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Venice has long been on my bucket list of travel destinations. The famously romantic city has been branded with beguiling characteristics that no other place can altogether possess: the elusory time it will continue to float, the mystery surrounding its origins, the fabled love stories that have twinkled with the Venetian chandeliers in its past…

The city of water, canals, florid glass, and festival masks: Venice can be as challenging as it is enchanting. The tourist crowds can be unkind, and finding your way around can be frustrating and exhausting.  But if you have the luxury of time and allow yourself to get lost, the bewitching city often grows roots in your tired heart, with Adriatic waves rocking the fascinating wonderland and back alleys abuzz with local nightspots.

One of the most famous sites of Venice is the social hub of the floating city.  People have been gathering here since the 9th century and continue to do the same in modern day. Escape the crowds by strolling during the twilight hours and you’ll catch the most enthralling light passing through the majestic columns and illuminating the classic Venetian street light.

There are beautiful and elaborate cathedral domes all over Italy, but few float on the Grand Canal like the ones in Venice. No one is completely sure how long these architectural marvels will be above water to be admired, which makes Venice all that much more urgent to visit.

Venice is composed of islands, 118 of them to be exact. Transportation is either on foot or by boat. There are the popular gondolas complete with boisterous and stripe-shirted gondoliers, but also the charming little boats of the Venetian locals, floating around on alley canals.

The Venetian cuisine is best experienced near Venice’s famous fish market, where catches are acquired that morning and served that afternoon in the most endearing restaurants, some only accessible by small bridges.