I had some visitors in town recently, and though their trip was over by the time I posted How to Order an Italian Coffee and How to Avoid a Pickpocket and those posts were no help to them, I was lucky enough to be able to join them on the weekend in Venice and do a minimum of “tour-guiding” if I could.
We stayed in a hotel right near St. Mark’s square, which was surprisingly quiet, and one morning before breakfast while my friends were still getting ready, I went for a walk. It wasn’t quite as early morning as Early Morning in Spoleto, but it was early enough to enjoy an almost-empty St. Mark’s square.
If you haven’t been to Venice or St. Mark’s square (San Marco), let me tell you what’s missing from this picture: waiters wading in and out of the chairs set up in front of their restaurants, people trying to see the menu before committing to sitting down, a few carts selling “pigeon food” (corn) in bags, people sitting/standing/crouching amongst thousands of pigeons trying to coax them into eating out of their hands, on top of their heads, or on their arms; accomplishing this and then realizing it’s very disgusting so they start squealing and/or crying, tourists lining every imaginable surface that can be leaned on/sat on/crouched under for refuge from the heat, hundreds of people in line to enter St. Mark’s, numerous carts selling tasteful Carnevale hats, paper fans, and snow globes, tourist groups winding through the crowd following a red umbrella held by the group leader, and several digital photographers ready to make your memory in Venice come alive now!
So yes, this is a welcome sight.
Of course there were still lots of pigeons.
I love the columns that surround St. Mark’s square, and I also think the Doge’s Palace’s columns are beautiful as well.
I could have sat in one of those empty chairs for quite some time. Che pace!
I was tempted to go and get a coffee in one of the near-empty bars on the square, but as I was trying to travel light, I had only my camera and my cell phone. Marocchino, how much I yearned for you in that moment!
If you get up this early, you might also be able to witness another rarity. Carabinieri giving directions!
On the way back to the hotel, there was already someone sitting amongst the pigeons.
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Roam To Rome says
Wow, it must have been REALLY early for it to be this empty… I used to live 15 minutes from Venice when I studied in Padova four years ago and I did get to see St. Mark’s square this way but usually in winter, not in July!
Hmm… I wonder if the stronger Euro has made a decline in tourism.
That last photo would make a great postcard… with a nice catchy caption to it, of course! lol
I’ve never seen Venice that empty. And probably never will, being that my husband refuses to go to that “tourist” place. Oh well….there goes the gondola scene aka Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”
BTW, regarding your comment on the carrot gelato, my husband asked the same thing!! But no, I think it doesn’t. I’d like to get Bugs’ opinion though. ;-)
Wow! That is a RARE sight! How beautiful…I must remember to get up early next time I visit!
Where did you stay in Venice?
nyc/caribbean ragazza says
Wow, great photos. I love getting up super early to walk. It was on of my favorite things to do in Rome.
I don’t get the whole pigeon thing. They are not the most clean animals.
I awoke to your post and now am lovesick for Venezia. I wish I was looking at those sights instead of Los Angeles traffic outside my front door; count your blessings. Yes, early mornings are magical times – almost everywhere. Oh, and I think that is the first time I’ve seen the Basilica without scaffolding! Thank you for my five minute vacation.
Have you ever been to Sardinia? My wife and I are wanting to go next year as well as Italy. Want to go to places that my Dad was stationed at during WWII, and sample some of the great food and add new sections to our Destination guide.
Ms. Adventures in Italy says
@Roam to Rome – It was pretty early, and I can assure you there were TONS of tourists there, too much for my taste. The Euro hasn’t hurt anyone but the Italians, really. :)
@rowena – girl’s trip? I will gladly show you around for trip #11.
I need to get up earlier and do walks like this more often. How peaceful!
@Carl – I have been to Sardegna, it’s very beautiful.
“Carabinieri giving directions!”
I’ve gotten directions from them before (in Venice, even) . . . and the directions got me even more lost. ;)