Florence is a little jewel box of a city, small, with winding streets and elaborate frescoes, lively sculptures and glowing piazzas, richly adorned churches and cool fountains. It seems almost inherently romantic, suited to mornings spent on long walks to gaze together over distant views, or midnight strolls with your arms wrapped around each other, bound for some private room in a faded palace.
…where we lay our scene.
Verona is a luminous little jewel of a city, with its Roman amphitheatre, byzantine gilding and Shakespearean echoes. I only spent a day there, and I’m not sure I’d spend more, but there was something inherently charming about its winding streets and golden light. Even lovelier than its streets are its balconies, windows and doorways, which are cool, peaceful, and as romantic as any story.
Venice is possessed of so surreal a beauty that the visitor feels inclined to ramble, lost and rapturous, through its winding streets from early morning until well after dark. But it is only when you pause, on a bridge, a street corner, church steps, or some other place not meant for stopping, that you truly absorb the atmosphere of the place. These moments are for enjoying the pale grey morning light, the languid heat of the afternoon, or the glint of the sunset on a gilded palazzo. These are times to lie down on a cool marble floor to better see the antique fresco on an ancient ceiling, or to listen to the sound of water lapping against stone.
Two young lovers, not long acquainted, meet in Venice. They spend the day exploring winding streets and dark chapels. They linger on bridges and recline on the floors of empty palaces to gaze up at intricate frescos. They get lost, they don’t say much, they share a lingering glance as the sun sets over the Grand Canal.
One morning in Venice, unable to sleep, a friend and I ventured out of our garden onto our little street to watch the city wake up. Barefoot and still in our nightgowns, we were so entranced by the beauty of the early morning light and the silence of the place, which was completely empty of people and felt all our own, that we ventured into our square. From there we kept walking, all the way to the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, where we watched the sun rise over the lagoon.
When in Venice, it’s worth taking a day to venture out into the Lagoon. The busy island of Murano is known for its blown glass, and the quiet island of Torcello houses the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, known for its 11th century Byzantine Mosaics. But my personal favorite is the colourful isle of Burano, a brightly-painted former fishing village. On a warm day, enjoy a lunch of frito misto, and then buy a gelato and wander the vibrant streets.