Hey all! Jeff and I just got back from our Venice, Italy trip yesterday, and it’s safe to say I am pooped. It was a busy few days, and I wanted to make sure to write everything down before I forget the details. I should seriously consider writing in a travel journal.
We decided to go to Venice this November break because it’s one of Jeff’s favorite cities. He first visited about 10 years ago with his mom, and it left a strong impression on him. When we found out his friend Mark would be in town at the same time, it sealed the decision to go. We woke up at 6am on Thursday and off we drove. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Venice before we decided to go. I knew there was canals, but I had no idea it was an island or that it’s an absolute maze to navigate.
We parked at the train station just off the island, took the train in, then the water bus, and walked to our hotel. After dropping off our luggage, I changed into some appropriate clothes (aka not leggings), and off we went. We wandered through the alleys, crossed countless canals (they are seriously everywhere), and walked through St. Mark’s Square before grabbing some drinks while we waited to meet our friends who got in the same day.
When it came to food and drinks, Jeff and I made an effort to try as much as we could. We noticed everyone ordering Aperol Spritz, so that’s what we did too. I’ve had Aperol Spritz in Germany before, but it was made a little different in Venice. In Germany it’s Aperol (bitter orange liqueur), Sparkling wine, and a splash of sparkling water. In Venice it’s Aperol, white wine, and sparkling water. I personally prefer the German version since it’s a little more carbonated, but the Italian version (the original, I assume) wasn’t bad either.
After we met up with our friends, we went on a bar tour with Alessandro Schezzini, a local guide who took us around to different spots around town. We tried local wine, tapas, and he told us a little bit about the city. If you’re in Venice I definitely recommend setting up a tour with him – we had an absolute blast! Alessandro was hilarious and it felt like we were hanging out with a friend rather than a tour guide. After the bar tour Alessandro headed out and we continued to enjoy the wine… and then got lost on our way back to the hotel. If you follow me on Instagram Stories then you saw the struggle! We would think we were going down the right alley only to have it end at a canal with no bridge.
The second day was our tourist day. We cruised to St. Marks Square, toured the basilica, and hopped on a water taxi to explore the canals. Since there was 8 of us in our group (Jeff, his friend Mark, his girlfriend’s family, and a friend), the water taxi was just under 20 euros a person – much better than the $100 gondola Jeff and I were considering (and we brought Gia on board too!). Our ride was about an hour long – the perfect amount of time to go around the island and through the canals. If you don’t want to splurge on a gondola and have a group of people, I would definitely recommend it!
We had a nice dinner with the group – I totally failed and forgot to write down the name of the restaurant, but it was delish. I’m not a big pasta person, but the seafood pasta I had in Venice was amazing. It was light and full of flavor despite having little sauce. We also had some wonderful homemade bellinis which I will be trying to replicate at our house!
Our final full day was our “wander around and get lost” day. Jeff and I frequently do this when we travel – we plan a day to do touristy things, and then just walk around a discover things the next day. It’s a great way to see different parts of cities and find hidden gems. We walked to the opposite corner of the island, did a little shopping (surprisingly there’s not many “real” shops in Venice, but there’s like 500 mask stores.), and took our dog for a nice walk. I honestly love our wandering days because they’re relaxing and romantic.
We had a nice dinner at Ristorante Antica Sacrestia not far from our hotel – it was awesome. The setting was so cozy and romantic – it could not have been more perfect. We both had seafood linguini as our meals which was amazing, and finished with some tiramisu. Our neighboring table of Italians were drinking this light green drink for dessert so we ordered one too. It was called a Sgroppino and it was incredible. It’s lemon sorbet, vodka, and prosecco and it’s served in a champagne flute. If you’re in Italy you have to try one!
The next day we packed up and met up with a photographer we know from Spokane, Amber (she shot these photos), and her friend Rose and they shot some photos of us around the city. Can’t wait to see them! Afterwards Jeff and headed off to Verona – I’ll be posting those photos tomorrow.
Venice was such a gorgeous city and it is definitely worth a visit if you’re planning a trip to Italy. We had about 3 total days there, but I think 2 days would be perfect. This time of the year seemed like the best time to visit – the weather was nice for November (in the mid-50’s) and there wasn’t many tourists. I can’t imagine it in prime tourist time since the alleys are so narrow. The one thing I found disappointing about Venice was the amount of shops and restaurants that are specifically geared for tourists – it made the city seem a little inauthentic. I mean, how many plastic masks, plastic gondolas, and magnets does one need? Our tour guide kind of said it best – Venice needs tourists to survive since there’s no industry, but they’re also ruining the charm of the city (and well, the island is sinking). Sorry, Venice!
Have you ever been to Venice or plan to go? Let me know what you’re loving about the city!
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