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A Taste of Venetian Life

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 are all unforgettable. Sit for an hour, and the shifting sun paints a completely different picture; one canal can be a thousand different colors and hues within a day. The passing parade too is fascinating; you see boats of every sort passing by; apart from the occasional gondola, these are mostly the boats that are the backbone of Venice—the boats that deliver the groceries, collect the garbage, and clean the canals.

It is great during the day, but it is even better 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, or even gondola; the only way is to 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 savoring 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 of 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.

View of Giudecca Island and San Giorgio at dawnVenice at dawn
The Old Post Office in Venice

We stayed at the Old Venetian post office this summer and loved it. The Rialto Bridge (see photo below)  was just a five minute walk away. Check out the hotel here.

Quiet Canal in Venice

A canal in one of the many quiet corners of Venice. You'll find many canals like this in the Cannaregio section (view article) of Venice and the Castello section too.

Rialto Bridge
The sad gondolier in Venice Italy

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.

Flower Boxes along Venetian Canal
Morning light Venice

The soft early morning light of a summer's morning in Venice.

Sempione Restaurant Venice

A gondola passes the Sempione Restaurant. A window table here offers an unforgettable view, but you'll not forget the very poor service and high prices in a hurry either.  Avoid, is my suggestion. The restaurants I recommend are these.

Sempione Restaurant, VeniceSempione Restaurant - by Modesta Tonan

Another view of the Sempione Restaurant. Just remember, don't bother to eat here.

Empty Gondola

Waiting for the first passengers.

prow of a gondola
Gondola from Above

The most romantic trip of their lives! Right up there in the Italian Bucket List Top 10 (view entire list here).

Early morning view of  Venice

The best time to be out and about in Venice during the summer is really early. This photo was taken at around 7 a.m. in July. The light at that time was simply gorgeous, and few tourists were around.  It's great to be able to see Venetian life get under way, watching boats delivering to shops, street cleaners in action, and 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 got 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.

Boats in Venice

All parking spaces are occupied. Getting to find a parking spot in Venice is getting harder and harder, and traffic seems to get worse each and every year.

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!

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More Travel Tips:

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