We all know the stereotypes. Venice is the ideal getaway for couples old and young, strolling beside canals, kissing in gondolas and other activities on boats (re-watch Casanova and you’ll get it.)
Shock on me when I found myself alone there for a week one June. This was never a plan of mine. I had a loosely-arranged Euro-trip for a month which I wasn’t sure would even allow me any time in Italy at all, but when it came down to booking flights the cheapest one into Europe from Johannesburg was to Venice Marco Polo and so it was done. (Money-saving travel hack, especially when you travel solo which can get expensive. Stay flexible!).
So there I was. Here’s 3 reasons it was awesome.
1. Believe it or not, there are actually people in Venice not on their honeymoon.
So many interesting people live or pass through the city and are fascinating to talk to. Let’s face it: when you travel with your significant other or even with friends, you’re more than likely to leave a place without having had any real interaction with locals or at least met some new people. The glass artisans in Murano, a few vaporetto operators and one policewoman were some personal favorites for random, hilarious conversation.
2. Couchsurfing. For those of you unaware of this, it’s an online platform where people host travellers in their homes for free, as well as posting events or just making plans to meet up and chill if you don’t stay with them. My mates Domenico, Jane and Jacopo took me out to watch the football, party at the casino, ride bikes and argue about art over home-cooked pasta. I was hosted in a local’s home for half of my time in Venice, which is a lot easier to find when you’re a single person.
3. Me-time is amazing and Venice’s art and dining culture is a perfect backdrop for it.
It’s hard to convince people who could never go out and eat alone to try it but me, my book and my pizza had some great times soaking up the summer air. Sometimes a waiter or waitress even gave me a little extra in my glass – they might have felt sorry for me or been glad I was having a good time alone, I’m not sure. I also got in the habit of drawing at least one sketch a day which is an awesome way to appreciate the details of a new place.
Venice certainly has a romantic air to it and will probably always be a place to cuddle up with that special person, but if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, don’t skip it just because you’re on a solo mission. Trust me 😉