Venice Grand Canal

You either love it or hate it but you cannot come back from Venice unaffected. That’s that.

Whether it’s the recent Clooney wedding photographs or reading the badly summarized version of Merchant of Venice in grade 8, Venice has struck many fancies. Rightfully so, as it is a place like no other, therefore the responsibility of being a unique destination comes with great responsibility and Venice lives up to the reputation of being matchless.

I am a Venice lover and here is my sum of what makes this place a must experience.

As I set foot in the city (got there by train from Florence) with 4 suitcases, a stroller and a 3 year old I knew I should have travelled light. Getting on a taxi boat and getting across gazillion bridges and steps was even hard for the husband with all his power packed biceps. Yes, Venice will surprise you with its ups and downs (literally) so pack light even if it’s fun hearing the hubby huff puff and cringe on why you never listen to him.

Outside the Venice Train Station

(Note: the hotel buildings are very small in the centre with no elevators)

Venice is magical. A vast labyrinth of streets leading to nowhere, aged buildings wrapped in the mysticism of time, houses that have been occupied by generations and know deep dark secrets of rulers, lovers, poets, politicians, shops that sell art hot off the canvas of a connoisseur.

Venice is music, violins, small tea shops, St. Marcos square and pigeons, hundreds of pigeons. A stroll around Venice can be therapeutic for those who love it.

Amna Niazi Venice

One thing is for sure, no matter what an ace navigator you are, you will get lost as you find your way to your hotel. All the streets look the same, all the bridges look the same, all the shops look the same, so either u leave a trail of bread crumbs as you stroll around, or get gps (I got lost even on that)

Venetian cuisine is strongly based on seafood, so eat just the variety of fish the city offers. Ask a local about his favorite restaurant, it will be worth a meal.

Venice at night is a huge concert. Cafes with live music and violins in the main square make for an excellent time under the stars. Eating, drinking, smoking, friends, lovers, and families everyone comes to the square after sun down just to take a piece of the magic.

(Strolling around alone after dark in a deserted Venice is not for the faint hearted as I would not pass off the possibility of ghosts or serial killers, yes it really is that dramatic)

If it rains there is not much shelter to be found around the city. I suggest getting drenched, but an umbrella can be a good option.

Again, chuck those heels, unless your name is Amal. It’s completely unadvisable to experience the twists and turns in your favorite loubs, and unlike our very own Lahore no one cares what you are wearing.

(Unless you plan on seeing the Opera, then you need one formal dress. Oh, and the Opera is highly recommended)

The gondola ride can be a bit boring for the 80 Euros but it’s a must waste of money, absolutely must waste. Do not think of skipping the 30 minutes of floating aimlessly under any circumstances. If you can sing, feel free to do so on top of thy lungs and you will get applauded.

Amna Niazi Gondola Ride

Venice is small, tiny actually and can be a bit monotonous for a longer trip. Keep your stay short, sweet and crisp. Once you visit Venice, whether you love it or hate it, my bet is you will never forget it. You may leave the place but it won’t leave you for a long long time. Do yourself a favor, add the 2 days in your itinerary, because just like love, Venice happens only once.

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Written by Amna Niazi
Managing Editor, SiddySays.