When I first arrived back in Venice on this trip, I dropped my bags off at my hotel and went right back out to wander and get myself lost. I’m not usually the type who likes getting lost – I’m the navigator in my family, and I really prefer to know exactly where I am and where I’m going. In Venice, however, it’s always best to try to get yourself as lost as humanly possible. The worst that can happen is that you need to ask someone how to get back to Piazza San Marco, or the Rialto Bridge, or something familiar and nearby your hotel. It’s an island, after all, so there’s only so lost you can get!
So, my camera and I set off to get lost in Venice. I wandered through San Marco Square and photographed the gondolas lined up next to the Doge’s Palace, bobbing in the thick fog. The cold was biting, and I was surprised at how many people I saw actually riding in Venice gondolas. Of course, I’m always surprised people pay so much for those things, but I digress. I wandered past the Bridge of Sighs and then turn a sharp left down a small alley-way back behind the Doge’s Palace where I didn’t see many people going. That paid off handsomely, just the way Robert Frost taught us it would.
Within thirty seconds of leaving the view of the Bridge of Sighs I was standing in a tiny piazza completely alone. And as I kept walking, I ran across far fewer people than I should have, given how close I was to the Piazza San Marco. Now, I realize it’s February, and there are just far fewer people in the city now than there are in July. But the point I’m trying to make is that anyone who complains about there being no possibility for solitude in Venice isn’t trying hard enough. In the high season you’ll have to walk further than thirty seconds from St. Mark’s Square, sure – but finding peace and quiet in Venice is possible. And if you’re really tired of the crowds, plan a trip in February. Just pack a down coat. And a hat. And some gloves. It’s cold here right now, people.
Photo by: Riccardo Casarico