It’s hard to even imagine life would be like in Venice after lockdown…
What would the city be like after months of inactivity? Would it feel like authentic Italy again?
Would the canals be clear? Could it really be that empty?
I had been patiently waiting for the travel restrictions to be lifted, so I could cross from Friuli (the region where I live) into the neighboring Veneto region.
To visit my much beloved Venice.
I happen to be one of those people who really LOVES Venice.
A regular day trip for me, it’s one of my favorite places to spend time and do photography.
I love it because you can spend most of your time outside, yet take in some of the most phenomenal architecture in the world. Making it an ideal mix of self-care and travel.
In early June, just two days after the restrictions were lifted, a few friends and I went to find out.
It was my first weekend getaway in months, and it was like being a kid again.
It was liberating to be that excited about travel again!
Life in Venice After Lockdown
If you’ve been here before, you’ll know that I am a passionate advocate for travel as a way to better wellness.
With so many resources at our finger tips these days, planning wellness infused travels has never been easier.
And never more necessary, as we all try to find energy, balance, & sanity in a fast paced world.
My first impression was that it was eerily quiet.
Easy to mindfully take it all in.
St. Mark’s Square
It’s shocking to arrive at St. Mark’s on a Friday and see only a handful of people.
I wonder what the pigeons & seagulls think about having the place to themselves?
The most striking difference of the entire weekend was St. Mark’s Square. Normally bustling, it felt vacant…almost echoing. It was relaxing.
Who would’ve ever imagined this space could be so contemplative.
And it was easier to appreciate the ornate architecture with so few people around.
The Bridge of Sighs
Normally people flock to the famous Bridge of Sighs for selfies.
Instead, the iconic landmark was empty & alone with her thoughts.
An Italian couple remarked that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a photo like this, and they’re probably right.
If you can get to Venice this year, do it!
It’s doubtful there will ever be another opportunity quite like this.
The Rialto Bridge
Being at the Rialto Bridge was absolute serenity.
One of the stillest moments of the weekend was early saturday morning. On my way to a favorite coffee shop, I found myself stopping mid-stride to stare at the empty structure.
And revel in the silence.
No chugging boats, no people, no pigeons.
It was surreal, yet peaceful.
Tucked alongside the Grand Canal, this spot is usually filled to the brim with cafe chairs and people enjoying their aperitivi and cicchetti with a view.
But, not today.
And the colorful reflection in this window would normally be impossible to capture…way too many people.
It’s a mindful opportunity that would have otherwise slipped by.
Saturday evening the bridge got busy with people lazily watching the sun changing the colors of the sky.
Yet, with only about 25 people on the bridge, it was a memorable experience.
Yet, instead of it seeming like a competition for the perfect photo, there was a sense of connection as people were happily conversing & enjoying the moment.
It’s an experience I will never forget.
Saturday morning I explored the Canareggio district.
Full of locals and great restaurants, it’s an ideal place to get lost.
Here you’ll find a more relaxed side of the city, even when Venice is busy.
Locals were going about their morning routine. Drinking coffee, shopping, and chatting away.
I only saw two other people with a camera…imagine that in Venice?
Later, we hop on the waterbus and head out to the islands.
The first stop was Murano, for lunch and some inspirational glass shopping.
We wandered the quiet streets for a bit before we found a canal-side table for lunch, which normally would be a quite a lucky find.
Dining outdoors is an ideal way to experience authentic eating in Italy. So, be sure to put it on the bucket list!
The next stop was Burano. On a sunny day like this, it was glorious to see the colorful houses.
Exploring Burano is a happy experience, especially if you can get there when it’s unpopulated like this.
And if you like photography or mindful travel exploration, it’s the place for you. There’s enough color and texture to keep you focused on the details for hours.
Sunday morning, it’s time to wander the residential Castello district behind St. Mark’s Square.
I pass a only few dozen people in two hours, all locals.
It’s sweet silence and I wonder if I will ever be this way again…
Venice after lockdown is certainly a different place. It has a more local feel and somehow to me it translates to a more authentic wander.
It’s a dream to be able to experience this spaciousness.
It’s the kind of self-care you can never plan, but just allow to unfold when it presents itself.
Mindful Travel in Venice
Maybe the future of travel looks like this…no traffic jams on the Grand Canal! 😉
There has been talk in Italy about this being an opportunity for Venice to reinvent itself.
To return to its heritage and keep the mass tourism at bay.
Perhaps a rebirth of slow travel will emerge, along with a more sustainable tourism sector.
For me, I hope Venice returns to its roots.
An engaging place of art and beauty, that was made to be experienced by the world.
Authentically & mindfully.
Cross your fingers because Venice deserves to be slowly experienced by everyone…
It’s one of a kind.
until the next time…
…live well – travel well – be well
Share, Connect, & Inspire!