The Floating City
Venice was built on pillars which have been slooowly sinking down into the Adriatic Sea. Sadly, it is continuing to sink and soon enough it will become the city underwater. So if you ever needed a nudge to explore this breathtaking city, do it now otherwise you’ll have to get scuba certified in order to explore it.
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Venice may be a tiny little city but it is packed with beauty and history, that makes it stand out on its own. Whether you have a week long in Venice or just a weekend stopover, the city will leave you in a daze (and not just because the fog makes it seem creepily magical). But be careful those traveling on a budget, Venice tends to be hidden with tourist traps that will inhale all the coins in your wallet.
– avoid crowded popular areas to eat or drink; most of these tables come with a charge
– explore the lesser pathways to find gifts and souvenirs
– food doesn’t always have to be purchased at a fancy restaurant, side streets with alley window are half the price and will still make your taste buds dance
-if you have access to a kitchen, why not test your culinary skills
-touristy headlines cost a lot, try the alternative
Your first day in Venice, you need to forget every tour book, every travel tip, every advice you’ve heard, read, received and just let your feet decide which way to go. Venice is basically one gigantic maze and the best way to see any city is to get lost in it. So do just that: get lost (buy gelato on the way) and you will magically discover everything your guide book told you to.
At some point or another, you will eventually find yourself in the heart of Venice: San Marco. This sestiere (which means: a subdivision of certain Italian towns) is filled with the tour guide hot spots that will ravish your eyeballs with detail.
St. Marks Square
The heart of Venice. From this point you can find just about every tourist site you need to see. Stand in the very center of the square and take a 360° panorama; first with your camera, in an attempt to capture this much beauty on lens. Then take some moments and let your eyeballs appreciate everything around you.
Be weary of tourist traps:
San Marco is filled with hungry and thirsty tourists who wish to sit in the infamous square surrounded by the beauties of Venice AND the restaurants are very aware of this. If you feel like sitting on the terrace outside and enjoying the views and people watching, don’t be alarmed to see bloated prices. Each table will add a couvert charge, which is normally around €2 and if you wish to enjoy a fine class of wine during the evening hours, that charge climbs to €6 because your drink comes with being serenaded by song and scenery.
Saint Mark’s Basilica
During the warmer months I have heard that it is best to go early because everyone wants to see this church and the lines can get extremely long. Fortunately in the winter time, the lines are not too bad.
Campanile Di San Marco
This bell tower gives you the perfect view of all of Venice. Climb up this tower and be amazed.
Doges Palace & Bridge of Sighs
Luckily for those short on time in Venice, everything is relativity close to one another; Doges Palace is next door to St. Mark’s Basilica. TIP: if the line is too long, go across the square to the Museum Correr and buy a combo ticket – which gets you into the museum and the palace without waiting in line.
If you have the extra time and the flexibility in the wallet I would suggest taking a romantic gondola ride with your loves, if not take the Vaporettos (the public water buses of the city). If you don’t want to spend upwards of €80 for a gondola ride but you still want to see the city through the waterways, these are a perfect alternative. You won’t be serenaded by an Italian in a black and white striped shirt but you will get the chance to see the beautiful architecture glistening along the water.
Wander the back alleys of Venice
In all my travels, the number one piece of advice I give to anyone is to get lost. Not so lost that it will take days to reorient yourself but lost enough so that you can learn to appreciate the culture you are in.
The best time to visit Venice; January for La Carnival
Besides being known for gondolas and canals (and pizza and gelato and pasta and everything magical every Italian city has to offer), Venice is known for a festival that is held at the end of January; La Carnival. Where the streets of Venice are transformed into a whirlwind of masks and elaborate dresses, glamorous costumes with exquisite designs. It is a carnival that I would highly recommend adding to your bucket list.
Until next time Venice.