We step out into the early morning sunlight, and are greeted by an invigorating and brisk whip of fresh air. The streets are still and quiet.
As we hurry along, we are accompanied only by the early morning chatter of the birds, the gentle whirring of a boat passing through the canal to make bread deliveries to local bakeries, and the gentle creaking of wooden shutters being pushed open for the day.
The sun warms our faces as we weave our way through the tiny maze of streets. We crisscross over bridges, through alleyways, and make what feels like an endless amount of right turns. But then, as if from out of nowhere, we practically fall into the Piazza San Marco.
Our arrival disrupts the sea of pigeons that are swarming the Piazza in search of a little leftover piece of bread or cracker from dinner service the night before. The birds immediately scatter in a million different directions, and my slightly-terrified-of-birds self tenses up, and I grip Ryan’s arm just a little bit tighter. But as the birds settle down, I am able to take a deep breath, and we both look up and admire what is before us, the Basilica San Marco.
It’s early in the morning, but really, not so early. And yet here we are, practically the only people standing in this giant space, blessed with the opportunity to take it all in. There are no tour groups, no lines, no dueling orchestras, and no salesmen trying to con us into buying one of those “Venetian” striped t-shirts or Gondolier hats. It is just us, and the gentle cooing of those damn pigeons.
It’s in these quiet moments that we are able to truly appreciate what lie before us. The work, the craftsmanship, and the dedication that went into building this floating city is beyond what we can even begin to imagine.
Before technology, before the internet. . .hell, before there was even a thought about the telephone. . .someone had a dream. . .someone had a vision. And it was something so beautiful and so powerful that generations of people built and developed, and tiled and painted; and nothing could get in the way of what they knew Venice could be.
And what they left us with is this. . .Venice. Truly a magical city. In the quiet, it almost feels like a delicate little jewelry box, opening up and giving you glimpses of its most prized treasures. It’s a city like none other. One best explored without a plan. And one best explored with the sole purpose of getting lost. Because really, you are never lost in Venice.
So go to Venice, and wander to your heart’s content. Follow your passion. Follow the beauty, the intrigue and the mystery. Allow the city to transport you back to a different time. Don’t worry about the people, the tour lines or even the cruise ships crunching their way into port. When you are here, that is all just background noise to what is really happening. . .a beautiful life. A life that was built by visionaries, hoping that someday you would come to explore, to wander and to dream, just as they once had. And that is the magic of Venice.
Our relaxing and cozy stay at Il Giardino di Giulia was generously provided for us by its very kind bed and breakfast owner, Marco. However, no compensation was received in exchange for my writing. But truly, I cannot recommend Marco’s property enough. He himself is a wonderful host, and the property was the perfect little Venetian escape.