The poet Joseph Brodsky described Venice in the winter as “part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers” and who can resist a description like that?
I arrived in Venice on a Friday at midnight. It was so cold that I could see my breath, and big, fat snowflakes were falling thickly. I stepped off the vaporetto, the waterbus that had taken me from the airport to the centre of the city via the main waterway, and immediately got lost. By the time I found my hotel, I was wet, cold, and in love with the city.
Venice in the winter is quiet and cold. You can hear the sound of your footsteps in the stone alleyways and hear the gondoliers call out to each other. There are a handful of tourists posing for pictures with the city’s thousands of pigeons and little girls playing soccer near Maddalena Church. In a square near the Rialto Bridge, bottles of prosecco are opened at 11 am and lunch seems to last all day. Light darkens and day slips into night, unobserved.