Finding motivation to travel to Venice is not a hard thing. It is a well-known unique destination, very promoted on social media and placed on the top 10 destinations in many blogs and reviews. That means I came across with a lot of Venice photos on Instagram and other social networks, that I have always admired. Also, some years ago I got to see Venice for half a day and I knew there was so much more to discover. That's how I included Venice in a beautiful trip in the north of Italy this spring.
The unique fact about Venice is its location in the Venetian Lagoon with the amazing system of canals, linked by bridges and its water transportation. It is called "The Floating City" and is situated at only 3 m above sea. That's why, in its rainy periods, Venice is often flooded and Venitian people call it "aqua alta". It is said that Venice could dissapear in nearly 20 years, so you better hurry up if you want to visit it!
Where To Stay:
It is not a secret that Venice is an expensive destination. So, if you want to save on the budget avoid central locations. That is why we have chosen to stay in Venice Lido, at Hotel Atlanta Augustus, a very nice hotel, easy to access from the ferry station in Lido. The ferry station is next to San Marco Square and it takes only about 10-15 minutes (working non-stop) to Lido. We enjoyed very much staying at this hotel, nice and comfortable room, with beautiful balcony and rich breakfast. You can find many offers on Booking.com.
What To Do:
There are a lot of things to do and see in Venice. Some of them are so popular, filled with many tourists, but, in my opinion, the best way to feel the vibe of Venice is getting lost on the little stretts, bridges and taking a gondola ride, or more convenient the ferry no 1 on the Grand Canal.
1. Saint Mark's Square- wander across the square and take pictures with the beautiful Saint Mark's Basilica;
2. Saint Mark's Basilica- you must enter the basilica, the interior is amazing and for a panoramic view you can go up to the terrace (nice views of the St. Mark's Square and Saint Mark's Clocktower). Tip 1: don't queue if you haven't let your bag/backpack at the specific place that is written at the entrance of the basilica. The place for bags is easy to find and you can let there your baggage for 2 hours and it's free. Tip 2: don't rush to visit it in the morning, because the queues are bigger (also available for Saint Mark's Campanile)
3. Saint Mark's Campanile - seeing Venice from above is impressive and the campanile offers views to all the 4 directions (north, south, east, west) at the price of 8 euro ticket per person; I think the best time of the day to go is afternoon (good light and smaller queue).
4. Doge's Palace - unfortunately we only had the chance to see it from the outside, but the inside must be amazing too, as you also get to cross the Bridge of Sighs.
5. The Bridge of Sighs - beautiful architecture and magic athmosphere watching the goldolas pass under it at any minute.
Tip: Everybody tries to take shots with this bridge sitting on Ponte della Paglia, you will see how crowded Ponte della Paglia can get, so you need to know that there is a spectacular place from where you can take even more beautiful pics with the Bridge of Sighs behind you. You just need to get down from Ponte della Paglia on its right side (as you are looking towards the Bridge of Sighs), go left and approach the canal under Ponte della Paglia (bassicaly you need to go "under" Ponte della Paglia).
6. Dorsoduro and Cannaregio- just put the map away and get lost
7. Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute - amazing location with great history. It is said that it was constructed during the plague epidemy in order to ask the divinity for help; there are some statues in the basilica telling this story.
8. Ponte dell'Accademia- not to miss, offers great views to the Grand Canal
9. Rialto Bridge- beautiful architecture and views over the Grand Canal
10. Fondaco dei Tedeschi- not so touristy, the roof offers spectacular views over the Grand Canal and its surroundings
11. Church of Madonna dell'Orto
12. Small and cute bridges : Ponte delle Tete, Ponte Chiodo, Ponte delle Guglie, Ponte dei Tre Archi
13. Burano- the last, but not the least; the candy of the Venice Islands; colourful houses, seagulls, small canals and boats make you feel like being in a fairy tale; I higly recommed it! Stay here at least half a day.
There are many places to eat in Venice... Usually the central spots offer dishes at very high prices, but you can grab a sandwich or something on the go for a reasonable price even in the center, if you want to save time visiting. In Burano, we ate good at Su&Zo.
Favorite "Must Do"
I think is the ferry ride on the Grand Canal, because seeing Venice from water gives you an unique feeling, you can admire all its palaces alligned over the canal, you can hear the gondoliers sing Italian songs, you can smell the salty water and go under the beautiful bridges. We took it on our way back to the train station and it was a special moment, a magic conclusion of our trip to Venice.
Favorite "Must See"
It's hard to think of a favourite must see, but I will peak the Bridge of Sighs, from the spot I mentioned about.
Number 1 Travel Tip:
If you are willing to travel by ferry in Venice, buy Venezia Unica travel card. It also covers the routes to Burano and Murano islands and is very convenient.
5 Word Travel:
magic - bridges - canals - gondolas - architecture