It’s February, which means it’s almost that time of the year again: carnival. When it comes to carnival in Europe, there is no better place to celebrate than Venice.
Venice, a unique city with an Italian charm, a true gem in Northern Italy. It’s not just one of the most beautiful places in Italy, it’s also one of the most romantic places. I could say more, I think it’s one of the most romantic places on the planet. It’s such a shame that this wonderful place tends to disappear due to the rising water level. Can you imagine Italy without Venice? I most certainly cannot. So what should you do? Book that ticket, grab your partner, and be prepared to spend all day walking hand in hand along the canals. Oh, and if you’re alone like me (or the best you could do are your parents or a friend), don’t worry, you could always hold some ice cream in your hand (or in Italian – gelato – hmm, I love that word).
I’ve been to Venice several times during carnival. It’s the best time of the year to visit this beautiful city. However, it’s also one of the busiest times of the year. People are constantly pushing you away to take a decent picture. But hey, if you want one yourself, be prepared to start pushing back.
When it comes to activities in the evening, I always wanted to go to a masquerade ball. It reminds me of how life used to be during previous centuries. You need 4 things to attend a masquerade ball: a mask (check), a costume/dress (check), a dance partner (hmm, this might be a problem), a lot of money (OK, change the subject).
Let’s say that I have spent most evenings strolling along the canals of Venice. You could say that every canal looks the exact same way. Truth is, every corner leads you to a different place. Every place has its unique charm. I recommend to go out there. Explore every corner. The worst that could happen is getting lost. Getting lost in Venice, would that be so bad? Really? I don’t think so.
The best way to explore Venice is to act like a local. Get away from the crowds and explore the real city. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to act like a tourist sometimes. Here are some sights you can’t miss:
- The Rialto Bridge
This is the most famous bridge in Venice, which leads over the Canal Grande. Don’t just cross this bridge but take some time to stand still and let the view sink in. Don’t forget to take a picture because it looks like a postcard.
- Bridge of sighs
This bridge connects the palace of the Doges with the prison cells across the canal. The origin of the name comes from the idea that prisoners would sigh whilst taking a last look at beautiful Venice before they were taken to their cells. According to a local legend, lovers will be granted eternal love if they kiss on a gondola at sunset, under the bridge, as the bells of St. Mark’s Campanile toll. Worth a try?
- Piazza San Marco
This is the most famous public square. It’s famous for its many pigeons. This square has some really nice terraces, but only if you are willing to pay a little more for an ordinary drink. Tip: caffè Florian is the place to be for coffee addicts. It’s an exclusive place so I would recommend to pay attention to the price before you go all the way. Anyway, the interior design is stunning. However, if you’re just looking for coffee, I would recommend to go to one of the local cafes. It will save you a lot of money.
When it comes to getting around in Venice, try a gondola. It’s not cheap but it will be worth it. I remember wandering through the city when my friend and I ran into a gondolier. He wanted a picture together and I had to wear his hat. Suddenly, he lifted me up. I wasn’t expecting that. Result: my face looks horrified in that picture. Besides, that guy was close to 6’7” and I, with my 5’8”, felt like a midget. Moments like that are truly unforgettable.
Tip: buy a mask as a souvenir. They are so beautiful and it’s hard to decide which one to pick. Also, don’t buy one at the first shop you run into. Wait a couple days to compare prices. You’ll see, it’s not hard to find one for a decent price. I bought two of them, only 5 euros and 8 euros.
Are you excited to visit during carnival? Hurry up!
Carnival 2017: February 11 – February 28