|St. Mark's Square under an indigo sky at night|
Venice at night is a different creature than the one you'll encounter in broad daylight. While the sun is high in the sky, people are on a mission to squeeze in all there is to see. For many of the tourists, they only have a few hours in this glorious city. Hordes of people queue up at the entrances of St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and the Campanile. Tour guides lead their people through St. Mark's square from one sight to another while waving their tiny flags in the air.
As the sun starts to go down, the historical buildings close their doors, and the daytrippers take their leave. The mood changes. People start to relax and slow down. There's time to explore at your leisure instead of checking things off the To See List. Time to get lost. Time to just stop and watch.
|Everyone has time to watch a World Cup game while standing in the walkway -- |
except for the lady at the bottom left in blue. She's window shopping.
I didn't think it was possible, but Venice became even more enchanting. The sky starts turning a deep indigo color. The lights come on and highlight little alcoves along the waterways.
|Gondola rides cost more at night, but I think it's worth it for the extra romance.|
(I wouldn't know though since hubby and I had the 3 kids along.)
While I didn't "take time to smell the roses" during the daylight hours, I eased up enough to take time to stare in store windows as the day started coming to an end. I really wished I could have bought a little something to bring home -- even a piece of marzipan -- but our luggage was stuffed with items to get us through our across-the-world move.
|Don't be alarmed by the fish near the fruit. It's all made of marzipan.|
Music wafted through the air as we took a postprandial stroll into St. Mark's Square. A few hours earlier, I would have walked right by the musicians, intent upon having enough time in St. Mark's Basilica or the Doge's Palace. But now, I stopped in front of them and took it all in, letting the melody wash over me.
|A five piece combo entertains outside Gran Caffe Ristorante Quadri|
In the center of the square, a rowdy group of revelers were whooping it up and having a good time. They hooked arms and danced around. They lined up across from each other, joining hands up in the air to make a tunnel and took turns running through, allowing other tourists to join in the fun. And, oh yeah, they were dressed like pirates and sheikhs. It wasn't quite the masked elegance of Carnival, but it was still amusing to watch.
|The rowdy revelers pause for a group photo.|
Streetlights glowed across the front of the Doge's Palace, and the crowd was a small fraction of what it had been earlier in the day.
|The front of the Doge's Palace at night.|
If you're imagining my children politely following me around equally enraptured by this grand city at night, then you don't know them very well. As soon as I decided to spend the night in Venice proper, I started plotting the best way to make them cooperate. The key is gelato.
|Gelato is a good bribe.|
The night drew to a close, and we walked back to our Venetian apartment overlooking a canal and San Giorgio de Greci church. The little alleyways and bridges were quiet. In one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, we seemed to have this city all to ourselves. That's the magic that happens when night falls on Venice.
|View of San Giorgio dei Greci church from our apartment window at twilight.|
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