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Sunrise at Piazza San Marco

Venice in July is a swirling mass of heat, blazing sunlight, with a constant wave of tourists so thick you can’t stir them with a stick. How then, would you manage to capture photos of this beautiful city without crowds of people in them? The easy answer is you get up before dawn and head out while everyone else is still sleeping in their hotels, and before the giant cruise ships arrive for the day. On a sleepy morning at 5am, my photo group slipped out of our hotel under the last remaining cloak of night, and headed to the Piazza in time for the first pink wisps of dawn to emerge over the lagoon. We knew we had to work quickly. The sun comes up fast and hard, but for a few short minutes we had a perfect window of soft peachy pink light—and no people. Sure, there were a very very few. But all in all we were able to enjoy the whole Piazza almost to ourselves, and that in itself is a magical experience.

Pink sunrise over San Marco Piazza in VenicePink Sunrise over San Marco Piazza in Venice

Summer sunrise over the gondolas in Venice

Note, in the distance, a cruise ship coming into the Lagoon. Quiet mornings don’t last long in Venice in summer.

San Marco Piazza, VeniceGondolas in Venice in the early morning

The Basilica di San Marco looks completely different without oceans of people standing out front, lines extending all the way across the Piazza. In the early morning sunrise, it’s covered in trash leftover from tourists the day before, but it looks quiet and still. In a few minutes time, the street sweepers will emerge and get to work cleaning up the trash with long bristled brooms that effortlessly pick up all bits of litter. The only sound in the piazza at that time is the swish-swish-swish of the brooms and the seagulls.

San Marco Piazza, VeniceSan Marco Piazza, Venice

San Marco Piazza, VeniceSan Marco Piazza, VeniceSan Marco Piazza, Venice

After our early morning photo session, we headed back to our hotel to await the start of breakfast. We had been out so early that breakfast hadn’t even started yet! I was ready for some coffee at that point.



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