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Italy: Want Venice to yourself?

Thanks to jet lag, I awoke before dawn one morning in Venice. Unable to return to sleep, I decided to get up with the sun and wander around town until a café opened. But what this magnificent city was about to offer was unexpected. As I crossed the Accademia Bridge en route to the Piazza San Marco, I first noticed the still silence. Then I realized it—I was alone with the city. The canals and bridges, the stunning architecture, the web of walkways were all mine! Even the early morning light was perfect for taking photos, with bright colors and long, dramatic shadows. Every corner yielded yet another glorious shot: brilliant colors illuminated by rays of sunlight, open windows flanked by green shutters, window boxes spilling over with blooming flowers. I continued meandering my way through a morning never to be forgotten, until the aroma of fresh-brewing coffee led me to the nearest café. As I sat sipping my cappuccino, I felt deeply rewarded for something I hadn't even planned. So, wake up with the dawn and see the town.
—Michael Henderson, Huntington Beach, California

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