For me - resident of the city surrounded by sea from three sides - Venice was like a breath of fresh air. I was all smiles when my train slid onto the bridge at the city entrance and the wide water area opened to my eyes. And the view from Campanile on St. Mark's Square was absolutely breath-taking! I wish we had had more days in Venice to explore the islands, even just for the sake of traveling by sea. Combination of blue skies and blue water is my favorite recipe for a light and serene state of mind. And the ocean breeze smells like freedom...
But the humidity! After the dry heat of Tuscany the Venetian air felt like being in a sauna steam room.
It certainly made it harder to bear midday temperatures as well as to shelter from the heat (whereas in Rome a light wind or a cloud was enough to make the weather rather comfortable). But - to my surprise - I couldn't feel any unpleasant smell I'd heard of. The canals didn't stink at all. Were they supposed to in some other time of the year? Anyway, it was quite a relief not to be bothered with any extra smells considering the sultriness around.
Innumerable bridges, tangle of narrow streets, houses magically rising from the water, antique-looking gondolas - Venice is a precious place without doubt. And a very romantic one - easy for two hearts to get lost in its corners together :) But I was in Venice with my mother (which I would certainly never complain about) so my adventures were not too adventurous this time.
We left our luggage at a small cosy B&B and took a waterbus from the train station to St Mark's Square. Traveling along the Grand Canal was amazing - every building noteworthy and I was looking forward to every bend of the canal as it promised only more aesthetic joy. And I can still feel my childish delight at entering the Lagoon with all its islands and the vast water space manifesting once again: Life is a Miracle. Doge's Palace and the square opened to our view shortly after and here we were, landing right into the thick crowd of multinational travelers, stirring, buzzing, working in one team with the heat to wear you out before noon. At that point even my love for people failed me and I felt a great longing for solitude. But the sightseeing had only begun and since I was going to enjoy it I moved my attention from few annoying factors to the beauty around me. And what a beauty it was - Basilica di San Marco is everything a fairytale could think up - delicate, dreamlike, festive and elegant.
Piazza San Marco
Gondola - symbol of Venice
I won't describe all the wonders of Venice here as the story has been told many times before and the old truth is still true - seeing is believing. Also I haven't spent enough time there to discover even half of them. But I'd like to mention the Scuola Grande di San Rocco which is an incredible collection of Tintoretto's painting. And the adjacent Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is able to raise the impression to the highest point of delight. At least it managed to in my case (maybe not a big-time critic though).
The second day was devoted to Verona. We had a small argue over that as my mom had been recommended to go to Padua and I had stuck to the idea of seeing the Shakespeare's inspiration place.
My confidence tipped the scales and we went to Verona though the dispute had left me doubting my choice inside and I am still not sure we shouldn't have gone to the islands or Padua instead. The town is quite nice, yes, but disappointing if you bring any big expectations with you (which I am trying hard not to do but my imagination works on its own). Verona was holding the annual opera festival in those days and my mind was taken away with a dream to listen to Carmen or Aida in the ancient Roman amphitheater under the starry sky... But alas - our night train tickets left us no choice and my mom's friend was waiting for us in Vienna so my dream remained unfulfilled. Juliet's house was disclosed by my guidebook to have nothing in common with the original heroes of the play (which was no shock as everything relating to Romeo and Juliet is under suspicion from the real fate of two lovers to the authorship of the story) so our visit to it was just observing the formality but I really liked all those sweet declarations of love on the walls outside.
Roman Amphitheater in Verona
Falling in love is incredible indeed and I hope my heart will never lose this amazing ability to delight and suffer as if for the first time ever ;)
Love, Love, Love
What can I say concluding the Italian part of my story? I've spent 10 wonderful days in this land and I am grateful to its hospitality and friendliness. I feel really lucky to have been able to travel there, to see, to hear, to touch and to feel, and without any doubts I will come back to explore more. Anyone considering a trip to Italy - no hesitation, you will love it! :) And I will be happy to help with any tips within my humble competence!