When a city has been written about for centuries, like Venice has, it can seem like there's nothing new to say or read about it. No amount of reading about Venice, however, can adequately prepare you for what it's like to step from the train station or cruise port and straight into a postcard. The canal city is surreal, hundreds of bridges connecting islands that shouldn't really even exist, and yet that have managed to survive. There are a few challenges to falling in love with Venice, to be sure, but this is a city that's worth the effort.
Visitors who are willing to make that effort are rewarded with Venice's most charming side - and thankfully, the effort isn't a hardship. Abandon an itinerary in favor of aimless walking and getting thoroughly lost - repeatedly. Wake early to stroll alongside quiet Venetian canals before the day-trippers arrive, and savor one of Italy's prettiest piazzas, St. Mark's Square, at twilight after they have departed again. Browse the Rialto Market to find out what's fresh and turn a "cicchetti" wine-bar crawl into a multi-stop dinner. Venice has been a tourist attraction for centuries, and while the city may not roll out the red carpet for visitors now that they vastly outnumber the locals, the mystique of Venice continues to bring crowds every single day of the year.