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Romance and Masquerade: Venice During Valentine's Day and the Carnevale

There have already been written a few Location-articles on Venice but this one concentrates on the romance of Venice during the Carnival. When I was in this beautiful city in the Adriatic Sea I absolutely fell in love with it and I am sure you will too, so give it a try!

Photo by gregor-muller

Venice is, after Paris, one of the most romantic places in Europe. So for next Valentine’s Day, you should consider planning a short (or even better, long) trip to this city. Venice is built on 18 islands, The different „Sestieri“ of the city are connected with 444 (or so it is told, apparently no one counted) bridges over approximately 175 canales (all in all, a length of 38 km), the biggest being the Canale Grande. Three bridges span over the Canale Grande and connects the two parts of the city, the most famous is Ponte Rialto. For me, there are just too many romantic spots in Venice to list them all, I suggest you find out for yourself, you will surely find your own quiet spot far away from all the tourists where you can take the most romantic pictures.

I will give you two tips though:
On the western side just off Ponte Rialto is a small piazza with a market that opens onto the Canale Grande. Sit a while on the pier and enjoy the view over the Canale, the bigger and smaller boats and all the Palazzi on the opposite side. It’s especially nice in the nighttime!
The second spot is on Dorsoduro, the southern part of the main island, right at the end, close to Santa Maria d. Salute. From there you can have a nice time over the Canale Grande towards Piazzetta San Marco with the Campanile.

You can give those two spots a try or just look for your own favorite place!

The carnival: This tradition was rediscovered and reintroduced only recently after being forgotten for a long time. Some say, the tradition of the Carvenale started around the year 1000, but a fact is that the carnival was not just one festival but held for a long time (in past centuries, up to five months) where normal life came to a stop and everyone would wear a mask and just generally go crazy. Now the carnival stretches over two weeks with special events everyday. But the closer the end of the festive season comes, the more craziness happens. But there are also more tourists in the city of course. Also, Valentine’s Day falls into the season of the carnival, so it is the perfect time to have a romantic holiday. Don’t miss out on the selection of the best costumes every evening at the great stage on Piazza San Marco. There will be modern costumes like the Teletubbies, pirates, and the Smurfs alongside historical costumes, but all of them are worth seeing!

Whether you go with your sweetheart for a romantic holiday; with your parents to look at all the museums and churches; or alone to steal a snog from a masked stranger, don’t forget your favorite camera and a generous supply of film! You will have a great time, get mesmerized by this impossible city and come back with a lot of happy memories and romantic, magical pictures.

Some quick tips:
Come prepared! Although a lot of shops sell 35mm film, they are heavily overpriced, you will pay from 4euros upwards for just one roll, better stock up at home.
Pack drinks and food! There are only a few supermarkets on the islands and they are quite hidden between the canals and little streets. There are of course a lot of pizzerias and snack bars but they are also heavily overpriced.
Leave the tourist-routes! They are packed with people and you will be unlikely to see anything interesting. Try out different ways and don’t be scared to enter even the smallest alleys. They often lead to hidden piazzas or a nice view of the small canals.
There is something for everyone! Whether you are interested in art, architecture, music, naval history, archeology, eating or just taking pictures, Venice has something for everyone!
Wear comfortable shoes! Even though it looks small on the map, Venice is a big city and you have to cover a lot of distance on cobblestones, funny steps and wet slabs of stone. Leave the high-heels, after all you are a tourist.
Time your visit well! It is up to you what you consider the best time to visit this beautiful city. But it is a bit gray in winter and full of tourists in the summer. Oh and did I mention the smell? Yes, it really is bad, especially at the end of the summer. Personally, I think spring is the best time for visiting.

written by gregor-muller

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.