Getting lost in Venice is one of the greatest joys this life has to offer.  While Saint Mark’s Square is undoubtedly incredible, and anyone visiting Venice should absolutely spend some time there, make sure to leave enough time to wander.

Meander down any lane leading away from San Marco and take several turns.  Cannaregio and Dorsoduro are two lovely areas to explore.  I always like to turn away from the crowds.  Eventually your little lane might dead end into the canals, a brick wall, or a charming courtyard.  That’s ok, just find another.

At some point, you will have the feeling that you no longer have any idea where you are, how you got there, or how to get back to your hotel.  When that feeling hits, you’re on the right track.  Grab a gelato and vai avanti!

As you wander, the real Venice emerges and charming details of Venetians’ everyday life become evident.

Down a quiet canal a gondolier sings faintly in the distance, fresh laundry drapes over lines and hangs above the canals, flowers cascade down beautiful balconies, and the family vehicle, a little boat, is tied up outside.

If you have the time and money, find a gondolier you like and ask him to take you on a ride through the quiet canals.  You will see shells that have become part of the building facades and gates that function as Venetian garages.

The scenery will take your breath away as you glide through the canals, under tiny bridges, and among Venetian homes.

A good gondolier will show you historic sites such as the home of Marco Polo, or the factory where gondolas are still produced today.  Many are terribly funny as well.  I once had a gondolier who told us about his training when he was a little boy and that he had fallen in several times!

Long known as “La Serenissima”, Venice still offers these charming, peaceful moments, views of indescribable beauty, and conversations with passionate, friendly people.  Escape the crowds and discover the Venice that will haunt your memory and your dreams forever.  Buon Viaggio!

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Lindsay Sinko
Passion for Italy Travel, USA