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Discover the Magic of Venice at Night

Aug 17, 2007
A sea fog drifting in from the Adriatic gave an almost surreal atmosphere as we strolled through Piazza San Marco {St Mark's Square}. It was just after midnight and the square was almost deserted. My wife and I enjoyed the free music from tired musicians playing before the last of the outdoor diners, before walking to the edge of the main shipping canal.

Street lamps gave off an eery, misty halo and apart from the gentle sound of water lapping the sides of parked gondolas, it was silent. As we peered into the gloom, we watched the ghostly silhouette of a large cruise ship gliding cautiously through the mist. The mournful cry of its foghorn occasionally broke the silence. We said nothing. Just drinking in the scene. A moment in time we would never forget.

Earlier in the evening, we had left our hotel to explore the almost deserted streets, looking for small family run restaurants frequented by the locals. We became hopeless lost as we wandered the narrow back streets. Our discovery however made it worthwhile. We dined in a tiny family trattoria and enjoyed freshly cooked Venetian food with Venetians. The friendly locals laughed as we tried to communicate with our hopelessly inadequate Italian. A few too many glasses of red added to their mirth! To cap the evening off, we were escorted back to our hotel! Another memorable moment.

Look for centrally located hotels to make your stay much easier. You will also find you see much more. Just walking home in the evening after dinner can be the best experience of your holiday. The memorable moment. And without the cost of a taxi [in this case vaporetto and taxi] backwards and forwards to a hotel farther out.

We chose the Orion hotel, a comfortable family run business providing budget accommodation and located just a few minute's walk from St Mark's Square. The sheer convenience of being close to the center of the city could not be beaten.

Venice is easily accessible by rail. We used a Eurailpass purchased from Eurail and traveled on the high speed Eurostar Italia from Milan. Eurail offers a number of travel options, including a 3 country selectpass for travel in France, Italy and Switzerland. If you are a first time traveler to Venice, it is worth noting that the Santa Lucia rail terminus is on the mainland and the centre of Venice is on an island. There are no motor vehicles in Venice. Walk through the main entrance to the Grand Canal and select the vaporetto or water bus that stops closest to your hotel. Numbers 1 and 34 take you down the Grand Canal to St Mark's Square. Number 2, which is the faster, limited stop service, takes you to St Mark's and Lido following the Giudecca Canal route.

Best of all, enjoy the intoxicating sights and sounds of this beautiful Italian city as you cruise along the serpent like Grand Canal, past countless gondolas and under the Rialto Bridge, finally stopping at St Mark's Square. More than 200 palaces face each other across this glorious liquid boulevard. As writer Truman Capote once observed: "Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs at one go."
About the Author
Graeme Lanham is a senior travel writer and author of "Your Life Fitness", a new book covering all aspects of travel health. It is considered a "must read" for all health conscious travelers.
Visit http://www.yourlifefitness.com and receive 2 special FREE bonuses.
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