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Built on more than 100 small islands, Venice is the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, located in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. There are no roads, only canals.
The Venice Everyone Visualises
Joined by my partner in crime before heading off to work, I had company for a few hours. Roaming the tiny streets and many bridges, we drank espresso whilst soaking up the sights. An ambulance boat, the romanticised gondolas, the illustrious architecture; I honestly didn’t know where to turn first, it was a cacophony of sound amongst the throng of tourists.
Advised that street names in Venice were unique to the area, I concluded I’d stick with my basic Italian knowledge and revisit Venetian specialties another time. Long associated with Venice, the winged lions were also pointed out to me, which can be found in many places ranging from plaques to doorknockers. They can be seen on the signs along the Venetian part of the motorway, too.
Perusing shops, was obvious that Venetian masks are still popular though nobody seems to wear them when visiting the theatre these days. Murano glassware is also held in high esteem however many shops sell fakes.
Looking to make the most out of our limited time together we opted for a kebab. After spending a small fortune in a Pasticceria, we also had a selection of posh cakes for afters.
Sat barefoot and cross-legged by the canal, the impromptu picnic was one if the most enjoyable lunches I’ve had to date. Great company, charming views, and an enchanting atmosphere, Venice truly lived up to romantic expectations. Even the finer details are still etched on my mind; I chuckled writing this, remembering the water catching us unexpectedly as a boat passed.
My brief Venetian lesson over quicker than either of us wanted, we said our goodbyes and parted ways.
The Solo Bit
With a lack of direction, I unwittingly retraced many steps. Thankfully, at this point, it was still light, and I found the square I was looking for.
Everyone always tells you about the sights in Venice, but to experience it in person is something else. St Mark’s square with its musicians as plentiful as its cafes, held me in rapture as I listened to the classical pieces and took in the architectural feats surrounding me.
Alongside, sits the angel-topped spire of St Mark's Campanile offering far-reaching views. Thought to have originated as a watchtower, this has Roman foundations and has also been a lighthouse for shipping. Galileo used the campanile as an observatory to study the skies. Here, in 1609, he demonstrated his telescope to the Lords.
Doge’s Palace is a stunning piece of Renaissance influenced work, an appealing exterior exceed only by its opulent interior. As with every attraction in Venice, I’d book in advance as there were so many tourists.
It’s hard to believe that this incredible city is built on wooden stilts and sinking. I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to experience it before it is lost to the sea, and I truly hope it defies predictions.
Food and Beverages
Bar Redentore was a good spot for coffee, situated next to the canal with a good selection of snacks, all reasonably priced.
Spigola SRL was the place I chose for pizza. Not too badly priced in comparison to the rest of the area, I was happy with my order.
Caffetteria Goppion Rialto was my go-to spot for cannoli. There were a few enquiring glances in the hostel kitchen when I opened these but I devoured them all.
As much as I wanted to try it, I didn’t want to wait in another queue so I didn’t end up visiting Antica Trattoria Poste Vecie, the oldest restaurant in Venice.
Walking around Venice at night, I really struggled to navigate the streets, as they all looked the same. Deciding not to party, I retired to my dorm early each evening.
Foresteria Sociale Venice S.Marco By NewGeneration was a great hostel, ideally located and easy to book. Having paid just £29 a night, this was the easiest way to save money in Venice. My other stays in Mestre and Marghera were equally as cheap but quite a distance from the island.
The buses were regular and cheap (I believe €1.50 each way), so staying further afield is still a feasible option.
Venice? Completed It Mate.
Having kissed an Italian in Venice, I’d say it was up there as one of my most romantic experiences, too. Living the dream, right!
Though I can see why it captures hearts across the world, I prefer other parts of Italy. Bergamo is one such area that has enchanted my soul. I shall eventually blog about the rest of my Italian adventures…
Although eating kebab and posh desserts barefoot alongside the canal may not be classy, it was a highlight for me. Being solo yet surrounded by couples for the majority of my stay may have marred my opinion slightly, but it is certainly still an interesting location.
Visit regardless of whether you are solo or not, there’s a lot to see. My advice is to ensure you download a map of the area because it is easy to get lost. Also, if you don’t wish to pay extortionate prices for the gondola, hop on the traghetto for a mere €2. I paid a little more for an extended gondola trip, but it was something I had on my bucket list, and I wanted a full experience.