While I lived in Spain, Italy was one of the most affordable places to go. Rome, Bologna…it was easy to get away, so a few friends and I began planning a spring getaway to Venice in 2012. From my first glimpses of Venice in the Robert Downey and Marissa Torme film “Only You” I had had a desire to see this place. Ryanair flies cheap around Europe and we discovered the most affordable option was to fly into Milan and hop the train to Venice. Ryanair usually flies into more municipal airports outside of big cities so it can take a little effort or time or both to get into the main city you are traveling to. We flew into Bergamo airport on the outskirts of Milan, relaxed with a cafe, and hit the train to Venice!
As you walk out of the train station in Venice you are immediately struck by the beautiful waterways of the Gran Canal and narrow walkways.
We set out to find our hotel, which was a small bed and breakfast called Heart of Venice. It doesn’t seem to exist anymore but was quite comfortable for the three of us. The only two complaints we had was that it took a while to get ahold of them in order to check in and the other was that the owner had promised to bring us croissants and coffee to the room the morning we left, because we had to leave quite early, and he never showed up. First thing you must also know about Venice is that it is incredibly touristy. No denying that. It’s where cruise ships come in and out of, it just is a fact. Put that aside and our two days in Venice were filled with exploring the passageways and canals, as well as the many masque shops.
I was determined to get a carnival masque while in Venice, and there are certainly many to chose from. You can find any type of masque you want at whatever price range you want. The key: DO NOT buy the first masque you fall in love with! Trust me on this.
As you walk around, there are so many places to stop and have some delicious homemade pasta and Italian wine. There are also many shops to where you can look at the beautiful Murano glass. Murano is a nearby island that you can take one of water taxis over to visit the glass factory. I made sure to get a piece of Murano glass for a necklace.
We made our way to the Piazza San Marco and Saint Marks Basilica! This is an impressive Roman Catholic church known for its Byzantine architecture. Unfortunately, it was undergoing a bit of renovation inside, but we did attend mass and got to appreciate its historic contribution to Venice.
As we walked around talking to locals, we came to understand there were two drinks that are a must try while anywhere in Italy; limoncello and orange apreol spritz. Aperol can have a bit of a cough syrup consistency but it is quite refreshing! Riding around on the water taxis or even taking a gondola ride are two important must do’s in Venice. Gondola rides can be a bit pricey but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can pick them up from just about anywhere as you walk around.
Rialto Bridge is often a big photo op in Venice. Being the silly person I am I never did capture that photo of the bridge as you would see if from the water, but I did snap a pic of me on the bridge, so I will have to content myself with that till I go back 🙂
We ended out trip taking the water taxi over to the San Giorgio Maggiore island, where we walked around and saw the San Giorgio Maggiore church (a 16th century Benedictine church that was absolutely gorgeous)! You can even see Venice off in the distance.
As we left Venice to head to Bologna, we were overall definitely impressed with Bella Venezia! It is on my list to return and explore more, especially the Murano glass factory.
Buen viaje, gnomies!
Have you visited Venice and have a great experience to share? Let the gnome know!