Venice in the off-season

There are many ways to visit a city depending on how much time you have available or what you want to see or discover during your stay.

Venice, like all historical cities, offers a lot in terms of museums, historical buildings, spectacular views and ancient places loaded with history.

But there’s also a side of Venice which is a little less visible even to the tourists’ eyes. This is the atmosphere, colours and poignant beauty which awaits those who see Venice at that special time when autumn or winter begins.

It’s a moment far removed from the peak periods when the city seems to be a destination for tourists from all over the world. It’s a time when the city is wrapped in blanket of mist, sometimes quite dense, which seems to want to hide its sites and change your perception of them, enveloping their sounds and lights. Or perhaps there’s a grey sky looming over the city and a dampness pervading the air which goes right down to your bones despite your best attempts to cover up properly.

In these moments, the city appears to me as if she is being herself. She’s like an old lady who has taken off her makeup and, despite showing her years, still reflects an untouched beauty and timeless fascination.

It’s a beauty made of impalpable sensations, of feeling one is in an atmosphere of almost sad melancholy which envelops the city and its people like the fog.

While passers-bys emerge suddenly out of the mist only to quickly disappear, leaving behind the patter of their footsteps, you will find yourself immersed in an unreal world. It seems almost like a dream and as if time stands still. In an instant, we feel transported to a distant past, expecting to see characters of another era wrapped in their mantles and tabards emerging out of the mist with three-cornered hats on their heads and speaking of trading and voyages to the East.

But with the sudden blast of a foghorn from a passing motorboat, we abruptly awaken from the dream. And Venice can also be precisely this: a waking dream for those who still know how to dream and want to.

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