I had seen Venice once before. Just for an afternoon on a blistering hot summer day two and a half years earlier.
After floating through the acclaimed canals in a gondola, indulging in long glasses of prosecco and chocolate dipped treats (like a true tourist,) it’s rumored romanticism was confirmed. I could attest to its unmatched, enchanted beauty. And for two and a half years that is exactly how the city lived in my memory. A fairytale moment. A tourist’s dream. I couldn’t imagine being any more enraptured with it than I already was.
But this year I went back with the only three people who, just by existing together, can create a sense of magic more immeasurable than Venice itself.
My best friend Irene was in town so life was already pretty perfect. We were spending days and days wandering the streets of Florence, shattering the sound barriers with our endless laughter. How could we be any happier?
But then two of our very favorite people invited us for a weekend trip out of Florence. Davi and Kitty often spent time in Venice on their way back home from Davi’s family’s house and they wanted to show us their version of it.
So early, on a cool, Saturday morning in March, we took the train to meet them. When we arrived they led us to their regular hotel, stopping on the way to treat us to a piece of their favorite Venetian cake (I ate mine and Irene’s…) We checked into our hotel room, beautifully vintage with pink wallpaper, lace, and scalloped window details. 15 minutes later they knocked on the door said they were ready to start the party.
They showed us Venice the way I want to see every city. Unconcerned with rushing around to sites, they brought us to all of their secret spots to try the best food and drink Venice had to offer. We went to a crostini bar where we picked out dozens of inventive bite sized snacks. We took them outside and ate on the wall of the canal, smoking cloves and continuously filling our plastic cups of wine from the canteen inside. They took us to their go-to restaurant for seafood where they were greeted like regulars, the same way we are used to being treated in Florence. We laughed and ate and drank too much and Irene and I shared a Lady and the Tramp moment that Davi caught on camera.
After, they took us to a jazz bar that stays open later than most others in Venice. They knew the owner so, again, we were treated like family. Brought to the best seat in the house and delivered a round of shots, we spent hours relaxing, giggling, happy.
When it closed, the four of us wandered the streets of Venice together making too much noise for the sleepy little town, laughing raucously, the ever-intelligent Kitty stopping us every so often to deliver a piece of fascinating history she had stored in that magical mind of hers. We went to an afterhours bar that resembled, The Blob Club, a similar afterhours spot we all spent way too much time in at home. We referred to it as our Blob away from Blob as we danced and sang and made new friends.
Spending the night in Venice with three of my favorite women transformed the city for me. Instead of a tourist’s dream it became like home. Because anywhere can feel like home with people that good.