I was 15 when I travelled to Venice by a hydrofoil from Umago in Istria, where I was on a seaside holiday from my native Serbia. It was a day trip, and the ticket was pre-paid, but it was still a fantastic feeling of freedom.
Previously, I’d only been to a few countries with my parents, but I had not been allowed to travel abroad alone before.So I felt privileged to make this first foreign trip ‘on my own’ in the old way (almost like Argonauts!) aboard a ship (even though mine was much faster than theirs!) and to reach one of the world’s most unique cities, once the ‘Queen of the Seas’, by water, and not overland. Venice is a miracle.
Few other cities remotely resemble it, but none outshine its uniqueness in the beauty of its palaces, the richness of its paintings and sculptures, and the most ornate, bizarre cathedral in four different styles. Equally unique, and bizarre, is the manner of navigating (literally) its locales. Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Bangkok also have an aquatic abundance, but they also have either many more bridges or are not completely built at roughly the same time around the banks of canals. So whilst they are also fascinating, they do not compare to Venice.
All throughout the opulent museums, one is constantly aware of the great painter of Venetian rococo, Giambattista Tiepolo, or in remembrance of the frivolity of his contemporary Giacomo Casanova, once a prisoner in the dungeons of this city. Likewise, Ponte dei Sospiri (or the Bridge of Sighs) is a global trope, as is Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice (also made into a movie by Visconti). On the other hand, because of the Venetian long-term rule over Dalmatia, which, according to the Venetian traveller Fortis was mostly inhabited by Serbs, and because of references to Venice in most important works of Serbian literature, such as Prince Njegoš’s Mountain Wreath and one of the most famous 19th century poems Santa Maria della Salute by Laza Kosti?, the city is of great importance to a visitor from Serbia like myself.
Venice has fine, if somewhat overpriced, food, and – like most of Italy – excellent coffee and good wine. Eventually, it has many important cultural events (biennale, film festival), and the somewhat touristy high point of the season: the Carnival. I planned a visit twice with friends since then and both times events beyond our control prevented our trip. So, while I did return once after my first visit, again for just a brief visit of two days, I know I have to return one more time and be in Venice for five to six days during Carnival.
Interested in accommodation by the Bridge of Sighs for a holiday in Venice?