not nearly enough. But Monica herself recently left a comment on a Venice transportation post on my site that read, “You always manage to shock me everytime you write about Venice, because you just write as if you really lived here all your life!” You can imagine how much that sentence made me smile.
So what is my best memory of Venice? It’s a collection of memories, or perhaps more accurately it’s a memory of how Venice makes me feel. Italy trips are always work-related for me now, and while that’s nothing to complain about it does mean that it’s more challenging to turn off my brain and let la dolce vita seep in. In Venice, however, I’m more able to do that than anywhere else in the country. Venice calms me with the sound of water on bricks and marble, and with the promise of yet another hidden deep-sigh moment around every turn. When I find myself in those quiet corners I so dearly love I’m able to forget there’s a whole other world out there. I thank Venice for that gift.
About the Author: Jessica Spiegel writes the Italy travel guide, WhyGo Italy, that’s part of the BootsnAll Travel Network. She’s happy to help people find what they need to plan the perfect Italy trip, from Italy airfare to tips on Italian food, but she’ll no longer tolerate people who say Venice is too crowded. She thinks they’re just not trying hard enough.