Ahmed and I have an inside joke that romance in Venice will only cost you 10 euros. This covers the cost of a single red rose, being serenaded whilst eating dinner and listening to a street violin performer at midnight against the magnificent back drop of the Grand Canal and Pizza San Marco.
It only took me twelve years to get to Venice. I started dreaming of walking beside the canals in 2004. It was the winter of experimental film and my bohemian love affair of all things Sienna Miller after she graced the cover of British Vogue and spoke of Bellini’s at Harry’s Café. Thus began an obsession with white peach puree and the thought of twinkling lights at midnight in Italy’s resplendent sinking city.
Romance in Venice comes easy. There’s something in the air there that elevates even the smallest of gestures into something more remarkable, into something you’ll remember for many years to come. We had a perfect day, the kind of day one expects to have if they happen to possess a bottle of Felix Felicis to spike their Bellini with.
During the day we took sanctuary from by-the-book tourists on Venice’s islands Murano and Mazzorbo. There’s plethora of places to grab a picturesque lunch of cicchetti without the endless babble of tourists. It’s important to take time to stroll through Venissa’s vineyards, perhaps pausing to take a ridiculous selfie by the 14th century bell tower.
By late afternoon we were back to Venice and wandering through the Jewish Ghetto. The walls have so much character and there’s a lagoon like stillness in the ghetto at this time, you don’t get lost here, you get lulled instead. Wandering down those winding alleyways hand-in-hand we felt as though we were the only people in the world.
Next we walk for a while until we see somewhere by the water to grab a drink. This is where Ahmed buys a rose and becomes the endearing butt of our joke. After this we took a short walk to a Rialto Bridge just in time to see the sun go down and the city lights come up on Venice.
By the time we reach Piazza San Marco it’s night. Street vendors shoot coloured spirals in the sky, bands play in rounds and some of the babble has died down. For dinner we wonder a good twenty minutes in an obscure direction in search of something pretty but overlooked by tourists. We find something in an alleyway by the canal and an accordion player sings to us about amore.
After dinner there’s enough time to people watch in Piazza San Marco, right next to it’s stunning entrance and then we luck out with a violin player by the Grand Canal as we wait for our water ferry to the train station. On the way home we hold each other because we have come to learn that in Venice fairytales and magic do exist.