the city of venice was a concrete human maze. you get lost with every turn you make. venice is one of many islands built on the marshy lagoons of the adriatic sea. the architects of this charming little town must have previously worked as corn maze masters. you walk down one stone street just to find yet, another, stone street. everything in venice looks the same and is hidden. we spent over an hour rolling suitcases on patchy patches and searching for our hotel. after realizing we were going in circles [and a few complaints from me] we asked for help only to find our hotel right in front of us, go figure.
venice has its own unique beauty about it. to get from place to place you either hop the ferry, or walk it. there’s something kind of refreshing about that. the rialto bridge is hard to miss and quite beautiful. we spent our first night in venice walking the bridge and just looking around while taking everything in. after grabbing a quick bite to eat [the seafood is amazing] we walked around and found a little dock along the grand canal and just hung out. it was late into the evening and the once busy streets had emptied. there was a soothing lull complimented by the night’s breeze. this was probably my favorite moment in venice. the world had stopped spinning and it felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves. then, the world suddenly began spinning again as we headed back towards our hotel and were bombarded by rose salesman… [don’t they sleep!?]
the next day was spent admiring doges palace and st. mark’s basilica [which is free to enter!] both were stunningly beautiful masterpieces. st. mark’s basilica had an intimidating line, but it moved surprisingly quick and was worth the wait. after exploring we stopped for lunch then boarded one of the famous venice gondola rides. the romance of venice swept us down the grand canal as we viewed the bridge of sighs and learned about the history of some of the venetian homes we passed. as our ride came to a close we thanked our friendly gondolier and went on our way. we walked around the souvenir shops [which are on every corner] and enjoyed our remaining time in venice.
i could have enjoyed an extra day to walk around a little more and eat some delicious food, but truth be told, i was content and ready to explore rome by that point. venice is beautiful and full of charm, but felt very much like a tourist attraction and well, we were tourists and we were attracted but we were ready for some more rich italian culture and history.
travel tips for venice:
- locate your hotel prior to arriving. the best way to do this is get directions from the receptionist at the hotel.
- pack lightly. the streets of venice are very patchy, rolling a suitcase is do-able but rolling multiple would get very tiring very quickly. [i had a suitcase and a backpack]
- women must cover their shoulders and wear pants or shorts that extend to the knee to enter st. marks basilica. plan accordingly.
- try the seafood!