Summer is Venice’s high season, so most travel guides recommend visiting the city in spring or fall instead. But what about winter? As New York Times reporter Rachel Donadio recently discovered, winter in Venice has its own special magic. In the article, she writes about seeing the city in winter for the first time: “The light, as always, was beyond compare and there was a watery chill in the air. I loved it immediately. ”

In winter, it’s easy to get into normally busy attractions like the Doge’s Palace, and the damp chill can be easily kept at bay with hot coffee. Even better, Alitalia is having an excellent special on tickets at the moment. You can fly directly to Venice from Chicago for $867 round trip, or fly into Milan from New York for $622 and then take the train to Venice. If you take the Eurostar, you’ll be there in less than three hours. For more potential itineraries and prices, see Smarter Travel.

The sale is on until March of 2011. If you’d like to take advantage of it, keep in mind that you’ll need a passport if you don’t already have one.

If you apply for a passport without expedited processing, you can expect to get your passport back in the mail about 6 weeks after you send your application in. The State Department’s expedited passport processing normally takes about 3 weeks, which is still a long time to wait.

If you need to travel sooner than that, you have two options that can further reduce the time it takes to get an expedited passport. First, you can apply in person at a regional passport agency office. You’ll have to make an appointment to do this, and you may have to spend a lot of time and even money to get to the office since there are only 21 passport agency offices that serve the general public in the United States.

The second option is to order an expedited passport from a private expediting company like RushMyPassport. We meet with the Department of State on your behalf to submit the application, so you get processing times as low as 24 hours with no need to make an appointment or travel to a passport agency.

Apply for your expedited passport with us today!