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If you want to see Florence, or Paris, or Rome, do it while the moon is out – even if it’s dulled by the spotlights on the churches and the towers. Those are what you’re here for anyway. If you want to see these old cities as they once were, free of throngs of tourists, walk them when the stores full of trinkets are closed tight, and the street sweepers rule the roads. Stand in the middle of the piazzas at three in the morning and spread your arms wide in the spaciousness of them. Dream of how they looked hundreds of years ago. You can picture it when you’re there after everyone has gone to bed. When a few random shadows may wander out of bars or clubs, or maybe they’re just walking home after a late shift. Most of the time, it’s just you. The canals of Venice are silent in the night. The crowds all but gone, the tiny alleys back to the darkness they used to know. Sitting at the top of the Spanish Steps and looking out over a sleeping Rome is one to remember, and walking up through the towers of San Gimignano, your footsteps echoing off the stone at midnight. These places have a different story to tell without a whisper headset when the sun goes down. So many, exhausted after standing in lines and picking their way through the crowds of the day, fall heavy into their hotel beds soon after dinner – but at least one night, have another coffee and wander out into the evening.

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