Venezia, the floating City is famous worldwide for being the city of masks, bridges, water and romance. If I had a sweet English pound for every time a couple went to Venice – seeking a holiday that would make their future grandchildren blush from their own Italian love story – All inclusive of giving each other googly eyes over the table of a restaurant by one of the bridges, whilst eating a plate of (incredibly delicious) spaghetti then I would probably be able to fund my travelling for a good few years or so.
My personal tale of Venice is one ever so slightly different to those in the movies. Remove the handsome male protagonist, and instil one best friend. Gone were the gondolas, and in their place was one tipsy ride in a Venezian guys boat who dropped us off as soon as he realised neither myself nor my blonde counterpart were going to bang him or his mate… (Cousin?)
As my friend and I were living in Italy at the time we didn’t get to Venice by plane. Instead we spent one last glorious night in Rome before hopping on the train the next day.
Just in case anyone reading this is interested in doing a similar journey… a quick search on http://www.italiarail.com/ will find you tickets for as cheap as £25 if you can be flexible with your times and dates.
We got up early and headed to Termini station for our trip. A little while into it had a great chat with a couple from Canada who were off to get shitfaced for a week or so at various different vineyards around Tuscany. And just FYI – they may or may not have been swingers.
The bulk of it…
Luckily for me and my friend there was absolutely no rushed itinerary to get through when we went to Venice as we had a good couple of days there. It kind of felt like we were just strolling around as there was no rush whatsoever, but looking back I guess we covered a lot of ground.
Arriving fairly late in the evening we kicked off the trip in the only way I deem acceptable, by grabbing a slice of tuna and onion pizza (sounds gross, but is actually amazing), and heading on down to Campo Santa Margherita for drinks. After we’d consumed enough wine and people were beginning to shut up shop we decided to jump in a boat for a tour of the city by water as I mentioned before… Only to end up getting dropped off at the wrong side of the canal and passing the next few hours wondering how to get home and falling over a lot… classy!
The next day we decided to take it a little bit easier and treat ourselves to ALL of the food. Seriously you don’t know what food heaven is until you are demolishing a plate of seafood pasta in Venice… delicioza!
I’d like to say we did everything there is to do when we went to Venice… but that would be a lie. But the best thing about Venice is that it doesn’t want you storming round like a storm trooper trying to get into all of the museums, and leaving no stone unturned. It wants you to take a casual stride by the Grand canal, and find your way to St Mark’s Square and treat yourself for your sheer brilliance of navigating with a large glass of vino while you chat to an American family about the NHS and listen to buskers.
Venice wants you to put down your guidebook and jump on a boat to Murano to watch someone mould a horse out of glass just because. Followed by another boat to Burano which is known for it’s cloth and beautifully coloured houses – just for you to take a walk through it and get stuck hiding under a shelter from the rain wondering why the world hates you so much.
Venice even wants you to go to Lido to it’s stupid little beach and grab a cup full of fruit from one of the beach bars, just because.
My Venice highlights:
- A lock-in at a restaurant with all the trimmings (free wine and general creepiness)
- Gatecrashing a honeymoon group of newlyweds and all their besties
- St Marco’s Square at night
- Learning how to navigate our way around the city. Okay I lied, I’m still puzzled – but my friend nailed it.
- Not getting any motion sickness on any of the boats… score!
- Walking. Everything is glorious!
Final words of advice…
- Don’t go to Venice for the raging nightlife – it’s not a thing. You can meet people and make your own thing, but if you’re a little clubbing animal that wants to dance the night away then Venice is not for you.
- Don’t forget a map. Venice is nigh on impossible to navigate.
- Don’t be afraid to veer away from the main areas. The little side streets are where you get the best prices and meet the best people.
- Don’t leave without admiring some of the masks and treating yourself to something hand crafted… (or in my case, some nice, new sandals)
- Don’t take a gondola ride unless you are rolling in it. You will probably get ripped off and you can enjoy water boats (granted, not quite the same) for less than a fraction of the price.