I had been to Venice twice before, but I couldn't resist stopping there again on our way from Milan to Mattia's hometown in the Dolomites region. Mattia had always been apathetic about Venice, probably since his proximity to the city while growing up (only 3 hours away!) Almost like how I felt about Hollywood since I grew up in LA, except you can't really compare Venice to Hollywood! Hollywood is pretty much a let down to anyone who's visited and high hopes for it. He grumbled mildly about the crowded streets and potential uncleanliness before being convinced to stop by due to my enthusiasm for the city.
The first time I visited Venice back when I studied abroad in Milan, I had high hopes for the city. I dreamed of Venice more than any other place (including Paris!) No matter how much people warned me that it was overrated, that it was very touristy, crowded, and potentially dirty, I remember still being astounded by the beauty of the place. I think sometimes people forget that no matter how overrated it may seem, it's still one of the most unique cities in the world.
This third time that I visited, I was happy to share the experience with Mattia. We spent the day getting lost in the canals and turning the corner to beautiful canals. He hadn't been in many years, and still harbored the thought that he should avoid the city forever. I'm glad to have changed his apathy to appreciation.
Venice is one of the first places that made me fall in love with traveling. I'll always remember that first time and return back in a heartbeat.