If you are looking to plan a romantic getaway, honeymoon, anniversary trip, anything really… I highly recommend Venice! It is such a unique city, with great art, amazing food and waterfront views everywhere you turn!
In addition to Venice, we also visted Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome. I’ll be sharing about the other cities in future blog posts. With so many pictures and tips, I thought it would be best to break it down by city.
Tip 1. If you can, upgrade to business class, it makes such a huge difference on the long flights! And you get access to the business class lounge, which is a lifesaver if you have a long layover, like we did in London. Nine hours goes by much faster with free food, drinks and a complimentary massage (Thanks Elemis salon)!! Worth every point spent to upgrade!
Tip 2. Try not to land in Venice late at night. Being a city surrounded by water, your options for travel, especially late at night are more limited, and of course more expensive. If you are like us and that is your only option, you can book a water taxi at the desk in the airport when you land. The upside was we got a really cool introduction to the city driving in at night. I put my ISO on my Nikon D750 to the test, since it was after midnight, and pitch dark outside of the lights on the buildings. It was so magical to see the city all lit up at night!
Tip 3. Be prepared to pay cover charges, while in the US cover charges only happen at nightclubs, in most of Italy they are quite common. At some restaurants, if you refuse the bread you might get away with not paying it, but we found even when we did, that they often charged us. You can avoid this by getting a sandwich and standing, or taking it to go, but mostly you just suck it up and pay the small fee (which is just 2 or 3 euro per person at most places). We did get hit with a hefty “music charge” at the cafe on St. Mark’s Square, but the people watching and view was worth it!
Tip 4. When booking a room, check to see if any hotels you have status with are in the area, especially in cities like Venice where rooms can be on the pricier side. We used SPG points to stay at the beautiful Westin Europa and Regina, and loved it. The hotel is right on the water (the pics below are the view out the front door of the waterfront entrance).
Tip 5. Take time to explore the arts and culture of the area. We loved the Accademia museum, it’s not too big so you can see it all in a few hours. Saint Mark’s Basilica was also beautiful, but I highly recommend making an appointment, so you don’t have to stand in line. If you don’t get an appointment, look for a tour guide offering tours in English outside, we payed 20 euro, and it got us in with no wait, and we learned a lot more than we would have if we just strolled through on our own. There is so much rich history that you miss out on without the guide. If you are visiting the churches, be prepared you do have to have your shoulders covered up, I way over packed after reading this, but it turns out they do sell a covering type thing for 1 euro inside, if you forget or don’t want to be that covered up in the hot summer months. They didn’t seem as concerned about your knees being covered, which some of the books mentioned you needed as well.
Tip 6. See what local events are happening while you are in town. I would love to go during Carnivale, but that will have to wait for another trip. The Biennale art festival was there while we were visiting, so we got to check out some of the exhibits. The art displays are all over the city and free to enjoy. The picture at the top with the hands grabbing the building were a part of the exhibit as well the work pictured below. The below images are from an entire house that had been converted into an art piece called “Objection”. It was really interesting, and fun to photograph!
Tip 7. Go with the flow! I had to laugh at the sign below, as it is clear, the people here have a very laid back vibe! Wander, explore, and don’t be afraid to get a little lost, which you likely will! We did take the public boat transportation, and while it was crowded, it made it easy to cover more ground, in the two days we were there. Just be sure if you take boat to get your ticket stamped BEFORE you get on, or you might get hit with a serious fine, like the people standing next to us did! They seem to target tourist’s who don’t know better! The boat is also a great way to get pictures out on the water if you don’t want to splurge on the gondola ride.
Tip 8. If you do a gondola ride, I suggest going in the evening at sunset when the water ways are less crowded and it’s not as hot. If you don’t want to spring for a gondola ride (They can run about 100 euro, you can also take a water taxi, and get the same views for about half the price).
Our Favorite restaurants in the area was: Tratttoria Vini Da “Arturo” – It’s mostly locals, but the server did speak English well enough to help us order. They are known for their anti pastas, the pastas were also delicious, and the pork chop my husband and I shared, was huge and enough to feed an entire family! They have great stories about the celebrities to have dined there, as well as fun picture albums. It is a super small place, so it’s best to call ahead and make a reservation.
We ate at another good restaurant that I can’t remember the name of, but it was near the museum, and you have to be careful in those areas, because the food while good, was way over priced, especially in Venice! We did have some excellent fish being so close to the water.
Overall, we loved our time in Venice. We felt like two nights was good, a third night probably would have been a little better, so we weren’t so rushed, but you can see all the tops attractions and get a good feel for the are in two days.
I’ll be sharing about the rest of our trip in the coming weeks! Thanks for checking out the blog! If you have any questions, or want to share your favorite tips about Venice, feel free to comment below!