I spent 3 nights and 3 full days in Venice, It was my first time in Italy and I absolutely loved it and discovered why everyone’s eyes sparkle when they talk about Italy and Venice. The tiny city is full of magic, versatile architecture, colorful Venetians, life in every corner and bite – In only 3 days I have fallen in love with Venice. If saw a girl walking around with her sparkling eyes up and around, Nikon camera and heard the beating of her heart, it was me and here are the 7 things that made me fall in love with Venice from first glance
- The Venetians
I loved Venice because it’s so alive – It’s narrow alleys, stunning big squares and even windows, offer a glimpse into the city’s heart, the Venetians. Just when you think you have found the alley that takes you far from the busy main streets, full of tourists, just then, around the corner you step into a wonderful Venetian neighborhood, a square where Venetian ladies sit on the bench gossiping, children playing hide & seek among the magnificent buildings, or a lady’s head popping out of an old building, to see what’s new and up in the city. It is just so lively and makes you want to find a corner and watch the city’s life, its people and of course it’s exactly what I did with my Nikon
2. The Streets of Venice
Venice is known for its canals and Gondolas. They are definitely something special, but the streets, have stolen a piece of my heart. I loved walking through the streets, following a woman or a pair of nuns, and finding myself wandering around the city, in its captivating maze of people, bridges and canals, until I couldn’t feel my feet. If you ever travel to Venice, allow yourself to loose the map, go lost and maybe you will find yourself standing on the doorstep of a hidden architectural gem, or have a canal all to yourself, no tourists around.
3. The Canals
Water buses, water taxis, canals and gondolas. One of the reasons I traveled to Venice was that it is like no other city I have ever seen. Surrounded with water and full of small bridges and one Grand Canal, it was fascinating to watch everyday life in a city built on water. Walking over one bridge to the second bridge when long and decorated gondolas are right bellow you, was one of my favorite things in Venice.
4. Libreria Acqua Alta
The gondola was the center piece even in to most enchanting bookstore in Venice. Libreria Acqua Alta is a second hand book store not far from San Marco square and home to old books and a cat. There are books everywhere, in a tub, a gondola, on shelves and in boxes, mostly in Italian, but even if you don’t the language, like me, it is totally worth a visit.
5. Venetian Architecture
Wow, all those colors, windows, chiesas are simply spectacular. Gothic, Byzantine and Islamic forms overlaying a Latin Christian foundation create a Venetian architectural fusion so special and impressive that such a small city can be so rich, a world on its own to explore.
6. San Marco Square
Just like any other landmark in Venice, San Marco Square is accessible through one narrow alley, a street and many bridges to cross over. But, once you pass the last passage and enter Piazza San Marco, wow, just wow. It’s the main public square – Vast, open, with extremely expensive restaurants, live classic music played at the restaurants, tourists, souvenirs stands and Church of San Marco, the Campanile, Ala Napoleonica and Procuratie, making today the Museo Civico Correr, Museo del Risorgimento, and the Museo Archeologico. Three very different buildings, that together create one of the most stunning squares I have ever seen, San Marco Square. It literary took my breath away – beautiful in its versatility that comes together in harmony – the beauty in chaos.
7. Italian Pasta, Cappuccino, and pastry
Italian food is divine. I love Cappuccino, I enjoy drinking my coffee sitting down, but If you want to do it Italian style – An Espresso straight and standing up, quick and your ready to start your day.
There are many museums and art galleries in Venice. Art is the soul of the city and is everywhere; on every corner, building and even sidewalk. I can’t recommend any museums as the entrance fee is expensive and I didn’t buy combo tickets. I still found some amazing art pieces and artists in action, capturing Venice and its art scene. The trick is to be an active and curious tourist, this way you really discover and enjoy everything the city has to offer, for free!
Falling in love with Venice was completely unexpected. After all it hasn’t been my first trip or first time in Europe. But, it’s such a lively and stunning city with such rich history, stunning architectural blend and those Italians, they really know how to enjoy life. I didn’t do Venice the classic way and preferred to stay away from the main and crowded touristic sites and go far into the Venetian neighborhoods, the narrow alleys that really reveal how life really is – from laundry hanging from the windows, children playing and young people taking a moment and relaxing near the canals. This is how I prefer to travel and discover the real soul of a city and place. I am definitely coming back to Italy, soon, so keep following…
But before that, a few practical things about traveling to Venice – to read and save:
- Venice is very expensive – from food to museum entrance. Plan ahead and check for discounted tickets and if you are traveling on a budget plan your daily budget before.
- Instead of staying in Venice itself, I stayed in Mestre, a near town, only a 15 minutes’ bus ride from Venice. Anda hostel was my home for 3 nights, just 5 minutes from the bus stop and train station as I had also did a great day trip to Treviso (in my next blog post). The hostel has a cool modern design, bar in the evenings and great atmosphere. The bus fare is 1.50 euros per each direction and buses run all day until 12am.