Not exactly the experience that’s displayed in all of the guide books.
Gone are the bright blue, glossy skies, replaced with dark grey clouds and driving rain.
Nevertheless, even in the pouring rain, the city is just as enchanting as you expect it to be. Stepping out of St Lucia station, you’re greeted with the buzz of the city as everyday life takes place. The Grand Canal is just steps away from the station and you truly feel right in the heart of it. It’s hard to imagine that Venice is somewhere people live day in, day out, all year round as it’s just so different to any other city. Instead of the incessant honking of horns that greet you in some cities, it’s the buzz and hum of boat engines. Outside each of the buildings, instead of driveways with cars, there are little platforms and walkways with space for a little boat. The streets are narrow, cobbled and lined with buildings that if they were anywhere else, could possibly be described as a ‘little bit run down’, but in Venice, they just fit and add to the fairy-tale feel that the city has. Gorgeous colours of light orange, browns and pinks cover each wall. Most buildings have intricate balconies and grand window surroundings. It’s difficult to walk anywhere quickly because upon every turn, across every little bridge, in each piazza there’s so much to take in.
If ever there was a city made for wandering, it’s got to be Venice. It feels like you couldn’t make a wrong turn. Upon every corner, there’s something so beautiful to see. A gorgeous building, intricate little bridge or church sitting quietly in a deserted piazza. It’s a different Venice to the one in the guide books – you can wander past schools, along little residential streets and past cute patisseries and be the only people around. Granted, locals probably don’t venture out to wander in the pouring rain.
To experience the Venice that is well known, follow the signs on the sides of buildings to Piazza S.Marco or Rialto. This leads you to the iconic sites of Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica and the San Marco Campanile in the Piazza. The sites are stunning. Even in the driving rain the area is so atmospheric. Just watch out for the deceptively deep puddles! Following the signs for Rialto takes you to the Rialto Bridge. While at the moment, the bridge sadly looks like a giant billboard due to being covered in scaffolding and a massive advert while repairs are made. Nevertheless, it’s still fun to walk over and see all of the little shops that line the inside of the bridge.
While October is Venice’s rainiest month, it has the advantage of being wonderfully quiet and peaceful in parts. The main areas are still busy but it’s so easy to slip away, down one of the pretty alleyways to experience the Venice you want.
Top 5 things to experience in Venice:
- Just wander – simply pick a direction and head off to explore
- Visit a patisserie for coffee and cake – keep away from the main tourist areas and you can find some beautiful little cake shops that won’t break the bank
- San Marco’s Campanile – while a little pricey for what it is (€8 pp) – take the lift to the top for stunning views over the entire city
- Visit Piazza San Marco – the sight of Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Grand Canal is truly special
- Potter along the shopping streets for local goods – gorgeous leather handbags and Murano glass are the specialities here
I travelled from Camping Bella Italia, Lake Garda to Venice – trains leave Peschiera del Garda Station (10mins walk from the centre of the town) fairly frequently and take around 1hr 15mins. Tickets must be booked in advance and cost between €9 – €23 each way, depending on how far in advance you book. This can be done at the station, even just the day before you wish to travel.