By: Maxwell Pietrzak
After a week here in Venice, I am still captivated by the beauty of this city. It is unlike any place I have ever been before. The streets are narrow and windy, with some being so tight you can barely walk down them without brushing up against the sides of the buildings. Street signs are a luxury I left back on 242nd, but I don’t really mind at all. There is something about Venice that fosters a sense of adventure in everyone. Even though it is not a big city, there seems to be an endless amount of things to do. From museums, to restaurants, to cultural sites, and shops, there is no way you could ever find yourself bored in Venezia. I aim to explore as much of it as I can during my time here, and truly immerse myself in what it means to be a Venetian.
One thing that is a consistent theme throughout the city is water. In the early morning, it rushes up onto the sidewalks, flooding the streets and splashing up as people walk through the high tide as if it is the most normal thing in the world. During the day the tide recedes, and the gondolas can be seen weaving through the water traffic, bring tourists down the narrow side canals and allowing them to see the city from the most unique vantage point possible. Even though it is cliche, a gondola ride is a must for anyone who goes to Venice. That said, it is not for the faint of heart! If you thought traffic in New York was bad, wait until you’re on the canals. Between the private boats, gondolas, water taxis, police boats, and Vaporettos, the congestion can be worse than rush hour on a Friday afternoon. Even though it can be a bit nerve-racking to almost come in contact with the large boats when you’re sitting in the gondola, so close to the water you can touch it, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was one of the most exciting and picturesque things I have ever had the opportunity to partake in.
I think what I love most about Venice is that it has retained its unique identity despite the continuous modernization of the world around it. The people who live here have been Venetians for decades; they have an overwhelming love for their city and are eager to share their passion for all it has to offer with anyone who comes to visit. Many of the businesses are owned by families who have lived in Venice for generations, and they have incredible knowledge of all the best restaurants to try, shops to visit, and places to explore. Leave the tour books at home; you’ll learn more about what to see chatting with your waiter at lunch than you will from searching “what to see in Venice” on the web. Even though my time here is only halfway over, I already can not wait to one day return to Venice and rediscover all the mystery held in this city on the water.