“Venice, a place once visited, never forgotten. Forever written in memory, like images we capture with our cameras. A place that will leave you spellbound.”
It was the same for us, my partner Martin and me. Our first encounter with this enchanting city was during the famous annual carnival, in the year 2000. We were so captivated by the city’s charm that since then we often thought about going back to relive the romantic memories we shared, and to get to know the city’s unique character better. Our thoughts finally materialised when we decided to give ourselves a trip to Venice as a Christmas present. A few months later, after what seemed like a never-ending wait, we finally boarded the plane and set off to fulfill our dream and to make new memories.
The moment we settled and got a chance to stroll through the familiar places, we felt like in a recurring dream. Slender gondolas moored by the canal sides, floating on the shimmering waves; gesturing gondoliers in stripy tops, and hats with ribbons; small bridges and narrow pavements bursting with tourists; bustling water traffic. It was the first evening that reminded us of the special quality of light that wraps the city in pastel tones of golden yellow, glowing amber, vermilion red and carmine, tender green, turquoise and aquamarine.
Even the rain that accompanied us for next couple of days would not put us off. On the contrary, it enriched the faded colours of the Venetian houses, and brought to life the pavements reflecting the colours of the streets. It brightened up the streets with colourful umbrellas and rain coats. And when it got too wet, we found shelter in a little restaurant, away from the crowds. We spent the whole afternoon enjoying each other’s company, and delicious Italian food and drink.
The carnival was in full swing, so we got a chance to experience the striking spectacle of intricate costumes and masks. We even had a little bit of sunshine after all the rain. The streets suddenly became alive with golds and silvers, precious fabrics and jewels, feathers and unimaginable decorations.
However the intensely crowded areas are not for everybody. We never stayed anywhere near the hustle and bustle for long, no matter how exciting was to watch the street life and photograph the magnificent costumes. We did what we always do. We left the map behind and wandered aimlessly through the labyrinth of narrow alleyways, across little bridges, along peaceful canals. Getting lost among it all and grabbing the moments of solitude was so hopelessly romantic.
Quiet courtyards, old warehouses, magnificent palaces that have long been abandoned. Once opulent merchant houses slowly giving way to decay. Ornamental balconies that might have witnessed a few declarations of love. Silent gondolas lulled by the rippling sound of the waves. Small bridges crossing over glistening canals. Twinkling warm lights of the ornate street lamps during the magical twilight hours. The city waking up in the morning, before its streets are flooded with visitors…
This is the Venice that inspired so many poets and artists. This is the Venice we love and we came back for. This is the Venice that will leave you spellbound…