When it’s cold this time of year you start planning your escape to a warmer climate. I’ve been busy looking over my photos from Venice in March 2009. Venice had just about dried out from the annual floods so luckily it wasn’t too busy. We stayed on the Lido, a separate island that plays host to the Venice Film Festival. We came across a jetty adorned with a faded red carpet, left to the elements since the previous year, ready to be restored to its full glory when the beautiful people arrived. This sense of abandonment was apparent around the whole Lido, which allowed us to make the most of the empty beaches before the start of the summer season.
It was quite novel travelling around on the water by Vaporetto, except on the Lido where there were plenty of bicycles and the odd Fiat 500! We ventured onto Venice itself being greeted by Piazza San Marco as we stepped off the boat. We got some great views from the Campanile and went for tour inside the Basilica. The part Simon was most excited about were the famous cafes of St Mark’s Square, Caffe Florian and Caffe Quadri. Despite the high prices I have to say they didn’t disappoint. After some lovely hot chocolate and biscuits we set off to get lost around the alleyways and canals of Venice.
It was a trip we really enjoyed, from the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal, to the solemn and peaceful San Michele (cemetery island). There were some disappointments, such as adverts and billboards around the Bridge of Sighs. One thing we discovered, in a haze of tourism and advertising, is that venetian charm and grandeur still exists in abundance. Slipping through narrow passageways like a scene from Casino Royale, to imagining sipping coffee with Lord Byron and Charles Dickens in an 18th century cafe. All you have to do is give in to the romance of the place.