Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, pretty much summed up my sentiments about Venice in one sentence: “Venice is beautiful, but like a Bergman movie is beautiful; you can admire it, but you don’t really want to live in it.”
It’s true that Venice is one of the most beautiful, and unique, places that I’ve ever traveled. I’ve never seen anything like it: an entire city built on water just off the coast of Italy’s mainland. All transportation is either by boat or your own two feet.
For a city in a state of permanent decay, it’s absolutely gorgeous. The water is much bluer than I expected, although as you move toward the smaller canals further into the city, it becomes less so. The buildings, all in various states of disrepair, make you feel as if you had been transported back a few centuries.
There isn’t exactly much to do in Venice. We spent a day and a half there, which was the perfect amount of time to absorb the feel of the place. The big draw, I suppose, is the Basilica di San Marco, located in the aptly named Piazza San Marco. This is hands down the most touristy area, but the square itself is pretty impressive.
My favorite part of Venice, however, was getting lost in its winding streets and alleyways. And get lost, we did. It is nearly impossible to find the same way back to one place, because no streets are marked. And many streets are not really even streets- they’re more like little passageways barely wide enough to accommodate three people across.
While it was a wonderful place to visit for a couple of days, and the beautiful sunny weather that we had was a nice break from the rain of Florence, I would not want to live there. I’d take the metro over a water taxi any day.