Venice, The floating city of a thousand dreams.
Venice has long been a daydream for me, so I was ecstatic to be making that dream come true. She is the first city I’ll be visiting during my 4 week stay in Bella Italia and I couldn’t think of any other way to start my journey, than with the best.
After flying and traveling for over 26 hrs, 3 planes, and a Water Taxi, I finally arrived in Venice ( Venzia) on the 1st of May , 2018.
After grabbing our luggage and with nothing to declare, we made our way to the left, to meet up with the Motoscafi representative to get our dock number. The airport is very modern and very efficient. Initially I hired a water taxi as a way to get to the city as I was supposed to be traveling with my 85-year-old mother, and doing busses, and water busses was just too much for me to lug both our suitcases and make sure she’s ok walking. Sadly, she didn’t join me, but too late, I’ve already booked my water taxi…
Motoscafi Venice is the sexiest way to arrive in Venice, and the most convenient. For 110 Euro for up to 5 passengers with suitcases, it was a very stylish and luxurious way to arrive.
Back at the airport, and up a level ,we walked for about 7 minutes through a beautiful moving walk way until we reached the escalators for the docks below.
We met up with Manolo (was hoping for last name Blahnik) and boarded our James Bond Water taxi to Venice. Our driver was very happy and good-looking and the boat was super comfortable. I sat in the back and enjoyed the 15 minute or so ride to Venice. The skies were grey and the weather a nice 69 degrees, but very comfortable.
As we started to get close to the mouth of the fish, excitement took over and I stood up, let the wind brush my face and couldn’t help but yell “BonGiorno Venezia” it was so exhilarating.
As we got to the Mouth of the Grand Canal, the boat slowed down. Our driver was sooo considerate and just knew exactly where we would be wanting to take pictures. I swear I took a hundred. All of a sudden the stunning grey/white Rialto bridge, packed to the Bone, was coming into view. The enthusiasm of the spectators greeting us with “Ciao” and Lots of hand waving was awesome. To the left a sleek black lacquered Gondola with his blue and white striped gate wearing gondolier was slowly putting his passengers as a gentleman belted Volare to his guest. It was quite beautiful and just the most perfect way to arrive and see Venice in all her splendor for the first time.
On the Grand Canal there are boats, a gigantic Vapporetto packed like sardines ( Water Bus), Water taxis, and gondolas all sharing the waterway. The architecture blew me away. It’s just unbelievable, dreamlike, and incredibly stunning.
We pulled into the tiny canal of Ca’ Rezzonico with the Palazzo of the same name at its mouth. Our apartment is next to the Palazzo and across the Campo San Banarba with the church of the same name dominating its lively square. We got out so easily and was met by our lovely owner Maria who was so excited to see us. Lots of hugs and double kisses and me practicing my Italian “piechere di conoscerti ” we were entering a really quaint entry way filled with Lavender and rosemary up 2 flights of stairs to our apartment.
The apartment is quaint, beautiful and just perfect. Everything, and I mean everything was well thought out. A nice chilled bottle of Proseco was waiting for us. Maria gave us excellent recommendations, we paid the 2 € each for daily taxes up to 6 nights, and she gave a receipt.
The windows of the apartment look directly into the Campo, at the church with bells chiming, and into the garden of the Palazzo.
I picked an amazing place and I’m so happy with my decision.
Debra decided to shower and freshen up and in no time, we were out of the house exploring.
We walked around the San Banarba Square ans headed up toward Santa Margarita as we were a bit hungry and running on fumes, stopped into Il Bacon and ordered some ciccheti and our very first SPRITZ con Apperol. Mmmmmm I’m addicted already.
Filled and buzzed we decided to just walk around and get lost.
The streets and alley ways are so enchanting. Passages lead you to another secret passage filled with artisan shops, bakeries, and restaurants. The art and colorful items for sale are so alluring. Next thing you know, you’re spilling into another campo with children playing, couples walking hand jn hand and lovers embarrassing. There’s music in the air: reggaeton, live accordions and singers and the buzz of the locals having a good chat…. With their hands. Amazing
We somehow ended up by the Frari and Scuola which were closed by then.
There are bridges everywhere, and every place is a picture perfect post card. Can it really be this beautiful? My goodness!!!
It was already almost 6pm, the clouds were still there, and the chill of the early evening was setting in.
