This post is part of the ‘Go with Oh’ series. I choose to use their writing prompts to kick off this blog because their goal is so in line with my own constant travel mission: to experience local life at a grass-roots level. As I sift through past experiences in some of Europe’s greatest cities to put together my own European bucket list, I’m uncovering much about I’ve changed as a traveller and a person over the years.
As far as Italian cities go, Venice is dear to my heart, but we have a funny relationship.
During university, I received a fellowship to study traditional Venetian carnival costumes and the workshop and couture designers that create them. Through several trips to the city, however, I learned that this art, like almost everything local and authentic about Venice is dying off and being pushed out by tourist enterprises.
While I love the city—its mysteries and the way you can go from packed plaza to lonely ally in seconds—it has its seasons. Here are five ways I’d love to experience the city:
1. Watch a Master Maskmaker at Work
Though my research unfortunately didn’t extend toward the uniquely Venetian art of maskmaking, I have made several informal forays around the city to see who has the real deal. As I usually visit on a day trip from Florence, there’s never enough time to stop and watch the plaster dry. I don’t know that classes in this art specifically exist, but I would be happy to just get an invite to watch a master do his thing.
2. Stay Overnight in Venice
This sounds a little crazy, but yes, I did do an entire fellowship researching Venetian carnival costumes while commuting to the city. But I’ve caught the absolute last train enough times to know how absolutely seductive the city is at night. Really. It’s less Serenissima and more siren-issima. I can’t wait to stay past 8pm when you really have the city to yourself.
3. Visit Venice in Winter—And Stay Somewhere Warm
The issue of being warm in winter is hard to handle in many parts of Europe where stone apartment buildings essentially function as low-cost refrigeration units. Venice is at its best in the winter, but few who visit are at their best in the bone-chilling humid cold. I’ve visiting in January and just lived barely through it, but I’ve heard stories (I mean . . . read in Conde Nast Traveller) about how glorious Venice’s winters are, and I want to experience the glowing warmth and glamour for myself.
4. Attend a Venetian Gala
Like its Austrian-cousin, Venice’s festive-season balls are still alive and kicking, no matter how much they seem a remnant of another time. As an outsider, however, gaining entre into such affairs is basically never going to happen unless you name happens to be Angelina or Scarlett. But I will continue scheming . . .
5. Take a Food Tour of Venice’s Artisanal Producers
My favourite cheese in the entire world—Piave—comes only from the Venice area. Living in Florence, I never saw it until walking down Venice’s grand main drag on frigid Carnival afternoon. I know that in those unnavigable alleys other delicious singularities must also wait to be discovered.
‘Go with Oh’ is offering one lucky blogger 4 weeks of free apartment rentals in 4 of their 10 European locations, but you don’t have to be a blogger to cash in on their generocity.