My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to Italia this year and documented our experiences during that time. We wanted to share with you in depth our experience in this beautiful country and give you some recommendations and suggestions. Our first stop was Venice which we stayed a total of 4 days. I hope you enjoy my pictures.
As an avid traveller Venice has always been on my bucket list of places to visit. From the history to the sighs its a hot spot and for good reason, it’s such a unique place to see making it one of a kind. This would be any destination wedding photographers dream to shoot a wedding down the narrow pathways and canals of Venice. I am hoping I get a chance one day;) Below is a day by day detailed breakdown of what we did as well as some recommendations for stay, eating out, and sights.
VENICE THE CITY OF LOVE
Some fun facts about the city:
- Venice has a collection of 115 tiny islands
- Casanova escaped the Bridge of Sighs than wrote about it in one of his books
- Venice has about 150 canals
- Over 417 pedestrian foot bridges
- Venice is sinking 1-2 millimetres every year
- According to Venetian tradition, the couple riding in gondola should kiss under each bridge and they will stay in love forever.
- There are 400 gondoliers in the city of Venice
June 07 – With the time change we have had troubles sleeping the night before, but who needs sleep when you just arrived to Italy. Since we were so excited we were up way earlier than we should’ve been. We got dressed checked out of our hotel and hit the town. We went to the Roma Termini which is the biggest train station I have ever laid my eyes on. Absolutely massive and the hub for all inbound and outbound trains in Italy. Before our train arrived we enjoyed a prosciutto sandwich at a local cafe. Prosciutto is my husband and I’s favourite cured meat so we were just in complete bliss, just scarfing down the sandwich. People probably thought we were starved or something.
We got on the train and it left right on time. We booked our tickets through Trenitalia online and since time is limited decided to take the bullet train to Venice. It was about a 4 hour trip going 283km/h, which is the fastest I have ever gone on anything before. We people watched for most of the ride as it made stops in Podova, Bologna, Firenze, & smaller towns and new people would come and go. There was this adorable Italian couple that were going to Venice for a weekend and they held hands the whole way just laughing with each other. I look forward to the life me and my husband share and can be as cute as those two 30 years from now. Once we finally made it to Venice the entrance to the city from the stazioni is amazing. It opens up to this big square which is right next to the grand Canal on the west side, a little further up you see the scalzi bridge, just seeing it altogether took our breathes away.
As anxious as we were to see everything we needed to get the most important thing out of the way, check into our apartment. We met the host at a quaint location just off “Campo San Piedro” at number 926. As we were guided inside we were very impressed with the state of the place. Our host Francesca made sure to include every little detail to make our two nights perfect.Not to mention our window backed onto a canal couldn’t get a better view.
The place can be found here—–> https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/876262 .
After dropping off our things we stopped in for a quick bite to the nearest trattoria. We both had Neapolitan style pizzas and spritz. Spritz is Italy’s national drink it is a refreshing drink that has a bitter aftertaste. We got addicted to those spritzes and they were kind off a staple of our whole trip;) Once we finished our meal we just walked, walked till our feet were sore and blistering. There is so much to see and the nice thing is you can walk almost everywhere, except if you need to get to the other islands you take a vaporetto. We got all the way to the east side where San Marco square is. What a beautiful place to soak Venice in. The square is big and spacious with little cafes along the edge where people are enjoying their cappuccino’s and Italian desserts. The most impressive building in my opinion was Doge’s Palace. It has such intricate designs along the top with a uniform tiled pattern among the whole wall. I just couldn’t get enough. We sat down on a bench and just looked for a while. While travelling you need to just relax once in a while and catch your breath. I know that time is limited so you want to see as much as you possibly can but you need to give yourself time to stop and really enjoy something. We relaxed taking pictures and lingering in that spot for a while as it was just beautiful.
The Bridge of sighs is just behind Doge’s palace so we overlooked that canal and took some pictures. Probably the busiest canal I have seen with gondoliers in all of Venice. I loved the view of the bridge and the canal below, the picture I took there is one of my favourites from all my pictures of Venice.
At that moment we were itching for our first gelato in Italy. We went on tripadvisor and were told to go to this place called La Mella Verde. It was hard to find as its hidden in the northeast corner of Venice, but was it well worth the search. OH MY GOSH BEST GELATO!!! we have had on our trip hands down. We just couldn’t get enough. I had a lime/mint/basil flavour and my husband had a Vanilla and flavour. We took our gelato’s sat on a step on one of the 417 bridges of Venice snapped a pic and enjoyed our ice cream with immense pleasure. We returned the next day for round two because we just couldn’t get enough.