We stopped by to do some window shopping and ended up at this Napolitano leather glove shop called Fanny. Oh so beautiful. Debra bought a gorgeous jade colored pair for herself.
There are gelato shops everywhere and I just had to have my first one. I ordered pistachio and Omg I’ve never tasted a pistachio ice cream that actually truly and deeply tasted like it. Amazing!!! We decided to head back to the apartment to grab a warming coat and continued to walk around this time through San Barnarba and down towards the Academia, as I wanted to map out our walk for tomorrow. Somehow we ended up on the opposite end and by the water. Oh these ally ways can really turn you around.
People were enjoying their Spritz everywhere. Happy faces and cheerful people really add to the ambience of this place.
We finally made it to the Academia bridge which is all boarded up, but at least I found it.
Running now on fumes we decided to head back home. With a stop Of course for another SPRITZ con Aperol at our new neighborhood haunt AI Artisti. Mmmmm even better. The lights came on in the campo, it was way past 8 pm, ans the dark grey facade of the church, the chatter of patrons dotting the square are their perspective restaurant / Oisteria and the reflection of the canal with scattered boats bobbing in the water truly took mentor a place deep in my heart.
A hop across the bridge, we were showered, un packed and ready to dream Venetian style.
It was a great first half day in this romantic city and im already in love
Day 2: 5/2
Up just before 4 am. Rested and restless. It’s so quiet here. Not a peep, not a sound. And the thing I’m most happy about is not a single beep or sound of a car. Wow what a difference it makes for your sanity.
I opened my Windows and noticed how fresh, crisp the air is. No smells from the canals whatsoever. Then I heard it, the sounds of water drops. Ugh it started to pour. The music odor the rain. Hitting the canal water is so soothing. Unfortunately it didn’t sing me back to sleep.
About 7 we slowly got out the front door armed with rain jacket, my boots, and an umbrella. The skies were grey but the rain stopped albeit a few drops here and there.
We stopped byour local haunt, AI Artisti and practiced ordering my cappuccino and pastry in italian of course she corrected me lovingly and now I know how to say it better hahaha.
I had a delicious custard filled pastry and it was heaven.
By this time,school kids, children and locals were off to start their day. The Campo was now busy with locals, garbage men on their boats as its paper trash day, delivery boats stocking up the restaurants for their day, older men with their adorable dogs getting their morning exercise, and diligent mothers encouraging their children to keep moving on.
So this is the real Venetian life? Fabulous… No tourists in sight.
We walked and got lost for a quick minute on our way to the Academia Bridge. But that’s ok. I saw priests dressed in full black Regalia welcoming their tint students to school with their roller luggage in tow as if they are heading on holiday. No back packs… Smart 🙂
We crossed over the grand canal via the construction sight of the Academia. Next thing you know we were in the grand Campo Stefano.
We found our way through twisting Alley ways, dead ends, and more campos until we just so happen to be in back of the Correr Museum.
And there it is, in all her glory. Sleek and glistening from the night’s rain ☂ San Marco square with the colorful doomed minarets of San Marco Basilica and the old and New offices of the Piazza holding fort on either side. The rain has brought a refreshing new life to the Piazza.
The clock tower with its amazing mosaics and statues, and the commanding tower I’d the Campanille gave me chills. There is hardly a soul here at 8:30 am and its the perfect time to visit.
We decided to go up the Campanile first since there was only 10 ppl in line. 7€ later, a swift ride up to the top and we were taking in the breath-taking red-tiled rooftops of Venice. The views are incredible here.
All of a sudden my neck began to hurt, and became stiff. The pain was horrible.
We went down and decided to go to the Palazzo Ducale.
I had secured a museum pass for the squares museum.
When we came down from the tower a very long single line was forming for the Basilica.
Fortunately I purchased skip the line foe later.
The entrance to the Ducale is located water side. There were 3 lines, 1. For groups, 1 for ticket holder and 1 for people needing to purchase tickets.
All lines moved quickly. We rented the audio guide And started off at the beautiful court-yard. Without getting into detail, the palazzo was drop dead gorgeous and so decadent. Truly showed the wealth and power of the Doge and Venice.
By this time I was in excruciating pain and it did t help that I kept looking up at the beautiful gilded ceilings.
We exited ans walked towards the water to see the bridge of Sighs. By this time, there were what looked like thousands of people everywhere. Loud and obnoxious tourists literally shoving you out of their way to take a perfect selphie. I wanted to throw them in the water..
