Oct
14

Honeymoon to Venice, Italy

Imagine a city with water streets, where ornate gondolas float under intricate bridges. A city where the buildings are hundreds of years old, and stand tall and proud along the canals and streets. Cobblestone paths weave patterns through the city, and music comes softly from a lone guitarist playing in the square. This city is Venice, Italy. A place that captured my heart and left me breathless with its beauty and romance.

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Top Sites and Activities

St. Mark’s Square

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If you walk around Venice for long enough, chances are you’ll come across this amazing square. With it’s ornate walls and charming cafes, it’s a place to stop and take in everything, people watch, and enjoy the romance that is Venice.

St. Mark’s Basilica

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This beautiful church, located in St. Mark’s Square, has an incredibly ornate facade and is free to enter and walk around. {There are a couple additional things inside like the Museum that do cost, but entering the main church is free.}

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Once inside, beauty overwhelms with gold mosaics covering the ceilings, huge marble columns, and patterns on the floor that you can’t take your eyes from. There is so much beauty inside this incredible church, pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. Definitely a top site in Venice.

The Doge’s Palace

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My other top site in Venice is the Doge’s Palace. Unfortunately they do not allow pictures once you are inside the main rooms, but it’s interior left me totally speechless. Huge ornate gilded frames surround frescos on the ceilings, and as you walk through the rooms they get grander and grander. 

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This is also where you can walk across the Bridge of Sighs, into the prisons of old Venice. 

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History flows from these walls, and it’s a place not easily forgotten.

Gondola Ride

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There are so many schools of thought on the Gondola Rides in Venice. My opinion: do it, they’re worth the money. 

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Not only do you get a peak into the back canals of Venice, away from where the hordes of tourists crowd, the Gondoliers are fascinating people. They are incredibly skilled at their craft. Every Gondolier trains under their father for one year, after which they are required to take a test. If they pass, they go to school to learn English and French, as well as the history of Venice. They are incredibly knowledgeable and fun to listen to. 

Murano

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This glass blowing island is a quick 20 minute boat ride from Venice. It’s worth the trip to see the glass blowing demonstrations. Tours are offered from the main island in Venice, although we found it better to go on our own. Apparently the tours don’t allow you time for exploring the island, and only stop at the glass blowing factory. Viewing glass blowing in action is a really cool process that takes skill. The demonstrations are free. Take some time to talk around the island as well. Although more industrial, some of the shop windows with the Murano glass chandeliers are stunning.

Where to Dine

My husband and I had only two meals in Venice, and they were both restaurants we happened upon as we were walking though the city.

Trattoria da Roberto

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We really liked this restaurant with its outdoor seating. It is one if the larger restaurants located on one of the wider streets, so the tables are not right by the people walking past. The food was delicious, and the service was great. A few twists and turns off St. Mark’s Square, it’s located on Campo S. Provolo.

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I had the spaghetti with clams (which stayed in my top meals the whole time we were in Italy) and my husband had the gnocchi with bolognese, which was delicious also.

The other restaurant we dined at, I honestly probably couldn’t find it again and don’t even recall the name. It was on a very narrow street, with tables right under people’s noses as they walked by. It was good food,  it didn’t rank anywhere near my top 3 meals in Italy.

Where to Stay

Since my husband and I stayed with my brother in law and his family, we took the train into Venice each time we visited. However, one of the notable hotels is Hotel Danieli. Situated right by St. Mark’s Square, this historic, luxury hotel features amazing views and top notch rooms.

Getting Around

Water Taxis

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Although a option, these are incredibly high priced (60 euros when we visited). They do get you directly to your destination, but for the cost, there are definitely other ways of getting around.

Vaporetto

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This water bus is one of the easiest and cost effective ways to get around. You can buy a single ticket, or a pass for 6, 12 or 24 hours to go wherever you want. Be sure to pay attention to which number boat you are getting on. They all take different routes and some have more stops than others. When going to Murano, we made the mistake of getting on the boat that makes several stops. If we wold have waited for the correct number (posted on the board where you board) it would have taken us directly there. Be sure to validate your ticket on the platform before boarding! 

Walking

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Many sites in Venice are all within walking distance of each other. For example, cutting through the back streets of Venice, you can get from St. Mark’s square to the Rialto Bridge in about 15 minutes. I would recommend a map, however, as the streets don’t always parallel canals, and there are many dead ends and twists and turns throughout the city. All part of the fun though, and sometimes getting a little lost, you encounter something amazing you wouldn’t have normally seen.

Traveling Tips

– One of the days we were there, we were told by a couple that the day before 30 thousand people had been dropped off via cruise ships for the day! Venice can get quite crowded during the daytime, so visiting in the evening hours is ideal, after the cruise ships have departed. Besides being less crowded, the evening lighting is amazing!

– When dining in Italy, you always have to ask for the check. I love that meals are a time to relax and enjoy life and family, so people take their time at meals and the staff doesn’t try to rush you out. This is such a lost way of life in America, so take time to enjoy it abroad!

All images by Zenadia Design.

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