To plan the Italy portion of our trip, we leaned on the recommendations of our friend Stephanie who had lived here for many years. Her endorsement of Venice was unqualified, “Venice is the only place I’ve ever been that can’t be captured in photographs. The Greek islands are beautiful, but they basically look like the photographs. Being in Venice is an experience.”
I decided to take her comment as a challenge. Over our 10 days in Venice, I set out to capture the essence of the place in photos.
Of course, the first thing people think of when they hear ‘Venice’ are the canals. They’re not overrated. There are no wheeled vehicles on these islands, not even bicycles, and that reality lays the foundation for a truly unique setting.
At night the bridges are even more charming, and the streetlights flicker in the water.
The shops that line the narrow streets are as much a part of Venice as anything else. You can’t talk about the essence of this place without mentioning affordable Italian leather handbags.
Or elaborate masquerade items.
There are scores of fine dining establishments, but if we’re talking about the essence of the Venice, it’s the piles of baguettes in street windows that come to mind first. Though the spaghetti with clams, at pretty much any restaurant, is incredible as well.
We loved how the narrow and angular streets open into irregularly shaped squares with very little warning.
The grandest square is around St. Mark’s Basilica.
And the Byzantine style, gold leafed interior speaks to the opulence of this place like nothing else.
Great art is also woven into the essence of Venice. The consistency of the quality and the shear scale of the canvasses surpasses anything we’ve seen in or outside of Europe. See how tiny Elizabeth looks at the bottom of this photo?
Of course, you can’t talk about capturing Venice without at least one photo of a winged lion. Coolest city mascot ever!
The view from this bridge down the street from our hotel became my favorite view in the city. I love how the streetlight also serves as a lighthouse.
Now, I know I’ve failed miserably in my attempt to capture the essence of Venice. But I think it was worth a shot. We loved our time here, and it’s in the running for our favorite place of the trip. Spending time here truly is an experience. Still its essence remains elusive. In photos Venice will always be a place shrouded by fog on the other side of a grand canal.