It's not just gondolas; in Venice, everything takes to the water.

Venice is so popular as a tourist destination that the visitors clog its narrow streets. Escaping onto the water is the only answer, whether by gondola, waterbus, rowing boat or canoe.

In summer, Venicen is all romance and bustle, but I hope to return in the winter, to see it with mist over the water and the slightly sinister feel that darkness and rain might give to some of its quiet corners.

Gondolas ply the waters, while crews of rowing boats do last minute training along the course of the traditional boat race.

The winged lion is a symbol of the city of Venice, shown here with the Doge, on the side of the Doge's Palace.

The Grand Canal - busy as ever!

Venice is noted for its costumes and masks, which act as symbols of freedom, disguising class and individuality. They are worn during the Venetian Carnival.

Goldoliers in traditional costume - with a certain Italian style!

... while their gondolas are moored up by the bridge.

The colours and quiet corners of Venice are an ageless treasure.

Looking under the Rialto Bridge as gondolas negotiate their way into a side canal.


Visitors crowd the Grand Canal, but I love the smaller canals, where gentle decay blends with commerce, small caffes offer a stop for coffee, and outboard motors chug quietly as often as gondolas. Here, in the corners of colour and shade, small steps lead down to the water, which gently heaves in response to any larger vessel in the main chanel.

While over in St Mark's Square, the crowds jostle, and sometimes have to avoid the shallow flooding that offers such lovely reflections...