It will begin to captivate you almost from the first moment you gaze upon it.
It's vast yet intimate, scruffy and magnificent, timeless and trendy, indifferent yet charming.
You must remember that it's preserved, not restored.
Keep all of these things in mind as you visit, as you encounter it, as you begin your relationship with Venezia. For it is a relationship that will stay with you forever. And like an irresistible lover, Venice will keep drawing you back.
When I first walked into St. Mark's Square (San Marco) more than a couple of decades ago I was struck not just by its vastness but by the light, the architecture, the music at the open air cafes, the scale and balance of the place and the spell it cast over all who encountered it.
Now I have that same feeling again as I return.
You truly cannot compare it to anyplace else in the world. And yet, in many ways St. Mark's is the "throwaway" part of Venice -- the overture; the premie; the showy, touristy bait. Still, it is what you will remember when you think of Venice.
But you will also remember the cozy alleyways and passages, the numerous piazzas tucked into the most unlikely spots, the tiny bridges over narrow canals, the shops, trattorias and outdoor markets, the water lapping against piers, and the sudden joy of finding yourself totally lost amidst a labyrinth of walkways.
The waking will awaken and enliven you. It will enrich your senses and trigger your imagination in ways you never expected.
And you must walk for there is no other way around save for a gondola or water taxi and they can be quite expensive.
So, bring yourself back to your youth -- to a simple time -- and just walk and keep walking and see where it all leads.
Venice was made for all this -- for the shock of bright sunlight in welcoming squares; for stolen kisses at corner cafes; for fresh gelato and perfectly cooked pasta and that cappuccino and biscotti you've been longing for.