Gondolas, St. Mark's Square, at pre-dawn blue hour. Serenity.

Venezia at Dawn

Gondolas, St. Mark's Square, at pre-dawn blue hour. Serenity.
Gondolas, St. Mark’s Square, at pre-dawn blue hour. Serenity.

For all the bustling and bursting at the seams that Venice experiences throughout the hot and muggy day and long into the warm yet pleasant nights way past midnight, it is the silent spiritual mornings that stir your soul. With over 22 million visitors a year, the number surges to more than 80,000 visitors a day in July and August per year, it is hard to find serenity in the city.

But the best kept secret for finding solace in Venice (or for that matter, anywhere in Italy), is to be the early bird and beat the snooze-infused vacationers. Being a night owl myself, it was very very hard to get up to the alarm at 4.30 am, especially if you have tired yourself out till midnight last night, but it was well worth it.

With not a soul in sight, not a single one of those 80,000 visitors, I had the city to myself. At daybreak, a few locals started mulling around with their day jobs (cleaners, garbage collectors, cafe owners) and a smattering of tourists hurried about with their luggage in a rush to catch their morning trains or flights.

As the sun came up and reflected on the white facade of Santa Maria della Salute, morning joggers and wedding and fashion photographers scurried about with their entourages trying to capture the golden light – one such photographer stopped me and gave his opinions about getting up earlier in the morning to capture the city.

By about 8 am, locals and tourists were filing into San Marco square from every direction, packing every inch of available cobbled real estate, and the tranquility was convincingly depleted, waiting for the next dawn.

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