Do you recall my post where I told you we will be going on a magical trip to Italy to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary?? Well, we have just returned from 10 fantastic days away and I decided to write a post (or maybe several posts) on what we did, saw and visited.
We started our trip on Monday 28th May, which was a bank holiday in the UK and meant the airport was very, very busy.. Add a strike action in France and you have a trip destined for a delay.. Our plane left nearly two hours later than it was supposed to, but we were so eager we couldn’t wait to land! First stop – VENICE. What can I say.. as we left the airport on the water bus it was quite a surreal feeling as we approached Venice… first impressions – simply wow!
We were staying at the Hotel Ca ‘Vendramin in Santa Fosca in the Cannaregio area. We took the water bus (orange line) and got off at Guglie stop and walked over to the hotel. Even this walk was magical, I felt like I was in a movie. Our hotel turned out to be an old palace which was transformed into a beautiful hotel. Our room was spacious with a beautiful view to the courtyard.. and it was so QUIET… apart from the church bells and birds singing we had the most restful sleep!
The first day we explored Venice on foot, got lost in the small streets and visited the beautiful sights.
We enjoyed a walk over the Rialto Bridge and made our way to St, Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace and the Basilica. It is so beautiful and you definitely feel like you enter a movie set as soon as you set foot at St. Mark’s Square. There was a big queue outside the Basilica and I was so surprised that the entrance was free! The queue went down really quickly and it was definitely worth the wait..
We finished our day with a nice Aperol Spritz outside the Rialto Bridge watching the world go by.. I felt sorry for the people who were working away in the heat. It was so bizzare seeing bin men and couriers take things away on boats!!
As we were sipping our drinks we were debating about whether or not to take the gondola ride (it was expensive for 30 minutes and such a tourist thing to do!! lol) The weather started to cloud over and it looked like it was going to rain soon.. we decided it was now or never!! So we did it!!!!
It was pricey (official price is 80EUR for 30 minutes and 100EUR after 7pm), but honestly it was the highlight of that day.. the half an hour went so quick and it was absolutely amazing gliding along the canal listening to the various facts about the buildings and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Our second day was equally amazing. We got 24 hour tickets, which meant we could take any transport using our ticket and travel around Venice (hop on/off style!). We visited the Murano Island and the Isola di San Michele (the Cemetery).
If you are visiting Venice I highly recommend getting the 24/48/72 hour ticket, then you can jump on/off the public transport and visit places you didn’t think you could. You can buy them at the main ‘bus’ stations (we got ours near the train station). That’s how we ended up at the Cemetery island (on our way back from Murano and it was such a beautiful place I didn’t even know existed). We also went around in the boat bus around the other side of Venice and saw lovely views. We even saw a hospital with ambulance boats (we don’t see those every day!)!!
After a quick lunch, we took the water bus to Santa Maria della Salute and explored the area. It must be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen!!!
As we were walking around the area, I also got the chance to speak to a local artist, who painted the most amazing Venetian sceneries, whilst we were talking, he showed me how he drew the building using just a piece of black chalk. I was mesmerised.. After I purchased one of his paintings, he was so lovely he gifted me the chalk drawing too! A lovely end to a magical day.
We dined at a gem of a place called Trattoria Bar Pontini. The seafood spaghetti was out of this world!!! If you are ever in the area – it is definitely worth a visit!! The staff were amazing and prices were very good too (Aperol Spritz was only £3.50!!!)
I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos… Next installment – Florence is coming soon!!
Things to remember:- dress code – if you are planning on visiting churches (and you definitely should!!), you must cover your shoulders and knees, I kept a shawl in the bagpack at all times. We visited Italy in May/June and it was very hot, so remember to drink plenty of water, use sun cream and wear a hat!
Restaurants – I was told to stay away from places which were very ‘touristy‘ as soon as you see a menu in more than 3 languages with photos and flags on – stay clear! We had a meal in of those on our first night simply because we were tired and hungry.. and meal was just so average, but for premium prices (main course & drink for 2 = EUR50!) We looked for smaller restaurants and cafes and had such amazing food on our trip. Best tip I was given – go where the locals are going!
Large Bags/Items – worth keeping in mind some places won’t allow large bagpacks… We weren’t allowed in with the bagpack at the St Marks Basilica, but there is place where you can leave your bags free of charge, just ask the lovely guards!