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Travel Diaries – Venice My Love

The choice to leave Venice as the final destination of our trip was the perfect way to say “ciao” to Italy. Venice, which very quickly became one of my favorite cities in Italy {a close competitor to Florence}, is a magical floating city that looks as if it was pulled out of an ancient fairytale. When we arrived in Venice, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Everything looked so picturesque, the old buildings with the red tile roofs, the turquoise water, the gondolas and the beautiful shops. Just thinking about it makes me deeply nostalgic!

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

Before going to Italy many people told us that Venice is an overrated tourist attraction and that the whole city stinks of sewage… Well, I have no clue what Venice they were talking about, but the Venice I visited is truly magical! It may be one of the most toured cities in the world, and the amount of tourists that actually visit the city does kinda cramp its authentic vibe, but I still think it is one of the most amazing cities in the world and I can’t wait for my next visit.

We stayed at a beautiful hotel on a private island, ate excellent food {you’d be surprised, you just gotta know where to find it} and we spent most of our time crossing the narrow bridges, and wandering around the canals, the quiet alleys, and the city’s iconic spots, In short – it was dream. And of course, I’ve come back with some very special recommendations.

 

Enjoy  

Click here to download my map of Venice

Click here to watch the IG stories I posted in Venice

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

GET AROUND

After a two and half hour train ride from Milan to Venice, we arrived at the central train station, Santa Lucia. From there we had two options – to get directly on a vaporetto {water bus} for 7.50 Euro a person, or take a private taxi to the center of Venice for 65 Euro {or 80 Euro straight to the hotel}. Since our return flight was scheduled for early morning, and we’d have to use a private water taxi at least once, we decided to go to the city center with a water bus and from there get on the free shuttle to the hotel. If you decide to pass up the taxi, keep in mind, taking the vaporetto takes a long time, and involves waiting in long lines, but again, it is a huge financial saving.

Venice itself isn’t that big which makes walking around in it pretty comfortable, and there are a ton of water buses that run very frequently.  If you plan to use the Google Maps app to navigate around the city, do not forget to predefine your search to “avoid ferries”.

For more information about getting around you should read this detailed article.

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

 

STAY

The cherry on the cake on this trip was undoubtedly the hotel we saved for the end, San Clemente Palace Kempinski. Set on a vast area of its own private island, the hotel is a perfect Venetian palace and everything you can dream of imagining a luxurious holiday in Venice.

Click here to read all about my stay at San Clemente Palace Kempinski 🙂

 

 

EXPLORE

We only really had two full days in Venice, and although there were so many places I wanted to visit in and out of the city {the islands Murano and Burano}, we ended up spending most of our time enjoying the magical city and the luxuries of our hotel. Since Venice was the last stop on our trip, and we had seen so many cathedrals and visited touristic sites, that we decided not to enter all of Venice’s famous buildings, rather enjoy them from the outside as we wandered around the city. We enjoyed getting lost in the hidden, narrow streets and simply indulging ourselves in the beauty of every corner.

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

Venice's famous attractions are concentrated in two central areas of the city – Piazza San Marco and the Canal Grande.

 

Piazza San Marco

The iconic Piazza San Marco, which Napoleon called “Europe’s most beautiful guest room”, is the area we passed by most during our trip. Surrounded by the city’s famous buildings, cafes restaurants, boutiques and art galleries, Piazza San Marco is definitely the most beautiful and most lively square in town. Despite the flocks of tourists, it is fun to be in the square at all hours of the day, to appreciate the stunning architecture, or enjoy a coffee in one of the old cafes, where live orchestras play classical music all day long.

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

The famous buildings around San Marco:

Basilica di San Marco, decorated with colorful ornaments and mosaics, statues, and marble spiers painted with golden touches, and its famous bell tower {to which you can go up to from inside the basilica}.

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

Torre dell'Orologio, the famous clock tower which stands at the north end of the square is known for its bronze statues that ring the big bell every hour since 1499.

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

Palazzo Ducale, an impressive building, rich with Gothic ornamentation, which took more than 100 years to construct. The historic building used to serve as the residence of the Duke of Venice and the center of the Republic, and is now open to visitors. One of its most famous parts is the bridge of sighs – Ponte dei Sospiri, named so because it was once the place where the prisoners used to walk on their final route to execution, and it is said that the prisoners would sigh when they would see beautiful Venice through the small windows of the bridge for the last time.

Other buildings around the square are old palaces in which a number of museums operate today.

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

Like in all the famous tourist attractions, the entrance to the ones in Venice involve waiting in long lines. If you want to enter any of the tourist attractions in venice I highly recommend that you purchase “Skip the Line” tickets on this website. We bought all of our attraction tickets around Italy from this site and it saved us a whole lot of waiting in line. Using you skip the line ticket is very easy, because immediately after booking you receive an email with a PDF file that can be directly shown from your smartphone to the staff working on site. Click here to but your Skip The Line tickets

 

Canal Grande

The Canal Grande is the central canal that goes through Venice’s historic center and in fact acts as the city’s “main street”. Six bridges cross over the famous canal , the most famous is Rialto Bridge {Ponte di Rialto}, It is the oldest bridge and in its center there are jewelry shops and souvenir shops, and on both of its ends are grand palaces, once the homes of the city's most important and wealthy families.

