First off, Venice is beautiful even if it was pouring rain the whole day we were there. The history is extensive. The winding streets are beautiful.
Helpful tip for you to know, if you are flying into “Venice” at VCE, you are not arriving on the island of Venice, you still have to take a train or water ferry onto the island.
Water Ferry/Bus: This was very convenient as the Alilaguna orange line takes you directly to the island of Venice. It was about a 30-minute ride, and we were the first stop at MORT, or Madonna Dell’Orto. The tickets were 15 euro and we bought them at the airport. Just follow the signs throughout the airport that say Water Transport (they are blue) and they will lead you to the docs.
Grand Hotel Dei Dogi, Autograph Collections, was a two-minute walk from the water ferry, but about a 30-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square. It was absolutely beautiful inside of the hotel. The room was huge and had an amazing view of the canal.
$78 St. Marks Square Tour: This was worth it because it gave us access and a guided tour to all levels of St. Mark’s Cathedral, the Doge’s Palace, and Bridge of Sighs. Our tour guide was amazing (her name was Martina) and shared a great amount of history regarding each place. This was a 3-hour walking tour, and they provide headsets so you could hear what the tour guide was saying while walking through each place. We also took a 15-minute break in between and were able to get some coffee from the café and use the restroom (most public bathrooms cost 1 euro, but these were free). You cannot take pictures in St. Mark’s Cathedral, but you can in the Doge’s Palace. Since we went in December, it was cold and rainy, so bring bundle up and bring an umbrella!
After the tour, we wandered around St. Mark’s Square, which was beautiful at night. They had Christmas decoration up, with thousands of lights hanging from the walkways. There are a lot of shops nearby, but the farther you get away from St. Mark’s Square the cheaper everything will be because they are less touristy areas.
For dinner, we just found a local place that was about five minutes from our hotel, called Al Timon Eno-Ostaire. Venice is known for their white wine (Prosecco) and their sea food (because they are an island). Our tour guide also recommended si cicheti, which is basically bread with a variety of toppings, such as meat, fish, or veggie. They cost about 1 euro each, so you can try a lot of different ones. These were delicious. Also, this restaurant gave a free shot of limoncello, which was very kind. It is a small restaurant, but we only had to wait 10 minutes for a table. We got two bottles of Prosecco, 8 different types of si cicheti, the gnocchi and another pasta dish (I forgot the name), but it was layered and delicious.
The next day, we bought a cappuccino at the hotel breakfast. Then, we walked to the Venice Train Station (full name: Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia) for our train ride to Florence. This was a 15-minute walk, which was beautiful and takes you down more winding roads. It can be difficult, because it is cobblestone throughout the entire city, so dragging our suitcases along was a bit of a struggle, but we managed.
For the Future: I feel I was able to see everything in Venice that I wanted in a day; other than due to the weather, we were not able to do a gondola ride. For my next visit, that will be at the top of my list!
Overall, Venice was absolutely beautiful and a great place to start our journey through Italy!
Ciao Venezia! And on to Firenze (Florence)!