I last visited Venice a long time ago, and all I could remember were the crazy crowds. It’s no wonder, because I visited in the summer. Last weekend, I decided to visit Venice in the winter with my girlfriend. People were saying “Why Venice? It’s not the season.” But that’s exactly the point. I thought that visiting in Venice would be smart to avoid all the crowds, and I was right.
My weekend in Venice was great! We had all kinds of weather ranging from clear skies and sunny to extreme rain (even some ﬂoods in the streets) and fog. Lots of different conditions to photograph which made things interesting. But, as I expected, there were almost no people! So here are a few reasons why winter is a great time to visit Venice, especially for photography.
Almost no people. You won’t see anyone, especially during sunrise and sunset. I was even alone at the most popular location to shoot sunrise from: The Accademia bridge. There was literally no one but me. During the day there were some people at the popular squares, but no one in the back alleys. It was amazing to walk around so ‘free’.
A lot of variety in weather. Honestly, I love photographing cities like Venice when it rains. All the reﬂections give a magic atmosphere to the city. It gives a romantic mood that I love to capture. We also had a foggy day that allowed me to capture some images with a different unique mood. And a day of full sun. To captures the beautiful little alleys grey days are actually great as the light is very soft and you won’t get harsh shadows. This makes it perfect for capturing the details in the little streets. A thing I love to do.
Hotel prices are generally cheaper in winter because it’s off-season. So you can get a hotel in a nice central location for a bargain.
You can see how the city lives. I saw the locals go about their day. I learned to recognize little cafes and bars that the locals would go and learned where to go for authentic food. I saw kids going to school in the center of Venice. I saw the merchants selling their goods on the streets. I didn’t see all this in summer when the city was packed with tourists.
I strongly believe to experience the true beauty and romance of Venice, you should go off-season (with winter being the best season). Sure it’s cold, but it’s magical! Here are a bunch of images I shot over the long weekend.
About the author: Albert Dros is an award-winning Dutch photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. His work has been published by some of the world’s biggest media channels, including TIME, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, and National Geographic. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram.