I think Venice took me by surprise. Italy is so poeticized, and I knew Venice would be stunning, but I didn’t expect to be wowed as much as I was by its distinctive history. Which is wrong of me to expect so little out of such an ancient and historically rich city, I know, and reflecting on it now it’s actually both comical and embarrassing how little Italian and Venetian history I learned prior. It’s something going forward I know I’ll accommodate for beforehand– it usually makes the experience within the city that much more immersive and enjoyable. 

What I loved in Venice was taking tight alleys off the crowded paths and getting lost, genuinely turned around, within the ancient homes and buildings. The city stands quite willing to encompass you as soon as you’re ready to be whisked away from all the touristically popular locations, and within its inner walls is an absolutely understated solitude. You find yourself enveloped in peace not readily expected– a lovely quiet that is interrupted only by your own footsteps. Sheets and women’s floral dresses billow gently from lines out of high windows while flowerpots hang under window sills, accessorizing the flaking, charming walls. It’s the sincerest form of tranquility and it’ll last as long as you welcome the experience of being lost. The silent streets, even after you rejoin the beaten path, hold their silent integrity and wait patiently for you to come back.

It wasn’t until we took a late afternoon tour of the history of Venice that I really began grasping and enjoying Venice’s historical depth. This is also where we were recommended by our angel of a tour guide what we should be eating in Venice and where.

Ombra homemade house wine flows like honey here in Venice, bianco (white) personally preferred, and is to be paired with cicheti, small snacks unique to the bars of Venice. Cicheti are served in Bacari bars, which are typically really tight spaces with its customers spilling onto the street, relaxing on sidewalks and bridged walkways to eat and drink.  If you’re like me you’re not going to completely know what you’re ordering initially, but you’re going to trust whatever’s coming is fresh and regionally exclusive and indulgent– cicheti proved to be every single time.

Ciao for now, Venice!