Now that the feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) is out of the way, Italians really turn their minds to Christmas. Venice is no exception. For weeks, the smaller calli of the city have been decked with Christmas lights that have been waiting for their chance to shine. The lights in the piazza and the Christmas tree in the piazzetta were turned on at the beginning of the month, but the rest of the city has had to wait.
But now the whole city is illuminated and the fairy lights accentuate the magic unreality of the city built crazily in the middle of a lagoon. Here are a few off the beaten track lights to give you a flavour of the city.
This time of year takes me back to the occasions when I was in winter Venice as a child. Walking the maze of streets between Rialto and San Marco with my parents, the shop windows seemed so brightly lit that it was hard to look at them. My brother was captivated by the cars in the windows of what seemed an interminable line of toy shops. I, on the other hand, wanted to take one of the hundreds of families of miniature Murano glass animals home with me (and I got my way with a family of black and white cats and one of blue dogs, if I remember rightly).