Memoirs from Venezia, Part 1: Christmas on a Gondola
As most of us look, somewhat gloomily, towards a mediocre post-Christmas period with our homes becoming sparser as decorations are packed away and everything returns to normal, I am sustained by a head full of daydreams, as I recall the time I spent this Christmas in Venice.
I am no stranger to this utterly unique, magical floating city, but no matter how many times I go, I am equally if not increasingly held captive by its enchanting spell. For where else on earth can you find palaces whose golden doorsteps are laced with a layer of green algae; whose magical buildings appear and disappear within veils of mist as mysterious as the masked characters who walk the city’s streets; and where you can spend Christmas day on a gondola.
The jewel of the Adriatic, as photographed on Christmas morning
For with my partner’s mother making our Christmas a family affair, this festive season was going to be special for all sorts of reasons. And first on the to-do list of the day was to toast Christmas and the city from the luxurious comfort of a gondola. Despite its being my fourth visit to the city, I had never before been in one of these iconic vessels, fearing the grossly inflated prices and tourist traps. But when you discover that it is as expensive to remain on land in Venice as it is to embark upon the water, this cheeky half an hour on board one of the world’s most famous boats can be easily justified.
On a gondola for Christmas!
And so as families all over the world toasted the day over a roast turkey, we started ours floating gently over the milky green canals of Venice, gazing in wonder as we passed cracking palaces, rosy-pink street lamps and some of the most beautiful churches ever built. The day continued with indulgent feasting in the Taverna la Fenice, a stroll across the Accademia Bridge to the gentle Dorsoduro district, the purchase of far too many handmade glass santas from the island of Murano, and later prosecco bubbles with homemade Tuscan panettone munched in-between the exchange of presents aplenty.
Magical details, from the water and back on land
It was, in every way, the perfect Christmas day, and the memory I hold with me now as I reticently prepare to leave Christmas behind for another year.
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