When I first set foot in Venice I was stupefied at the beauty that this small city carries: It may be an old city but oh so charming with the charismatic old houses alongside the canals, countless bridges, the delicious scent of food lingering in the air, beautifully crafted gondolas, its magnificent architecture, … And I do admit that a city built on water does has its charms. I can now happily scratch Venice off my bucket list thanks to the loveliest boyfriend ever.
Venice has always been and will always be a tourist city but September seems like the perfect time of the year to go: Definitely not too crowded and the weather was pitch perfect but is Venice the ultimate romantic getaway? I’m not too sure actually. I personally think that it’s too touristy to be romantic and although it’s such a charming city, it somehow loses its romantic vibes when surrounded with tourists only. Venice should also be very pretty during winter, so I’ve heard, so maybe I should return then and reconsider?
WHAT TO DO?
Everyone needs to have a peek into St. Mark’s basilica as it’s undoubtedly the prettiest cathedral I’ve ever seen — not that I’ve seen that many but still. I’m still baffled at the thought of its craftsmanship. It has an opulent design with an interior gorgeously gilded with mosaics. Visiting the first floor is undoubtedly worth paying the five euros. Seeing the mosaic designs up close blowed me away whilst outside you get a view that’s definitely worth the pennies. Adjacent to St. Mark’s basilica you have the Doge Palace which has a ballroom that’s beyond beautiful and as bonus you get an amazing view over St. Mark’s Square and the Adriatic Sea. Unfortunately I didn’t made it to Guggenheim’s museum but it’s something I saved for my next visit I guess.
A gondola ride certainly doesn’t come cheap and it’s over before you know it, but it’s one of those things that you have to do at least once in your lifetime. Every gondola is hand made and worth around a show-stopping 40 000euros. Words of wisdom: Choose a gondola to your liking and try to find a nice gondelier, not that they are an exception but some do seem quiet annoying. Have either a ride in the morning or evening to avoid traffic jams, yes traffic jams, you’ve read well.
Whenever I’m near the Rialto bridge, I have to take a break and breath in the stunning view. It’s so breathtakingly beautiful that it has become my eye’s addiction — Does that even exist? Then there’s the Rialto Market, closed on Sunday and Monday, which is definitely worth a visit in the mornings, and let me warn you: You’re gonna get hungry!
When you’ve seen the typical touristy areas, it’s time to get lost in Venice. Put your walking shoes on and take side roads instead, and discover Venice in all its glory. You’ll be surprised what’s there to find. In case your feet get tired or for the non-courageous amongst us, have a seat on a vaporetti which is the easiest way to get around in Venice.
When you have some time to spare, have a trip to MBT (Murano, Burano, Torcello). We’ve only done Murano though which is very well-known for making everything Murano glass-related. Everything is hand-made which you can witness in multiple ateliers.
WHAT TO EAT
Life within the walls of Venice is very well relaxed: Locals eating cicchetti alongside the canals whilst sipping a glass of prosecco and enjoying life really. Others have a leechless stroll with their dogs or have a gelato ice cream to enjoy. Venice is (unfortunately) not the city of pastas and pizzas but definitely one of fish. But if you do your research well, I can guarantee that there are some gems out there. Have a romantic tete-a-tete on a deck alongside the water and expect an unforgettable night with a beautiful sunset.
Pastas: Go to Dal Moro’s for fresh pastas to go, so incredibly tasty! You won’t regret.
Street food: Acqua & Mais for fish, Antico Forno for pizza, Gelato Fantasy for the best ice cream!
Dinner: Al Giubagio, La Piscina both with a beautiful table on the deck with view over the Venetian water.
WHERE TO STAY
We’ve stayed at a hotel named Ca’ Nigra which disposes of a gorgeous rose garden along the Grand Canal. Can I just address how heavenly it smelled there? Highly addictive. We’ve booked it very last minute whilst everything was basically sold out. So is it your best bet? No idea but I certainly don’t regret our stay there.
I feel like I’ve overdone the adjectives but Venice has really captured my heart in every possible way. It’s unlike any other city that I’ve ever encountered. It has that ancient feel to it which makes it so incredibly unique yet beautiful. At every turn at every corner, there’s something new to discover. It’s perfect within its imperfections. There’s not one car sound to witness and the fact that you’re surrounded with water is rather peaceful and calming. Let your senses free and enjoy this floating city to the fullest. It’s the perfect getaway for when you want to break free and take refuge somewhere serene. Now let me reminisce those picturesque views and most importantly, the good memories.