But it’s etched deep in my memory….
‘You’re going to Venice when?’, stuttered my sister, ‘but it’ll be cold and flooded and awful’. I’d read an article in a travel magazine that said winter was the time to see Venice at its moody best. Michela, our host, echoed this sentiment and told me – ‘this is Venice of the Venetians, my favourite time’. Not having to share Venice with the majority of the twenty million tourists who flock to see her each year appealed; for that we could put up with cold weather. Sure, this is the time when the mists roll in from the lagoon, and water rises through the paving stones, but there can be sharp clear days when the Alps are visible across the lagoon, and sunsets turn the sky into an artist’s palette of pinks and mauves.
And there are other bonuses to a stay over Christmas – nativity scenes and free concerts in churches, midnight mass at St. Marks, and steaming vin brulee ladled from barrels on street stalls, smelling of spice. We wanted to settle for a while, wander deserted foggy streets, and just take our time. We wondered if our budget could stretch to being in Venice for a month, but we decided to give it go.