Well I’m going to be a little bias when it comes to Venice. It’ beautiful and of course unique, but it’s also the place where I got engaged and so it holds a special place in my heart. First off, let me talk about the obvious….the canals. When you get off the train at Santa Lucia you will see one of the most spectacular things ever; a city in water.
Now, if you plan on going during high season you must prepare yourself for the amount of tourists! It is busy! In addition, street vendors are scattered throughout; selling a number of fake designer merchandise. To top it off, the heat! It can be unbearable at times. Am I painting a pretty picture? Just wait….
I have been to Venice a number of times now, and I will be the first to say….it does not smell. I hear people complaining about the smell of the water…I’ve been there on days where the temperature has reached 40+ degrees celcius, and I will be the first to say that I didn’t smell a thing. I’ve experienced a gondola ride and again I can honestly say I didn’t smell a thing. So dismiss that rumor now! Venice definitely does not have an odor.
Ok so what’s there to do in Venice? Well, first off I recommend buying yourself a map…there are many intricate and hidden paths throughout this city and very easy to end up somewhere else. If you do, don’t fret! Sometimes it’s best to get lost!
Let’s talk about the obvious things to do in Venice:
- Murano Glass – there are tons of shops that sell this glass; vases, jewelry, keepsakes…you really should buy something made of murano. It’s fabulous.
- Gondola ride – when in Venice….I mean really how can you not?
- Piazza San Marco – the beautiful square where you can feed the pigeons. Trust me when I say they don’t fear people!
- The Rialto – It’s the must see bridge in Venice. You’ll know it when you see it!
So how about for the not-so-obvious things to do while in Venice. Well this is the fun part.
First, don’t sleep in Venice..stay in Mestre. Specifically stay at the Best Western Bologna. Dragging your luggage around, and carrying it on and off the water taxis can be quite the brutal experience. If you are taking the train get off on the next stop, Mestre. Right when you get off, the Best Western (a 4-star to North American standards) will be right there! If you want to go to Venice, your trip will cost you 1 euro.
Secondly…shop for leather. I have found that leather goods are a little cheaper here. If you need a wallet, a purse or belt this is where to get it. I know everyone says wait until Florence, and you can. But I find the quality of leather to be much better in Venice. I will leave it to you to decide.
If you have a car, take the time to go to the nearby town of Trieste. It’s a tiny town, but the views on your way are spectacular! Up the winding mountains and narrow streets would make anyone nervous..but it’s worth every minute. Stop off at the Miramare Castle which houses a variety of artwork and explore the large grounds. If you are in need of a cold snack, go to the Gelataria bar in the city center. Trieste is a hidden gem…so if you have time, go!
- Pizza – funny I say this…but don’t buy any regular pizza in Venice. Look for the places that sell pizza out of the windows. This can be a difficult task, but well worth the search. It’s their version of pizza-to-go…but super tasty!
- Romance – Venice is romantic (here’s the bias part of my entry!) If you are there with a loved one it’s a much different experience than going with your friends. The energy is different, you notice different things. In the evening there are a number of violinists and singers along the streets. The city is dimly lit, the canals are dark…but somehow for a city so full of people, it feels quiet. It’s never a bad idea to share this city with the one you love…..
See you next time…..