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

I highly recommend to go into the luxury shopping center Il Fondaco dei Tedeschi, right near the Rialto Bridge. Even if you’re not a fan of the brands, don’t miss a visit to its panoramic rooftop terrace. Entrance to the balcony is free {you have to reserve a place in advance on this site} and it looks over the beautiful view of the canals from above.

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

Another famous tourist attraction in Venice is of course, a gondola ride. It is considered one of the most iconic and romantic attractions in the city, and yet we decided to pass. Due to the fact that it was one of the things I wanted to do most in Venice, you’re probably wondering why….

Well, as soon as we arrived in Venice I realized how far this attraction is from being authentic and romantic. Despite how expensive it is {a ride for up to 6 people starts at 80 Euro for 40 minutes, and 100 Euro after 7pm} most tourists do not give up cruising the canals, and the seemingly romantic experience has become quite upsetting and involves getting stuck in traffic in the narrow canals {at least that’s what it looks like from the outside…}.

No doubt that sailing through Venice is an unique experience, but since we went on the hotel’s yacht at least twice a day, we felt  it would be a waste of money to insist on a gondola. If you still won’t give it up, you will probably want to do it relatively early {around 10am} and ask the gondolier to take you for a ride in the less toured areas, away form the center. Take into account that the price is fixed by the city authorities so it is impossible to bargain. Still, it is very important to be sure to agree on the exact price and the number of minutes before boarding.

 

 

Another attraction, less than 10 minutes away from the others, is Libreria Acqua Alta, a special bookstore that is famous for its crazy number of second hand books – and no less because of the way they are displayed in the store! The books are arranged in huge piles, some of them in gondolas, old bathtubs, and in the form of steps that lead to the store’s balcony.

 

 

EAT

When it comes to culinary, Venice has a pretty bad reputation. It has lots of tourist traps selling classic stereotypical Italian food like pizza, pasta, and focaccia, which is far from the authentic food that can be found all over Italy. The reason for this is that Venice has a different cuisine and separate from the classic Italian one – it specializes in seafood, polenta, rice-based dishes and, of course, Cicchetti, the Venetian equivalent of Spanish tapas and the classic Italian aperitivo.

Since we had a huge {and filling!} breakfast at the hotel, this time I do not have many recommendations for the city's top food spots – but the places we ate at were great! Take note…

SUSO a small ice cream parlor tucked away in one of the city’s alleyways. There is a large selection of flavors, we chose dark chocolate and salted caramel and it was perfect!

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

 

ROSSOPOMODORO  If you still can’t do without your daily portion of pizza {like me! ?} you’ll be glad to find out that there is a ROSSOPOMODORO branch in Venice and their specialty is amazing pizza among other things. This is one of the few places in the city that have a license to hold a wood oven {according to what I understood, following a huge fire at the Opera House in 1996, it is forbidden to have a wood oven}. We ate at this restaurant twice, on two different evenings in Venice {and once we even ordered a pizza to go!} And it was just perfect! The prices are reasonable and the menu is huge and offers a variety of fresh and tasty dishes. Don’t miss the smoked burrata appetizer.

 

 

ACQUERELLO If you’re interested in high cuisine, don’t miss the gourmet restaurant in the hotel we stayed at Kempinski San Clemente Palace. The hotel's exclusive restaurant serves varied menus based on seasonal local ingredients and offers an original interpretation of classic Italian and Venetian dishes. Like the ROSSOPOMODORO, the hotel also has a license to hold a wood oven, so every meal in the restaurant opens with a generous dish of fresh and extravagant pastries like focaccias, small baguettes and black rolls painted with squid ink {typical of Venice}, alongside fine olive oil. All of the dishes we ordered were interesting and special, and most important – tasty. The service in the restaurant was professional and the atmosphere – exclusive. If you want to celebrate a special occasion while you're in Venice, like a birthday or a wedding anniversary, or you just want to indulge yourself with an excellent meal – this is the place. {To get to the restaurant you can hop on the hotel's shuttle fo’ free}.

 

If you liked this pose share it on Fecbook and save to Pinterest!
Know more about interesting things to do in Venice? Leave me a comment below! ♡

 

Venice Travel Guide - things to do in Venice, including food recommendations and tips

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23 Responses

  1. Really appreciated. Great efforts I m also a blogger but so I am going to subscribe your blogs for the next update. keep sharing all the time I found some new pieces of information from your blogs.

  2. I really like to read your blog en watch your pictures on IG. You made beautiful pictures. I booked a trip to Venice. Can you please tell me where you took the picture of you eating pizza by the canal?

  3. I am going to Venise in a few months as a part of my honeymoon trip and our hotel is located only 2 minutes from the ROSSOPOMODORO ! I can’t wait to try it!

    Thank you for the recommendation!

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