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Why You Should Photograph Venice in the Wintertime

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.

I love exploring random alleys in Venice. You can find beauty literally everywhere with all the little streets and canals. Here’s a canal with bridge during blue hour.

Girlfriend standing in the rain. All the reflection and water gives it a magical atmosphere.

An extremely foggy afternoon giving some unique photo opportunities. The grand canal is pretty quiet in winter.

The rain really gives live to these little squares. No idea why people are hanging up laundry when its raining though, I saw that a lot.

Blue hour in Venice is magical. Pick your street, canal and start shooting. Fun fact: this tower is not straight!

Some of the little canals look straight out of a fairytale.

The foggy atmosphere during one afternoon allowed for some unique photo opportunities. Here I did a long exposure to get a nice clean look to the image.

View from the famous Academia Bridge. The sun rises on the right of the famous Santa Maria Basilica. I didn’t get a spectacular sunrise but the beautiful soft light coming from the side made up for it.

Burano, a little village that you reach by boat about an hour away from Venice is a must-visit if you like colorful houses. After sunset almost everybody left so I had this place almost for myself.

A good example of what rain does to the atmosphere. I really liked the look of this little street with that single light illuminating like you’re supposed to enter.

During our sunny day we took a gondola ride. Sure they’re expensive but its a nice experience especially if almost no one is on the canals! And you can take some typical ‘Instagram’ pictures 😉 Or just enjoy it with your loved one.

I just cannot get enough of these little bridges between the canals.

A nice sky above the beautiful little Burano village that has these cute colorful houses. Because of the rain a lot of puddles formed on the boulevard. I used them to get some reflection shots.

Pick your favorite color and shoot away. In Burano there is a color for everyone.

Burano during blue hour. Note that that tower is also not straight. It seems thats normal in Italy.

You will see a lot of these little street with arches along the small canals of Venice.

A starry night in Venice. When I was walking on the famous Accademia bridge during the night to my surprise I saw lots of stars. I took some shots and was surprised how much I could see and that the light pollution was fairly low.

This foggy day made interesting light conditions in the little streets around the canals.

An abstract shot of a colorful wall in Burano.

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.

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