After exams finished last semester, a girlfriend and I packed our bags and headed to Italy as a little treat for all of our hard work the weeks before. We hit up Verona for three days, and took an additional day-trip to Venice, a city I had been dying to see for years. We spent the day wandering the streets, enjoying delicious food, and just stopping to sit and enjoy the water (this California girl misses it on a daily). We went without a clue or a plan, and it truthfully ended up being the best idea ever. Today I wanted to take you guys through our day: the sites we ended up seeing, the food we ate (best ever) and my tips for your visit.
When we first got off of our bus (we took a FlixBus from Verona for about 5 Euros) we didn’t have the slightest idea where to start. After asking around we figured out that we could use a tram to get to the main part of the city, so we paid two Euros each and hopped onboard.
About 5 minutes later we were there! I was jumping out of my seat in excitement, after having spotted the blue water and bright little houses from the tram. We started walking, hoping to make our way into the city center. In my typical fashion, I stopped every three feet to take a picture. I couldn’t get enough of the gondolas and those little house-lined canals. I still can’t believe that people actually live here!
Before we treated ourselves to some lunch, we wanted to knock the big tourist stuff out of the way. After spending a good 30 minutes being lost in the mazes and mazes of side streets, we finally caved and asked a local for directions, only to find out that we had walked right past the Grand Canal several times. As soon as we arrived, I just fell in love. Despite throngs of tourists (and we were there in February, the off-season), we caught a moment of glorious sunshine, causing all of the red and pink tones to just light up.
Following, we made our way over to the Piazza San Marco, where we took a few moments to just sit and watch the ships pass by. Supposedly when the tide comes up the Piazza floods, but it was dry for our visit. I mean, look at that view though!
Finally, lunch time! Following advice from my father, we decided to treat ourselves to Falciani Ristorante, a divine restaurant located right in the shadow of the Cathedral in Piazza San Marco. While a little bit on the pricier side (think 15-20 Euros for a main), this meal was by far the best I had during my trip to Italy. While I went for the seafood pasta (pictured above), my travel buddy went for the ink pasta. I wish I had taken a picture, but it’s literally pasta covered in black ink, one of the most unique things I had ever tasted. We spent over an hour inside, taking in the beautiful view and giving ourselves a rest after all of the walking we had done.
After lunch we knew we wanted to get away from the crowds, so we headed to the quieter east-side of the island. And sure enough, once we got there we basically had the streets to ourselves. The next three hours were spent walking, photographing, and sometimes just sitting quietly to take it all in. Guys, my biggest piece of advice is go in the few weeks right between winter and spring. Visiting mid-February was the best idea ever: the city isn’t too full yet and the canals don’t smell too bad. Also, prices are lower on everything! We truly felt like we had the city to ourselves once we got away from the big crowds, and nothing could beat that.
When we headed back to Verona by train in the early evening I fell asleep within 5 minutes of the train ride because of how much we had done that day. I want to leave you with the tip to just kick back and enjoy this city. For me Venice is a place where you walk and see, rather than a place spent indoor in museums all day. Take in the salty air! As for me, I know that this trip will not not be my last visit to this magical floating city. Until next time Venice!