Article by Rachel Sandall
Originally published in B Wedding Magazine/WeddingsOnline.ie
It appears that every square foot of Venice’s watery streets and Byzantine architecture was built with the honeymooning couple in mind. From the sounds of the orchestra on Piazza San Marco to the orange sunset that brings calm over the entire city, if you can get over the two to one ratio of pigeons to people, Venice is the ideal honeymoon location.
Venice cannot help but be romantic, despite valiant efforts to try and not be. Millions of tourists flood Venice each year, during high season it can feel more like an Italian amusement park, with smells you can only assume are not good for your health, or stomach. But just as you begin to get venomously irritated with the hour late boat bus, loud middle-aged American tourists and the cat calling gondolier, you round the corner and find a deserted alley so narrow you can touch both sides of the wall, so silent all you can hear is your footsteps and so beautiful, you wonder if you wandered onto a post card photo shoot. The brilliance of Venice is its innate ability to surpass all odds and make the visitor feel as if the city cleared out just for them.
Photo by Kristatomic
Venice feels and looks different than Rome or Florence. The city was the trade capital between Western Europe and the Islamic and Byzantine Empires because of its ideal location on the Adriatic Sea, giving it wealth and power as a city state. The eastern influence is evident in the architecture, separating it from the classic Roman design you find in most other Italian cities. In the thirteenth century Venice was the most powerful city in Europe, with people from the eastern and western world fighting to out-do each other by building immaculate palaces, churches and towers. Venice eventually lost most of its power, but the reminisce of prosperity has never left it.
Piazza San Marco has been the social centre of Venetian life since the 9th century, and was famously called the ‘drawing room of Europe’ by Napoleon. You, 5,000 pigeons and 3,000 other tourists can enjoy the piazza from one the cafes that spills onto the square, you may pay three times what you would elsewhere for a doppio espresso, but the view is one of the best in Italy.
The Byzantine style St. Marks Basilica sits at the top of the piazza, proudly flaunting Venice’s former power and wealth with gold mosaics and the claimed remains of St. Mark. The gothic style Doge’s Palace is connected to the church, and faces the Venetian Canal. This is where the parade of chief magistrates of Venice lived for hundreds of years. A tour of the palace gives a complete yet brief glimpse of Venetian history. The grandeur of the piazza is finished off by the clock tower and bell tower with the classically designed Procuratie stretching to fill in the gaps, and breathtaking views of the Venetian Canal.
Photo by Jerry Law
If there was such thing as a classy and posh love boat, it would have to be a Venetian gondola; the Ferrari’s of row boats, kitted out with a personal gondolier, wine and occasionally cup holders. Gondolas have been a tradition in Venice since the canals were built, and are undeniably one of the most romantic experiences on the planet. You cannot have the most romantic hour of your life without a price, however, and if you choose to take the gondola it will be around $130 an hour, but is sure to be one of the defining moments of your trip.
Even though you have to share Venice with 14 million other tourists and there is a remarkably high rat population, you are safe in choosing it as a honeymoon. It is the perfect combination of accessible romance, intellectual sites and amazing food, it cannot help but be romantic…it just is.