St Marks Piazza, the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs and the many other well known sights of Venice are gorgeous. Yet for me, gorgeous as they are, it is the smaller canals and the lesser known parts of Venice that bring me the greatest joy.
Nothing much can beat sitting quietly alongside a tiny canal, where tourists seldom venture. I can spend hours in places like this, watching authentic Venetian life play out in front of my eyes.
The sounds, the beauty of the canals themselves, the play of light off them and the surrounding crumbling walls, it is all unforgettable. Sit an hour and the shifting sun paints a completely different picture; one canal can be a thousand different colors and hues within a day.
Even better is to do this at night, very late at night when Venice is asleep. Wander alongside canals where lamps cast a golden light through the mist and the whispers of the ghosts of a thousand years can almost be heard on the breeze.
How sad it is then that most of the millions of visitors never discover this magical Venice. If you are visiting Venice don't make that mistake.
You'll never discover the real Venice by water bus, taxi nor even gondola; the only way is too walk. Wander away from the tourists, venture down those lanes barely wide enough for two people to pass and don't worry if you are hopelessly lost in the maze that is Venice. In fact celebrate because you are now getting to the heart and soul of Venice and savour it while you can.
Too soon you'll find your way back to the main thoroughfares and the dreamlike world will be but a memory.
Hopefully the photos on this page will set you dreaming Venetian dreams and planning your visit. If you feel a desperate need to book you can do that here and if you enjoy the photos please click the Like button below.
Could this be the sad Gondolier Luigi? Legend has it that Luigi's heart was broken decades ago and he can find no happiness - except when he sings. Then his spirit soars and all who hear his lovely lament feel the tears well up.
The soft early morning light of a summer's morning in Venice.
A Gondola passes the Sempione Restaurant. A window table here offers an unforgettable view but you'll want to forget the very poor sevice and high prices. The restaurants I recommend are these.
Another view of the Sempione Restaurant. Just remember don't bother to eat here.
Waiting for the first passengers.
The most romantic trip of their lives! Right up there in the Italian Bucket List Top 10 (view entire list here).
The best time to be out and about in Venice during the summer is really early. This photo was taken at around 7am in July. The light at that time is simply gorgeous and few tourists are around. It's great to be able to see Venetian life get under way, watching boats delivering to shops, street cleaners in action and the market stalls laying out their wares. Even garbage collection is fascinating in Venice...see below.
Ever wondered how they collect the garbage in Venice without garbage trucks? The video shows you how. We've a very sad story of how the real back story of Venice captured the heart of an elderly gentleman from the USA and how it was that he desired to return before he could no longer. You can read the story here.
All parking spaces occupied. Getting to find a parking spot in Venice is getting harder and harder and traffic seems to get worse each and every year...sigh!
A delightful little shop called the Casin dei Nobili which is featured on my Venetian masks page.
You only ever discover these sort of shops when you venture away from San Marco (St. Marks Square) and the Rialto Bridge area. Our shopping in Venice guide has lots of these fascinating little stores... just waiting for you!