Were I to make a list of unique cities I've visited I'd certainly pick San Francisco, New Orleans of course, Paris, probably Florence, and most definitely Prague. There are others that might be termed unique and belong on that list, and perhaps the most unique of them all is watery Venice.
I was mesmerized by this city the moment I set eyes on it. There are no automobiles or trucks to dodge, no traffic lights, but you are going to need a boat, and those are in plentiful supply. The Grand Canal is perhaps something like Fifth Ave. New York if one just substitutes boats for taxis and cars. They are everywhere and of every type from the iconic gondolas, bus like vaporettos, swift motorboat style water taxis, to larger work boats and barges for commercial hauling, and they move in every direction of the compass. It's a bustling place and its energy will quickly envelop the traveler.
Its flavor is a cross between the Italian Renaissance and the mysterious east. At one time this beautiful city was a center of world trade and commerce with a large merchant fleet and a sophisticated banking system; it was a cultural and mercantile bridge between east and west, no doubt thanks to the influence of Venetian, Marco Polo. Its roots in the Renaissance are seen in the copious works of art on display throughout the city as well as in it's music. Names like Tintoretto, Titian, Bellini, and Vivaldi are synonymous with Venice. Its oriental flavor is present in Byzantine architecture seen in places like St. Mark's Cathedral and the Ducal Palace. Perhaps it's global mercantile influence has waned but its draw as a major tourist center is alive and flourishing.
Of course, photography was one of my priorities and there is no limit to opportunities here; in a word it's a bonanza. I think Venice more than anywhere else got me turned on to architectural photography whereas before I could think of nothing but landscape and nature photography, with occasional forays in wildlife subjects. If its color you're after you'll find it in Venice; or hop a boat to the nearby island of Burano where you will find color to pop your eyes out. There's a few of those images here; the vivid colors are for real. And there's just no end of interesting people subjects enjoying an exotic vacation, or street performers to entertain them. With Venice I conclude the Italy portion of the Europe portfolio. We will next make a quick stop at Brataslava in Slovenia before moving on to The City of Light...Paris, yet another city that is legitimately unique.