If I had to choose, I would say Venice was my favorite part of the whole trip! it was the place I had wanted to visit the most and it definitely did not disappoint.
From Florence we hopped on the train to Venice. It is about a 2 hour train ride which isn’t bad. I recommend booking on the official site: TrenItalia. There are other sites that will pop up first if you search on Google but they are brokers and add a charge to the ticket. It’s best to just go to the source to book. You can book cities all around Italy. Or you can even just go to the train station and book there if you don’t have a specific time you need to travel. The public transportation is super easy in Italy especially if you come from a big city already. (I’m pretty sure I wrote that exact sentence in my first Italy Travel Diary.)
WHERE WE STAYED:
We stayed at Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio which was in a residential neighborhood in Venice. At first I wasn’t sure what we were in for because sometimes when you’re away from the main area it can feel like a chore exploring a city. But turns out it was the PERFECT spot to be in. You see, Venice is extremely touristy, prob the most touristy of all 4 cities we visited so it was really nice to be a little removed from the chaos. And its so small that nothing is really that far.
WHERE WE ATE:
The best part is when you eat with the locals, you eat better. We stumbled upon a restaurant in the neighborhood and most customers inside were speaking Italian. That’s when I knew it had to be good. When we sat to order we overheard an Italian woman speaking to a tourist telling her that it was authentic Venetian food and that’s when I knew we won.
Guys, when I tell you I had the BEST calamari I’ve ever had in my life at this restaurant. So good I could cry. When in Venice you must order seafood. The restaurant is called Osteria al MAriner.
For dinner that night, we weren’t starving so we decided to grab a pizza at a local spot also near the hotel called Pizza da Zorma. The pizza was light and really flavorful. They tend to make their pizzas really thin in Italy I noticed. I actually really loved that. Danny had a great idea to sit by the Canals and enjoy our pizzas and it turned out to be the highlight of the trip for me (Sometimes he can be romantic). The next day when we walked through the neighborhood area at night we saw all the locals enjoying wine on their boats, around the canals, and at all the nearby restaurants. I LOVED seeing how the locals lived. It really made us feel like we got to see another side of Venice.
WHAT WE DID:
Aside from eat we did…you guess it. WALK haha. The first day we went to Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, enjoyed the views, and took a gondola ride. There are gondoliers all around Venice and the price was standard everywhere 80 Euros for 30 minutes. It’s a bit pricey but seriously, we were in Venice, the original inventors of the gondola (i think haha), we HAD to do it. Also don’t worry about booking these ahead of time, you can grab one anywhere around Venice. It was actually pretty romantic as we traveled around the canals. But if I’m being honest, if you want the REAL gondola experience, I would pay the premium for a tour which are longer than and half hour and some even offer singing. If the gondola is on your list I would for sure plan to pay the extra to just do a full tour.
We didn’t realize after a full day of exploring Venice that there were no cars around. Then we looked it up and realized cars are not allowed in the city. So I guess that makes Venice the true walking city. There is no other way to get around then to walk or take a boat. We barely even saw people on bicycles. It is very easy to get around Venice.
The next day we headed to one of the islands off the coast of Venice. Venice is actually made up of 100’s of tiny islands and the bridges over the canals are what connect them. But there are other islands that are a boat ride away that are totally worth visiting. There are many to choose from but we chose to go to Burano.
You can spend the day and island hop too, it’s totally feasible but Burano had been on my mind for the past year or so. Burano is a super colorful and quaint town, we actually really loved it there. You for sure don’t need all day to explore, just a couple hours will do. We grabbed pizza at a local spot and did our new favorite thing, sitting by the canals. We kept wondering who were the people who lived in these beautifully colored homes as we watched the laundry hanging out the windows to dry. I really loved the simplicity of it all. If you head to Venice, I highly recommend visiting the outside islands.
And just like that. Our trip was over. 10 days really did go by fast. I feel like you can spend a month in Italy and not see everything! I’m already thinking of our next trip back. I definitely want to do the more coastal cities next time like Cinque Terre, Almafi Coast and Capri. And next time we’ll visit when it’s not so high season!