San Marco

Over the weekend my boss was in Venice, and I wasn't, which obviously upset me greatly. Emotional torment aside, it also reminded me that there are still a few posts left to construct from the last time I visited my fave oasis of wonder and majesty, and today we're kicking those off with a lovely little glimpse of Piazza San Marco. Whenever I'm in ye olde Venezia and holding out for that perfect photo op, San Marco delivers. As the sun sets, rain or shine, there is almost always the perfect level of light over the Grand Canal to create my ideal aesthetic, and I take this as yet another confirmation that the entire city exists solely as a personal gift and favour to me. In fact, during the notorious summer bonanza of 2014 this is where I took one of my favourite photos of all time, which you can see here.

Shallow rationale aside, it's also just a really dang interesting place to wander around. From the basilica where St Mark's body was stashed after those two guys stole it from Egypt, to the campanile that collapsed in 1902 (#embarro but dw they fixed it so it's still there for the gram) and the lions around the side that I've taken photos on at every conceivable phase in my life (barring the awkward phase of '03 - '05, mercifully), there's a whole lot to gander at. There's Caffรจ Florian, where you can pay a billion dollars for a Bellini to sip majestically whilst your waiter chases away the pigeon hordes, and the Palazzo Ducale which is in itself an absolute instagram goldmine of arches and intricate details, and that's without even getting started on the side streets.

The damn side streets, y'all. Some of the most valuable emotional experiences of my life have happened in those alleys (sounds much more shifty than necessary), and they also house a plethora of pizza possibilities. If you duck behind the Twin Lions of Destiny* you'll enter a bit of a maze, but unlike in Harry Potter 4 there are a whole bunch of fantastic places to pop out. Bridges. More bridges. This stationery shop Patrick and I discovered in 2013 that no longer exists and I semi believe may have magically appeared only for us. Even more bridges. And if you walk for long enough, you'll emerge right below the biggest and baddest bridge of all, The Rialto. But that's another adventure entirely. I'm starting to think I need to actually put together a proper Venice guide at some point because frick guys, do I have a lot to say. Maybe a feature length documentary. 600 page book with a mix of illustration and photography and lots of handwritten annotations. Or just some really well-planned blog posts but idk I really like the idea of that book. MOVING ON.

*Not an official title, surprisingly

Another sneaky little sight you can pop in whilst you're in the region is the Bridge of Sighs. The Bridge of Sighs is over one of the dainty lil canals running alongside the palace (Rio di Palazzo if ur pedantic), and is so named because when ye olde people were walking over it to their prison cells they'd sigh "oh dang." In the photos below you can see what it looks like from the Grand Canal side, but if you look into the background you can also see a series of subsequent less morbid bridges, almost all of which are A+ fab photo spots in their own right. You can find these bridges by diving into the alley maze and hoping for the best.

Yes, this is the most obvious tourist location in possibly the entirety of Venice, but it has that reputation for a reason, and (as long as you manage to show up when there aren't a billion other people getting in the way of your beautiful memories) that popularity doesn't make it any less frickin great. I personally like to chill near the execution columns (also not the official name, also bad luck to walk between them but I've been doing that literally my entire life so #ultimateyolo) and watch the empty gondolas bobbing around for a bit. Very soothing. Also photogenic. But really, that view across to San Giorgio and out to the lagoon is one of my favourite things to show anyone I'm taking there for the first time, right behind the view as you leave the train station. They love that shit. Knocks em out every time. Straight up though, think about how much I love Venice, and then think about the collection of people I've taken there over the last few years and just try to imagine one hundredth of the joy that has brought me. I have a sickness.

I could elaborate upon my slightly unnerving eternal love of Venice for the rest of my life, I truly could, but I have a few posts left to write on the subject in the near future so I'm going to cut this one off here and let the pix do the rambling instead. In closing, if you are any sort of tourism or PR representative for this magical dream world, holler at me. We could create something beautiful. I will keep making this priceless content for free, but am gonna need someone to fund the book. x0