Are you planning a trip to Italy?
The land of talented painters, freshly made pasta, gelato, beautiful men, medieval castles and ice-capped mountains, and most importantly, the land of love. If you are getting all excited and can’t wait to visit this magical country, then you need to make sure to include Venice in your itinerary. Venice is well known for its winding canals, striking architecture, and beautiful bridges, one of the most picturesque cities I have ever been to.
Venice is located in Northern Italy, and it is the capital of the Veneto region. The city is built on more than one hundred small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. The city is famous for having canals instead of roads, and there are water taxies that can take you to any part of the city. Everyone I know who has ever been to Venice has the classic picture taken in a gondola or a vaporetti with a canal for a backdrop. Vaporetti is a motorized bus used by the locals for transportation around the city’s canals. The gondola is a small Venetian boat that is now used mostly by tourists and sometimes for weddings or funerals.
I was in Venice only once back in 2013, traveling from London, where I used to live on the way back home to Bulgaria. I love traveling, and I always find different routes when going home or traveling to the places I am located. Even though I have spent a day or two, I was amazed by the small streets, beautiful bridges, tasty food, and polite and welcoming locals. There are over 150 canals and 400 bridges making this place charming and attractive.
One of the main attractions is the central square, Piazza San Marco, where you can walk around and explore, have a nice lunch with freshly made pasta, or shop in the small shops offering Murano glass souvenirs. You will also find St. Mark’s Basilica, tied with Byzantine mosaics and the Campanile bell tower, offering a 360-degree view of the city’s red roofs.
A trip to Venice can be expensive, yet you can still find affordable small hotels where the accommodation will be decent, flights can be pricey if you travel from outside of Europe, but with proper research and planning, you can find good deals. There is a Venezia Unica card, which is the new city pass, offering all in one pass for public transportation, admission to attractions and cultural events, churches, and museums. The way the card is created is that you can go online and choose what you want to add to it, from transportation, airport transfers, water bus tickets, attraction entries, to even Wifi connection.
It is good to know that the closest airport is located on the mainland and it is newly renovated. The transfer from the airport to the mainland is approximately forty-five minutes. If you choose to fly to a bigger city in Italy and rent a car, you will need to take a ferry boat to the city. Remember that your Venezia Unica card also includes parking, so you can easily locate the nearest parking and then take a water bus, or hire a private water taxi to move around. If you are on a budget, you can go for the water bus, which is cheaper than the water taxi.
If you decide to visit the city of canals and bridges, you must make sure that you get on the gondola and explore this beautiful city. If you travel with your lover, you can also book a serenade tour, which includes a person playing on accordion or guitar who can also sing. Stories also tell that if you kiss your lover under the bridge at sunset, your love will be eternal. Most of the tours leave near Rialto bridge, one of the most famous bridges in Venice.
Taking a boat around will give you a chance to enjoy some of the beautiful landmarks, such as the Church of Santa Maria Formosa and the Bridge of Sighs. The bridge has received its name because prisoners would get their last view of the City of Venice on the way to prison. You can also spend a day visiting the island of Murano, well known for its long tradition of glass-making. Small stores offering hand made glass jewelry and souvenirs, the Museo del Vetro, and the Church of Santa Maria and San Donato are some of the places to visit while on the Murano island.
Venice can be pretty crowded as there are visitors from all around the world, and the cruise industry brings thousands of people every day, so I would recommend visiting offseason, which is early spring or late fall.
Accommodation: From luxury hotels to budget accommodation, there is a place for everyone, some of the top reviewed hotels are: Splendid Venice- Starhotels Collezione. If you prefer to stay in a high-end luxury hotel, Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is one of the best places if you are ok with paying a little more on accommodation. If you are from the people looking to spend some time away but still feel like at home, make sure to check Airbnb for great places to stay in Venice.
Attractions: I recommend buying the Venezia Unica card if you are visiting for more than a day or two and want to spend time exploring the beautiful and unique attractions.
Travel tips: I hope I was helpful, it is hard to put all the great moments and experience into a single post, so if you need more information, I highly recommend to get some of the guides for Venice, there is a kindle version that you can easily download or a paperback version. If you need more help in planning, check my Resources page.