I came to Venice high expectations. This is supposed to be one of the most romantic places in the world. For the money I have spent already without even having set foot there, it had better charm me and keep me enchanted for 4 nights. When I arrived, I didn't see it...until evening.
During the day, it's very nice indeed. The canals are lovely. I came at a great time as well, following a cold front. Venice can be very hot. It was in the 70s and sunny when I arrived. But I still figured the charm would wear out after a day or two.
But Venice does indeed have some magic. It happens at night. Thankfully, Venice really isn't much of a party town, and that's alright by me. There's like one night club. The city really starts to wind down after dark. Most of the tourists stay on the mainland of Venice (I didn't even know the Venice you see in the movies was an island). And the hoards of people on cruise ship excursions to back to their staterooms. Venice is like a tide. Tourists flood the island in the morning and go back to the mainland at night.
At night there's almost nobody around. The footsteps you hear are your own. It seems as though musicians are playing just for you. You can can actually hear the water in the canal. It feels like it's empty except for you.
My excursion highlight was the concert. Vivaldi was born in Venice. I attended a concert for "4 seasons". It was really nice and in a nice venue as well. The cellist was really good, and really fun to watch.
I did not go on a Gondola ride. They are really expensive, catered to couples. But I did see a wedding couple on a bridge with all their guests in a gondola procession. Can't imagine how much that cost.
In Bologna, I was too busy making pasta to eat any pizza. I've been holding off on pizza for this whole trip so I could enjoy it in Italy. I had 4 meals of pizza, 2 in restaurants, and 2 from leftovers. Venice isn't known for its pizza, but I couldn't wait any longer. Plus, the first place I went to was called Al Bacco Felice, so I had to go.
Today I leave for Florence, but not without another last minute crisis. My host emailed me at 2am canceling my reservation. I didn't get the message until I woke up, 2 hours before I had to be out of the apartment. I sent out distress messages to other hosts and luckily found a nice place. It was more expensive, but only $20/night more expensive, and not as bad as $100/night + $500 deposit + an unpleasant man. Airbnb should help with the cost increase as well.