Luxury Travel Blog + Venice

Lost in Venice
Looking north on Grand Canal, Venice by A. Labayen
Gripping the straps of my rucksack, I scanned the scene at stazione Santa Lucia in Venice for my husband. He was nowhere to be found.

“Signora, who are you looking for?” a sketchy Italian approached, while showing me his book of dodgy rooms for rent. The cigarette on his lips tipped up and down as he spoke, throwing ashes aimlessly onto the ground.

“I’m waiting for my husband,” I replied cautiously.

“O-la-la, this is just typical man. Signora, he does not want to be found. Ever. He has left you! Tsk, tsk, so sad you have lost your love in the most romantic city.” He sauntered off with a malicious wink and a diabolical laugh. What kind of disaster did I get myself into again?

Found him by the Campanile, Venice by J. Laceda
I had managed to separate myself from my napping husband by prematurely disembarking the train at Mestre - the station right before Venice - two-and-a-quarter miles across the lagoon. Could you blame a girl for being wildly excited at a whiff of the sea? But after two hours of ill-fated crossings and missed sightings, I was finally reunited with him on track A at Santa Lucia. My panic melted away at the sight of my love's face, but little did I know that this was a prelude to the wonderfully chaotic world of La Serenissima -- the most serene city.

Cathedral of San Marco, Venice by A. Labayen
Forged on the stalwart idea of a people fleeing barbarian carnage in the mainland, Venice was built on a shallow lagoon in the midst of the Adriatic sea. From the 9th to the 17th centuries, the city slowly became one of the most powerful maritime trading posts, rivalling Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi in bringing riches from the East. Dwellings fashioned in palettes of oranges, pinks, and ochres sprouted along the waterways to form what we now have come to appreciate as La Serenissima. A visitor cruising past her grand, old buildings will soon discover architecture from her Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque past.

Oranges, Pinks, and Ochres, Venice by J. Laceda

Grand Renaissance colonnade at Piazza San Marco, Venice by J. Laceda

Gran Caffe Quadri at Piazza San Marco, Venice by J. Laceda

Venetian pomp at Piazza San Marco, Venice by A. Labayen
But Venice's boon is her bane as well. Because of the city's superlative reputation, Venice accommodates a maddening crowd through the high tourist season - from April to October - all looking for that quintessential experience. And nothing screams more "Venice" than those gondolas. While it can't get any more cliché than a ride on one, this has also proven to be an efficient choice for negotiating around twisting canals and touring secret little passages. These sleek, black vessels ply the murky waters of this labyrinthine city with utmost ease, but at 50 Euros per half hour (last time I was there), it is not exactly the cheapest.

Secret water passages, Venice by A. Labayen

Gondolas plying the waters, Venice by A. Labayen
When you're not on a gondola, chances are, you are walking one of the 118 islands. Ripping your way through throngs of sightseers can be a formidable undertaking, as maps have proven to be futile subjects for navigating the city. We have witnessed many head-scratching instances (including our own) from foreigners who have attempted to conquer her winding streets with a piece of paper. Yet despite the maelstrom that descends upon Venice time and again, her beauty always manages to shine through. So, take a chance with Venice ( sans map is de rigueur). In losing yourself on maze-like streets, yes, you will be panicked. Yes, your heart will be pounding. Yes, it will be chaos in the most serene city. But you, too, will find plenty to love. Touché.

At the Rialto, Venice by J. Laceda

Walking the city and crossing bridges, Venice by J. Laceda

Bridge of Sighs, Venice by A. Labayen
*Some photos were taken by my talented brother-in-law and creative head of Edit Collective, Mr. Alexander "Brigs" Labayen. Thanks for your passion on all things Italian.

architecture, bars, Beauty, bridges, cheap ways, fashion, Italy, romantic, train, travel, trip, and more:

Lost in Venice + Venice