Venice is truly unlike any other place. As soon as I stepped off the train from Florence, I felt as though I was in a different world. Physically, the architecture of Venice with its various canals, although difficult to navigate at first, is truly breathtaking. The culture of the city, however, is vastly different from my experience in the United States. The first big difference I noticed while in Venice was the slower pace. I constantly had to remind myself throughout the summer to slow down and relax more like those around me. Punctuality is taken more freely; there is never a reason really to rush. Additionally, the fashion in Venice is much higher than that back home. When people are in public, whether it be just a simple trip to the grocery store, they are always dressed up. You will never see a pair of sweatpants! The coffee culture as well is different. In general, Italian coffee is a lot smaller and a lot stronger than coffee in the US. A big shock to be was that it is not necessarily acceptable to order a milk-based drink such as a cappuccino after noon (although this rule is changing somewhat!). Italians also consume their coffee quickly at the bar; they do not sit down nor do they take their coffee to go!
There are also a few misconceptions I would like to clear up about Venice. First, many think it is possible to visit Venice in a day trip. Many visitors I had met in my time in Venice had said they only planned to stay for a day or two. Venice is a dynamic city with many sites to see and places to eat at! A day in Venice will not suffice. After having spent two months in the city, I still feel as though I did not see it all! Additionally, many believe that Venice is completely overrun by tourists and not “Italian” enough anymore. Although many Venetians do not live in the center of Venice, the city itself is still in Italy and there are areas of the city that are not as touristy.