Venice, Italy is a difficult city to be a tourist in. Which is funny because the city is full of them. There are so many tourists that that fact alone makes visiting it seem daunting or challenging. The usual advice is to go in the off season and not during one of their big festivals like Carnival (in February). And while that advice is solid there is one more tip I have to offer if this is a city that is on your must-see’s or bucket list.
The one tip I have is understandably hard to do when one is on holiday/vacation. That is to get up early. I don’t mean early, I mean before the sun rises. I mean when it is still dark out. I took someone else’s advice and did so when I visited Venice mid-October. The sun rises at the time of year around 7:30AM. I was out and about at 5:30AM. It wasn’t easy to get up at 4:45AM, shower, eat a granola bar and back my purse up but it WAS worth it. It was one of the most memorable days in Venice because I wasn’t dodging people left and right, fighting pigeons or frequently getting lost (because of the people).
What I saw was wonderful. I saw how Venetians live. I saw St Marque’s getting swept up, the markets getting ready, parents taking their children to school. I was actually seeing the real Venice (sans tourists). The people who make the city run to serve the large number of people who invade it during ‘normal’ hours. You catch people in their moment’s and finding yourself seeing life through their eyes. It is sight that no tour company can provide.
After watching the city wake up as well as the sun, I got a cup of Italian coffee (cappuccino) in the morning and made my way back to the hotel for their breakfast. I didn’t rush through breakfast either. I was able to enjoy it without thinking about where I had to go or planning my day. My day was basically half done. I had seen the best part of Venice – its people living.