I have always envisaged Venice as the most feminine city – perhaps because the city floats on water, perhaps because hundreds of canals move in and out through the city giving an image of a beautiful beguiling woman or perhaps because the city has often been called a jewel city. Standing on one of Venice’s bridges in the evening when the lights from the buildings make fascinating reflections in the water and one murmurs goodbye to the last gondola which silently passes by, it is then when the impact of being transported to this fantasy world where time seems to stop, where one can’t differentiate between the past and the present or even dream and reality seems to strike; what one knows is that the city is drugging us by its cadence of charm.
Although Rome tourism might boast of a greater line-up of things to visit and do, Venice tourism matches up to it with its fashionable charm and intriguing city structure.
On a holiday in Venice, one starts with the magnificent piazza San Marco first from where you can catch a three-in-one glimpse of St Mark’s Basilica (reminiscent of the country’s ties with Byzantium), Doge’s Palace (a former political hotspot) and Torre dell’ Orologio (Venice Clock Tower). One can sit down at Europe’s oldest café, the Florian on the Market Square, listening to a cellist. Or one can wander to where the gondolas are tied; ebony colored and shiny and rocking on the green-blue water of the lagoon, pompous but with unsurpassed elegance. The afternoon end can be spent on a satisfying gondola ride accompanied with gelato ice cream from Boutique del Gelato, a perfect way to end the evening.
The dazzling theatre of the city is showcased at Gallerie dell Accademia, Scuola Grande di San Rucco and Teatro de Fenice but this is not all. The art scene visit is incomplete without a taste of the backstage experience. The crammed calli (streets) to San Marco are brimming with all kinds of behind-the-scenes creativity that keeps the art scene of the city afloat: it is here that the artisans are sweating at work in their tiny studios and the Venetian chefs are whipping out hot plates of cicheti. Many of the small plazas that lie in front of one of the hundreds of ornate churches offer outstandingly good morsels of food – Venetian delicacies like Fegato alla Veneziana are very enticing.
Venice tourism guarantees that a visitor is going to go around all the islands. Vaporettos (water buses) constantly make trips to the cemetery island of Isola di San Michele – and to Murano where glassblowers create extremely delicate artifacts or to Burano – where the houses are painted in spectacular colors. Or one can take a trip to the Lido with its sophisticated colors that is a hotspot for painters and film directors. Then there is the charming degenerate Venice, particularly during carnival; carnival was rekindled in the 1970s and has held its space since then as a third season; Carnevale is the world’s largest masked ball and one can pick up carnival paraphernalia before going there.
Answering the dilemma faced by tourists to choose either Rome or Venice, Rome tourism will excite if you are interested in history, monuments and a full-plate trip but if you want to spend quality time just relaxing on the banks of Venice canals and watching time sway past, you know the place to choose.