Venice, Italy

Venice is one of the few magical places on earth that lure me time and again without disappointment. It is a unique jewel that captures the heart and imagination of every visitor and never lets go.

Bringing people to Venice for their first experience is a thrill for me. There is an audible gasp as we round the corner into Piazza San Marco, followed by speechlessness or tears every time. It is such a visually rich environment that artists and non-artists alike are overwhelmed.

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St. Mark’s square is filled with tourists and pigeons all day long and it is impossible to see everything without grabbing an expensive table at one of the outdoor cafes for a still place to observe and experience. You’ll pay dearly for the cappuccino here, but it is worth the money for a front row seat to the best show in town. We nurse our coffee, gelato and beer as long as we can and sketch from here pretty often!

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There aren’t many hotels near Piazza San Marco, and the few that are close don’t try very hard with customer service. Still, we stay within a short walk so we can have the square almost to ourselves for sunrise each morning. For a fleeting moment this grand place is empty and is ours to explore and sketch.

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As the tide comes in the square fills with water and tourists walk on tabletops to get around. Some of the more adventurous will wade in the ankle-deep reflecting pool, but the locals wear boots. The water isn’t something you’d want to swim in without a dose of antibiotics, but it sure makes for a fun time with photo-ops everywhere!

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There never seems to be enough time to see everything Venice has to offer. It demands repeat visits and changes seasonally. I’m always sad when my workshop groups depart Venice. It’s always too soon, but I know we’ll be back!