“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.” (Jo Walton)
The best piece of advice I could offer to any traveler visiting Venice, Italy, is to set your alarm and wake up before dawn so you can watch the sunrise from Piazza San Marco. I promise you will never regret getting a couple less hours of sleep, but you will kick yourself for missing out on sights like this…
Even gloomy weather with no promise of sunshine is worth waking up for, because you get the chance to photograph and explore St. Mark’s Square without a barrage of other tourists. The first morning of our trip was freezing cold and rainy, but there was not another person in sight in the piazza. With the jetlag, I almost wondered if it was still a dream!
The forecast for the next day of our trip showed clearer weather, so we woke up again in the hope of seeing a Venetian sunrise. We arrived while it was still dark and saw other photographers setting up their cameras on tripods. After taking some obligatory tourist photos with pigeons and the lamp posts to kill time, we walked towards the canal and marveled at the pink, peach, and purple hues of the sky.
We went back through the Piazza later that day, and I snapped a shot of the crowd to show the drastic difference. Even during the off-season, Venice was full of people.
As an introvert, the noises and large amounts of people can be draining. Starting each morning with quiet reflection and taking in the sights of the square in solitude helped energize me for the rest of the day.