So let’s start our 2nd city guide for Italy – Venice. We spent 3 days in Venice during our two week Italy trip. We definitely knew we wanted to spend a little more time there than some of the other cities since it is such a unique city and there’s so much to see. We took a train to Venice from Milan on our second day in Italy. As soon as you exit the train station, the view just captivates you. The beautiful canals and the old colorful buildings everywhere are like nothing else you’ll ever see.
Our first day in Venice was reserved for just exploring the city as much as we could. Our friends who live in Germany were meeting us there so we dropped off our bags at the hotel and went to the train station to meet them. We spent the rest of the day walking around, eating, catching up and exploring the city. The hotel we stayed at was by far the most expensive of the entire two weeks in Italy and by far the smallest room. It was called Hotel ca’Lucrezia and it was located in the perfect place as far as proximity to the train station and to the main attractions of the city. The people working at the hotel were very nice and the breakfast was great every morning but I think I would recommend trying to find an Airbnb there because the hotel prices in Venice are very high. That would definitely be one thing I would change about this part of the trip. When traveling in Venice, my one piece of advice is wear comfortable shoes. The city is very walkable but be prepared to get lost and wander around until you find the right way. There are lots of windy streets and bridges and finding how to get from one place to another can definitely get pretty complicated there but truly getting lost on these floating islands is the best part of the city. The first day we walked up to St.Mark’s Square and walked around aimlessly the rest of the day trying to get a sense for this truly one of a kind city. There are restaurants everywhere you go and I definitely recommend finding a restaurant with a view of one of the many canals for dinner. Order some pasta and wine and look out to the beautiful water – it’ll be a magical night.
Our second day in Venice we had a walking tour of the city. I highly, highly recommend getting a tour because this city is so full of history that it’s definitely nice to have someone tell you all the stories and all the little facts are you’re walking around. We got the chance to learn about Rialto Bridge and to learn about the life of Marco Polo and see his old home. After seeing some of the smaller areas in the city we got go back towards St. Mark’s square which is the main square in the city. Here there is Doge’s palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. Both are incredible pieces of architecture. Also, if you plan on going into the cathedral on St.Mark’s square, make sure your knees and shoulders are covered. Ladies, this is a great time to wear a maxi skirt or dress and just bring a scarf or shawl to cover your shoulders while you’re in the cathedral.
Near the Basilica is also another beautiful bridge called Bridge of Sighs. We learned on the tour that it was named the Bridge of Sighs because it was the bridge they would transport prisoners on from the jail and the prisoners would sigh because it would be the last time they got a view of the city. The other main attraction right inside of St. Mark’s square is the San Marco Campanile which is the bell tower. It is a high point in the city and you can climb to the top of it for a gorgeous view of the city. A little piece of advice would be to go early in the morning because the line quickly grows throughout the day and you don’t want to get stuck standing in the sun in a long line. Our tour then broke for lunch and later we met up for the boat part of the tour. This was definitely my favorite part because you don’t truly get to experience Venice until you’ve ridden a gondola there or a boat in the canals. Our tour guide was very entertaining and very knowledgeable and we learned a lot on this tour. You pass some of the other islands off the main part of the city of Venice and the tour guides tell you all about them as well (For example, one of the islands is a cemetery and one used to be the main hospital).
Our third day in Venice was our first day alone in the city as this was the day our friends left. We chose to spend the day eating gelato (we literally ate gelato every single day in Italy. Every. Single. Day. And I don’t regret it for a second) and going back to the places we really liked looking for souvenirs to get to bring back for our family and friends. The first thing we did on the morning of that day was go to Rialto market and buy some fresh fruit that we ate as snacks the rest of the day. The market is located right by the Rialto Bridge and has everything from fruit and vegetables to freshly caught seafood. The area by the Rialto Bridge has millions of souvenir shops so definitely go there if you are looking to get some souvenirs. I didn’t find that they were that much more expensive than the little shops that were away from the tourist attractions. If you are looking to get some artwork, go to St. Mark’s Square and go towards the water. There are artists sitting everywhere along the water painting and you can buy their work straight from the source. They had some amazing paintings – watercolor, oil, pencil, whatever you are looking for. We looked up some restaurant recommendations so we also had plans to check out the places that were recommended online. Most places around the city have great food, so if you are open to that, just find a restaurant that’s close, look at their menu and chances are, you’ll be able to find a great dish on the menu. The house wines in Italy were great at every restaurant we went to as well.
So my key take aways from this post should be – make sure you spend at least 2 days in Venice ( 3 if you can spare it ) because there is so much to see in that city and sometimes it’s nice to just spend the day wandering around and exploring. Also, check our Airbnb for finding prices that are lower than hotels. A tour should be a must in this city because there’s so much to learn and make sure your tour includes a boat ride. We did not go on a gondola ride but because of the boat, we can say we had the true Venice experience.
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