I don't want to write about the canals, bridges and walkways of the incredible, beautiful city (although I could for days!), and instead I want to share my experience of Venice that was completely different from the normal tourist experience. We did the canals, the cathedrals and the squares as well, and loved them, but we particularly enjoyed getting away from the main thoroughfares and finding a little piece of Venice all to ourselves.
Our own private cruise of the lagoon islands
The canal tours are definitely worth it, but with Venice getting more and more crowded every year, I would recommend trying a different kind of tour. It's fairly easy to find a local boat owner who runs tours to the lagoons and vineyards that surround the actual city, and the vast open waters that hide marshes, forests and huge reed beds dotted around the 550 square kilometre enclosed sea. There are more than 60 islands (including Venice City), and I chose one particular island due to the fact that it housed a centuries old vineyard where I had organised a wine tasting session. We had amazing views out over the lagoon, and also were able to have a private tour of the wine making factory areas which was fascinating.
This vineyard on the island of San Erasmo was secluded, completely empty of tourists (apart from me and my partner) and we were able to enjoy a pure, serene and blissful afternoon to go along with the day of cruising the lagoon.
The chap who guided us on the tour was even nice enough (or crazy enough) to let me take the boat back into Venice proper and didn't blink or flinch when I passed by expensive boats, tourist barges and medieval buildings with inches to spare... If you can manage to find an experience in Venice that is a little more unique and not so crowded, it will definitely allow you to see the charm and romance of this city!
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