For some reason, I always pictured going for a gondola ride at night, so I was pretty surprised that Venice’s canals were completely still and empty after sunset. Perhaps that was because we visited in the off-season, but when we asked the man at our hotel’s front desk when he would suggest we hire a gondola, he looked puzzled. “During the day… otherwise you won’t see anything…” A fair point, given that the canals appear to be a black pit of darkness after nightfall.
The real Venice looks exactly like the Venice of the movies, but there’s a definite ‘wow factor’ that comes with seeing the building-lined maze of canals with your own eyes. Peering out the window of the water bus from the airport, I was fascinated by how the buildings sit directly in the water, often with their doorways opening straight into the canals for boat access. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. If you’re going to visit, I recommend taking your trip in the ‘off-season’ like we did. Yes, San Marco square flooded while we were there, but that was something to witness in and of itself. And yes, it was a bit chilly, highs in the 50s, with 24 hours of our trip plagued by rain. But I greatly prefer that to the sweaty and smelly tourist-filled experience that I’ve heard comes with a summer visit. Besides, Venice looks magical in every kind of weather. Am I right or am I right?