Venice can be exasperating. It's crowded, it's confusing, you get lost, did I say crowded? Would you like to see the quiet side of Venice? I have a secret to share with you.
Get up early on a Sunday morning. Like 6:30 in the morning early and head straight to the Piazza San Marco. The piazza will be yours. You can swing your arms wide Mary Tyler Moore style and breath in the byzantine glory of Basillica San Marco and the calming symmetry of the the Procuratie Vecchie. Find a bench on the canal and watch the gondoliers sweeping the submerged steps of slippery green algae. Gaze at the misty fall sky turning from a flat gray to a soft shade of blue. Wander sort of aimlessly in the empty calle with only the resident dog walkers until you happen upon the Bacino Orseolo where a multitude of gondolas are moored. Listen to the stripy shirted gondoliers banter in sing-songy Venetian dialect.
Eat breakfast at the elegant Cafe Florian. Sit in on velvet banquets in mirrored wood paneled rooms and have white coated waiters bring you steaming cups of cappuccino, minty hot chocolate and buttery flaky croissants. Watch the orchestra members arrive and tune their instruments and straighten their tuxedo ties.
After breakfast the weekend crowds have woken up and are spilling into the piazza and it is time for us to head back to Rome.
Piazza San Marco