Venice teeters on the edge of with its lacework of canals, its domes and gilded spires, its kiosks with straw gondolier hats and refrigerator magnets in the shape of the Piazza San Marco. Postcard fodder, and yet...
Venice is beautiful—improbably so, a centaur-like hybrid, neither land nor water but somewhere in between as it lifts from the green of the Adriatic. The city is drenched in so-exquisite-it-hurts beauty: the tracery of arches in the Doge's Palace, the pinpoint of lights from boats in the lagoon at night. The grime of centuries eats at its stones, but the decay is luscious.
It has been so for centuries. To be a tourist in Venice is to join a procession reaching back to the 14th century, when pilgrims stopped en route to the Holy Land. To capitalize on its geography as the departure point for voyages to the East, the canny Venetians created festivals to coincide with the influx, a hint of the commercialism to come.
Irritating, that wallet-squeeze, but one you inevitably force yourself to stomach, particularly when catching sight of the Venice silhouette for the first time from the mainland shore of the lagoon. To get at the essence of Venice, we asked the experts—a group of professional photographers—what they see when they look at the city. From their most treasured scenes to their favorite hotels, they've given us five beautiful reasons to love this city even more than we already do.
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