Venice is quite an interesting place! Small canals run through the city, with small bridges stretching across the water for pedestrians. The Grand Canal, Venice’s most important waterway, runs in an S-shape throughout the city nearly splitting it in two. The streets can be so narrow, that, at times, you have to walk single-file in each direction. Additionally, there are no cars or scooters anywhere. The mode of transportation throughout the city is by boat or on foot. We even took a boat from the airport to Piazza San Marco, and then walked about five minutes to our hotel, which had two entrances: a water entrance and a walking entrance! Overall, we took this opportunity to relax, unwind, and explore at our leisure. We thought Venice would be the perfect place to spend New Year’s Eve.
Taking our Time
Jon and I had no agenda other than to walk around to each of the six different sections of the city and to have a blast spending New Year’s Eve in Venice. Though we have been here four times, our New Years trip was our first time here. At the time there was no Google Maps to help us out with directions! We relied solely on a paper map to help us navigate the streets (the horror)! It was fun wandering the city with no real plan and seeing where each path would take us. We quickly learned that there is always something new to find in Venice!
We walked through the different streets, alleys, and piazzas, passing gondolas, boats, and many glass and mask shops along the way. Oh, the shopping! I’m not a big shopper, but even I couldn’t resist going into some of these beautiful shops to buy gifts and souvenirs.
We also rode in a gondola through the small canals, passing hotels and old buildings, and going under the cute bridges. Our gondolier was excellent and talked about the historical significance of buildings that we were passing, legends about the bridges we were going under, and general information about the city.
Naturally, we indulged in a ton of food and wine, too…
No trip is complete for us until we see a city’s Jewish area. In Venice it is called the Jewish Quarter, located in the section of Cannaregio. We enjoyed seeing a mix of Hebrew and Italian on the buildings. While here, we saw the Holocaust Memorial, which was very moving. In addition, we went into a glass shop where they had a plethora of Jewish goods. We decided to buy a lovely glass mezuzah that they personalized with our last name.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations!
For New Year’s Eve, we had made reservations at a restaurant that offered a seven-course meal for the night. Seven courses! Four hours and two bottles of wine later, we made our way to Piazza San Marco, where a large crowd had formed, a concert was taking place, and people were dancing. It was crowded, but not scary crowded as we had plenty of room to get out if we needed to!
We soon settled ourselves among the diverse crowd and waited for the countdown. Dieci, nove, otto, sette, sei, cinque, quattro, tre, due, uno, Buon Anno! It was fun counting down in another language in another country and it was interesting to see that New Year’s traditions around the world are pretty similar.
We made our way towards the Grand Canal where a beautiful fireworks display was lighting up the sky. We couldn’t help but think how lucky we were to be spending New Year’s Eve in Venice.
More Adventures to Come…
We spent the rest of our time checking out the different walkways and getting lost in the maze of narrow streets and bridges. It was different and refreshing to have no plan and to just wing it. We also knew that at some point in life we would be back with friends or family so we didn’t feel a need to do more. Spending New Years in Venice was special and a trip that we will always remember!