The first week in Venice has been nothing short of amazing. Despite the jet lag, there has been so much to do and learn about in this beautiful city on the water. I can finally say that I have somewhat oriented myself and know my way around. “This is the corner where Madi tied her shoe. This is where we got lost looking for gelato. This is where I bought the bracelet for my mom.”
Getting lost has never been so delightful; no street or corner is the same. The city has so much character with so much to be discovered. Venice the Incognito: hidden gems amongst the “tourist-y” crowds has begun the sort of game we have been playing while exploring the city to uncover the secrets and history that it beholds. You begin to realize how much of Venice is overlooked… the tourists come on their cruise ships, buy a souvenir from a vendor in front of St. Mark’s Basilica and leave. I have been absolutely astounded that other people aren’t raving over the complexity and beauty of the city. From getting lost and ending up in front of La Fenice (which has burned down twice and rebuilt: “com’era e dov’era), to trying to find Nutella gelato and ending up at the Rialto bridge, trying to find a place to eat and realizing you have just crossed the Accademia bridge.
Venice stands for so much: individuality exemplified through the vast architectural details and roads, integrity shown through the hundred year old buildings that have never been remodeled, and freedom of expression as seen on the island of Burano with technicolor buildings and graffiti all over every wall.
The goal coming to Venice was and still is to look past the facade that is the tourism epidemic of Venice and look for the “gemme nascoste” to understand the complexity of this city that contains so much history.