A young couple visiting the city built on water stops in at a wine & spirits shop. Grabbing a bottle to share, they are told by the shop owner, “You drink Prosecco, you make love!” The passion-filled Italians encourage bold behavior while the city itself lends to a romantic ambiance by which lovers are sure to be swept away. Welcome to Venezia, the real city of love.
In a land where world-renowned lovers such as Casanova & Romeo existed, you are hard-pressed not to indulge in your amorous side while visiting Italy. The sinking city however (seriously, it’s sinking, so you better visit quick!) knows how to step it up. Take away the noise produced by auto traffic in a typical city & replace it with the soft sounds of a whirring boat or gondola rowing by. Now, add in lush gardens & vines crawling up the sides of architectural beauties or pots of vibrant flowers lining each windowsill. Imagine a nighttime stroll through this urban oasis & watching the city lanterns burn brightly for you. Here is a lover’s list of things to do in the City of Love:
(Do not) add your lock to the lovers bridge.
This tradition’s origins are relatively unknown, but some claim love locks began back in Serbia a hundred years ago. Much more recently though, an Italian novel called Ho Voglia di Te (I Want You) by Federico Moccia where two teens place a lock on a bridge as a symbol of their relationship has inspired this tradition to prosper in Italy. Greg & I attached our pink padlock to the Ponte Dell Accademia (a wooden bridge with special metal railing for the locks) & threw the key over the bridge into the water to show our eternal love for one another. Taking part in this tradition is controversial though. Love locks have shown up all across the world. From Paris to New York and Ireland, bridges all over are covered in this symbolic gesture. Many love locks have caused deterioration and structural damage to famed bridges. The Rialto Bridge in Venice faced this problem & it is now illegal to add a padlock to Venetian bridges. However, the love locks are beautiful street art that you can easily admire & appreciate by reading the names written or engraved. Maybe it’s time we come up with a new (less harmful) tradition for lovers: any suggestions?
Take a gondola ride.
Seriously. Take it. You may think gondola rides are cheesy & a tourist trap, but there is a very good reason this boat ride is admired by so many. Gondolas offer a leisurely tour of Venice, allowing you an up-close-and-personal view of the outstanding architecture & a chance to see some of the inaccessible parts of the city. Expect to pay 80 euros for a gondola ride, which is the standard price for a 40-minute tour (although sometimes you can bargain for lower). A few tips: a ride at sunset is spectacular. If you want your gondolier to act as a tour guide, ask a few to find who seems the most talkative. We preferred a quiet experience for us to enjoy to ourselves. And make sure to ask the gondolier to take you down the side streets rather than the Grand Canal. You will have a less crowded waterway as a result & capture incredible views of the city homes & sites. You can opt to pay extra for a gondolier who will serenade you, but often on the side streets, you’ll round a corner to hear a street musician who seems just as talented playing for you & your lover.
Indulge in one tourist trap: the San Marco Piazza.
Expect crowds of people & pidgeons. This famed square is overrun with both tourists & birds, but for good reason. (Okay, the birds are pushy & a bad result of the tourists, but nonetheless, they are entertaining!) Shops & restaurants line each side leading up to the San Marco Basilica, so sit down for a bottle of bubbly or a cup of coffee with your lover & take in all the madness. Let the lively music reverberate through your bones to give you a pleasant desire to sashay your hips & toast to this one-of-a-kind town. Then, shimmy up to the top of the Clock Tower for a breath-taking view of Venice, the city of love.