The international bestselling book series The Twilight Saga has sold over 125 million copies worldwide, making it one of the most popular book franchises of all time. After the franchise concluded in 2017, the story went on without Edward and Jacob, the stars of The Twilight Saga, but continued to be told through spin-offs and anthology novels. One of these, New Moon, focused on Bella’s adventures in finding her voice and independence as an adult while still learning to trust her instincts. Now, Bella’s story is coming to an end as she embarks on a new journey, a solo trip to Italy that will lead her to one of the most iconic cities of all time. While Bella will be visiting many of the places that were important to her in The Twilight Saga, there is one destination that will be singularly special. It is a city that serves as a symbol of both freedom and passion, a place that is literally brimming with adventure, and it is the perfect place to find inspiration for Bella’s post-Twilight life.
Bella arrives in Venice after a long and tiring flight. Traveling from New York by way of Milan, Venice will be her first real exposure to the art, beauty, and culture of Italy. As she steps off the plane and onto the scene, it is clear that the world has changed in the four years since she left. Back in 2014, the crisis in Syria led to massive migrant flows, and a brutal refugee crisis that continues to this day. Italy stepped up to help, and a small number of residents opened their homes to those stranded in the country. Today, the Italian government provides humanitarian visas to protect migrants and refugees from the hardships of travel, while at the same time protecting the Italian people from the spread of the pandemic.
Bella is here for a conference, an important professional meeting, and she’ll have a chance to reconnect with old friends. But in between meetings, she has some relaxation time and decides to explore Venice. She wants to walk its streets, get a feel for the place, so she can write about it. After all, she is a professional writer who has just published her first book. Tourists will no doubt follow in her footsteps, and the city will become even more renowned for its beauty and elegance. Perhaps even more so than it already is.
La Dolce Vita
Bella wanders through the streets of Venice. She wears plain clothes and no makeup. She is free to walk the city and get a feel for it. She could be a tourist, someone who has come for a visit and wants to see as much as she can in the city. Or, she could be a mystery woman, hiding who she really is, and why she is in Venice.
The thing is, we don’t really know. We don’t know what she looks like. What if she has some kind of odd beauty routine that makes her unrecognizable? What if she doesn’t want anyone to see her because she doesn’t want to be recognized? It is possible that she could be a famous fashion designer who decided to take a week off work to rest and recuperate. Fashion designers constantly have to travel the world for shows and events. Maybe she needs some time to recover from the travel stress and take a step back from her busy schedule.
Strolling Through St Marks
While we don’t know what Bella looks like, we do know what she does. She stalks the streets of Venice, taking photos, noting every important landmark in order to write about it. There is no doubt that this is something that will bring her huge fame and recognition back in her home country. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in one of the most stunning cities in the world?
One of the defining characteristics of Venice is its maze of narrow streets and tiny piazze that lead to squares and bridges. It is these streets that form the basis of Bella’s wandering. Although most of the city is accessible by foot, there are sections of it that are closed to traffic due to floodings or high water tables. It wouldn’t be unusual for a Venice resident to walk for hours without crossing a single street. One could spend a day and not get the feeling that they have traveled anywhere, because everything is so close to the center.
This is the city that inspired the great Italian architect, Giorgio Gracco, to build the Dolce Vitae—the grand mall of Venice. This is the place where the grande dame of Venice, Ada Loquayo, spent her last days. It is the place where artists and architects have always been drawn, a city that has always inspired. In fact, that is the whole reason that Venice exists. To this day, anyone can find inspiration in the city, no matter their art, and it continues to attract visitors from around the world.
Santa Maria della Salute
If you only have a short amount of time to visit Venice, then you need to make the most of it. The first and foremost thing you should do is visit the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. The church and its paintings are open from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:00 am until noon and 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. However, these times are subject to change, so always check the website for the most updated information.
The next stop on Bella’s list is the Campanile, the bell tower of Piazza San Marco. Legend has it that Venice was founded on a large rock at the top of this tower. It was here that the first recorded association of the note ‘d’ and the number 4—de’ or ‘dito’—was made. This reference to Dante Alighieri, the medieval poet who was born in Venice, is inscribed inside the Campanile.
The Punta della Dogana
On her way back from the Campanile, Bella stops at the Galleria dell’Accademia. She is interested in contemporary art, so she wants to see the Accademia’s collection of modern Italian paintings. With a group of friends, she will have the chance to speak with the gallery’s owners about getting access to see the artwork and discuss it in greater detail. They will be able to answer all of her questions, while she can take some time to look at the paintings and feel the energy that they exude.
The next stop on Bella’s itinerary is the Sistine Chapel. This is one of the most important venues not only for Vatican City, but for all Italy. There is no other place that can compare when it comes to artistic beauty and historical significance.
This is the resting place of the greatest Renaissance works. It was here that Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and countless others left their mark on history. Unfortunately, the chapel’s current hours are quite restrictive. It is open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm, with a break for lunch between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm. Sunday afternoon and evening hours are also limited, with no access allowed after 6:00 pm.
This is an important limitation, as there are many other things that Bella would like to see and do in the city. Had she known about these restrictions, she would have stayed in a suite at the Venetian instead. However, as it is, she is still in awe of this historic city and what it has to offer. She will have to make the most of what little time she has, and go where the crowds aren’t to get the best view of the exquisite works of art.
For those with less time, there are dozens of sites and attractions that can be visited in a day. Most of these are near the Stazione Ristoro, on the eastern side of the city. If you really want to get to know Venice, then you have to make the most of its crowded sites and museums. The best time to visit is either in the early morning or the early evening, before the temperature starts to rise. This will help avoid any unpleasant surprises. Especially as the number of tourists in Venice is increasing each year, and the elderly and physically challenged are especially vulnerable to the heat, it is important to be aware of any restrictions and needs when traveling to this beautiful city.