“If you read a lot, nothing is as great as you’ve imagined. Venice is — Venice is better.” -Fran Lebowitz
We planned to spend eleven days touring Italy—nine, actually, since two of the eleven days would be spent in transit. I wanted to maximize every minute of every hour of those nine days, which meant prioritizing what we would see and do. I sought the counsel of friends who had either visited or resided in Italy, cataloging and considering their opinions and “must see” recommendations. Surprisingly, none gave me an enthusiastic endorsement of Venice. I admit that I have long harbored romantic notions about the “City of Water” and, therefore, chose to go with my gut, ignore their lackluster responses, and put Venice at the top of my list. The only regret I have regarding that decision is allowing a mere two days for our Venice stay. From the moment we stepped onto the waterfront veranda outside the train station, we were entranced by the vestiges of grandeur and beauty on all sides–regal palazzos, intricately designed bridges, exquisitely crafted gondolas. Venice is indeed better…better than I had been told, better than I had imagined. Simply put, just better.