By this time it was about 7pm, we wanted to get some dinner so we returned to our room so we can get changed and go out for dinner. We tried this place that was spitting distance from our hotel. It was called “Alla Ferrata“. We both started with a caprese for our antipasti, one of our favourite salads after greek salad and worked our way into the main. The main was oh so delicious, I don’t know if its because it was our first day of eating in Italy or if food in Venice is really good, but we loved all the food we got in Venice. I ordered a peppercorn steak fillet and Manuel ordered a spaghetti bolognese. Ok I can be a beef snob as I am from Alberta and I have an opinion however this beef was wonderful, not only was it tender, the flavour of the beef was fantastic. It was prepared way better than I have ever had a peppercorn steak prepared for me in Calgary. Man just thinking back on that steak makes my mouth water. After our bellies were full the owner came to our table and took two limoncello shots with us. This was after we already downed a bottle of Prosecco. But you know Italy, drink and eat till your hearts content and be merry;)
We got a different perspective of Venice while exploring it at night. Whether its day or night Venice will steal your heart either way.
June 08 – What an amazing day in Venice, filled with fun and history. This entry is going to be long because we did so much this day, so without further adieu lets begin.
Woke up after having the first real sleep since leaving Canada, so I was feeling pretty rested and ready to take on the day. The weather was really hot that day without a single cloud in the sky.We headed for the middle of Venice to look for a breakfast. We stumbled upon this cafe that served fresh fruit juices and healthy breakfasts. We both ordered sandwiches and cappuccinos. I have been off of coffee for well over a decade as it upsets my IBS. However coming to Italy I needed to suck it up and have some as that is one of the things Italy is known for. I had a full cup and wow, just wow I cant even describe to you how amazing it was. It went down so smoothly, the taste was so complex full of nodes of hazelnut and cream. I wanted another one but had to cut myself off. I actually love the portions in Italy as they are on the smaller scale and it leaves you feeling just right. You never over eat or feel sick because there was just too much food. Its perfect. The cappuccinos were so dainty it was all we needed.
We had the energy we needed and walked all around the whole island exploring the less busy spots on the south side by the Santa Maria della Salute church and the Dorsoduro. We came across the Peggy Guggenheim museum and since I have never been to any Guggenheim museums ever in my life I needed to see it for myself. We bought two tickets, dropped off our bags in the lockers and went through the admission gates. As it turns out Jackson Pollock had an exhibition there during the time that we went so we were able to see the evolution of his art as he transitioned from more realism to the abstract style he is known for. We saw some Picasso pieces, Salvadore Dali work, and Ernst Max. All these artists I remember learning about in history class in art school. At the time it was super boring but seeing the paintings up close really makes you appreciate the intention behind the work. After we checked out the museum and spent some time in there we discovered that side of the city.
So what made this day super duper special was the gondola ride we managed to sneak in that crazy hectic day. When we were walking a gondolier called to us and told us he can offer us a really good deal. We were open to the idea as it was one of the things we had to do before leaving Venice. He offered us a ride for half price because as it turns out he was booked for a gondola 45 minutes from the time we saw him and he was bored. So we hopped on the boat and on the way we went.The Gondolier took us down the Grande Canal and told us what the buildings were along the way. It was cool because I saw a lot of gondoliers just on their phones and not giving his passengers the time of day. We got lucky with ours he was really nice and informative. After about a half an hour ride we disembarked and went back to the hotel as it was time to get ready for the theatre show. The theatre show was called “Teatro San Gallo” and its the only traditional venetian theatre in english in all of Venice. The theatre is located just a few steps from San Marco square and is really cute. The theatre itself was a small room with a stage at the front with high ceilings. The way the production worked was really creative. The actors would have their skit and than they would freeze and a flashback was played in the style of a movie projection on the walls. They also used the whole space to make it interesting and even engaged the audience at parts. We enjoyed the play a lot and thought it was well worth the money paid. Because we opted for a dinner and show we were than sent to the restaurant that partners with the theatre. The restaurant was called “Ristorante Venezia Felice”. The owner was there and he served us. Nice place overall and the lasagna was to die for. It had the perfect combination of cheese to meat portioning we left there well satisfied.
Since this was our last night in Venice we decided to walk and see as much as we can before leaving for the coast to Cinque terre the next day. We ended up in the “ghetto” which was the northwest part of town and interesting piece of information we learnt was thats where the word originally came to pass, when jewish immigrants settled there. Its funny because using that word we never thought of where it came from, as well as how different the meaning is between western and european cultures. Good to know.
Venice you stole our hearts, we will definitely back one day to revisit the things we have missed. Until next time