We decides to walk around and turn the corner to a new discovery.
There are amazing shops here with designers everyone knows and shops with wears from an Italian city called China.
We were a little hungry and it was only 10:30, so we stopped by this cute Oisteria for some a minestrone soup and of course a Spritz. Osteria Da Bacco was nice, funky, delicious and filled with locals. No service or coperto fees. Yay.
My neck was still killing me softly 😦
It was getting time for the Basilica. The lines were now 4 rows deep. Omg
I was about 15 minutes early but they let us right in. Wow!!!!! Amazing, but packed to the bone. I was over the shoulder to shoulder quick.
While in the church I was searching die a massage. Found a place but it took us 20 minutes to find the place which was only 3 minutes away. Numbered street locations mean nothing just the back alley that’s where it must be and was, but they never answered.. Uffff. Irritated.
I decided to stop at a pharmacy and get some Dolofast 10% ibuprofen gel and head back to the apartment for a siesta. Along the way I found a gorgeous perfumery and found myself a stunning scent. I’m a connosiour
Came back to the apartment and laid my neck down. A nice hour nap, a hot shower on my neck some gel a change of clothes we were out the door again.
The skies had cleared up, the sun was jn all his glory, and scattered cotton ball clouds dotted the skies turning Venice into its truly dreamlike state. Omg!!!!
We were walking to the Frari when we saw a little restaurant with chairs on a little balcony line with flowers above a tiny canal with a pretty bridge. Who could resist? We couldnt. So we sat down had a glass of wine and ate my first pasta dish. Tagelitele (sp?) With vegetables was amazing. Met a nice Brit from Manchester and had great conversation.
We headed then to the Frari. Omg its stunning and beautiful inside Tettian!!!!
We tries for the Scuola but it was already 5:15 ans they close 5:30. Oh well, another day.
We kept walking around following the Alla Feruvia directions and ended up across from the Santa Lucia Station.
How grand to arrive at the station and see that beautiful basilica with its Teal dome and the grand canal at your feet.
We crossed over the gorgeous bridge and just followed the droves of tourists down the promenade of cheesy shops and kiosks. Stopped by a Murano glass jewelry store as it was small and looked less touristy. A black and gold leather bracelet with black and gold murano glass.. Gorgeous and reasonable to me at 45 € score!!!
We kept walking down towards Rialto. Stopped for a Spritz of course but this time with Campari. Wow!!! That kicked my butt. Haha. Still in pain I stopped at a pharmacy and the pharmacist recommended ibuprofen 400 pills. Wow that starts to work immediately
The sun was almost down but it was still warm. We stopped at this shop with the smell of truffles. Needless to say I left with 5 bottles.. One with just mushrooms and one with olive oil and the other with squid ink. Mmmm
Crossed over the Rialto bridge with her beautiful views of the grand canal and stores all locked up. Walked back towards our apartment and stopped at this quaint and super quiet outdoor restaurant with no kitchen in sight. There were an American couple and a French one so we decided to sit. The menu east only in italian. We ordered the spiny crab in its shell ovwr a bed of lettuce, a bottle of Cab, and I had the black ink cuttle fish spaghetti and she had the anchovy white wine reduction spaghetti Omg delicious. The server didn’t speak much English “okay… No problem ” were the only words he spoke. The owner translated everything for us. Out peaceful and quiet dinner led to a festive and atmospheric young Italian men and women cheering and salute to each other over their table with our delicious and decadent Teramisu. Omg is this how it is suppose to taste? Epic!!!!
And so was the end of our long day and fabulous night. We did things that weren’t planned and just ventures through every twist and turn. The 40% chance of rain led to beautiful sunny skies.
So lucky and so in love with this city.
Day 3: 5/3
As you can probably guess, I woke up super early at 4am because Venice loves it when I’m up at the crack of dawn to appreciate its morning glory. So I sat on the steps of the canal and lit up a cigarette and proceeded to write to you all my days 1&2. The campo was so still and quiet. There wasn’t a drop in sight and the crisp morning air invigorated me.
After I completed days 1 and 2 which took me an hour to thumb out, the screech of the birds, and the motor of the trash boats started to add music to the Campo.
It was now time to get ready. My neck has been better but not the best so a nice hot shower and neck stretches was in order.
Today we leave for a day trip to Verona. I won’t go into massive detail about it as I’ll post that on a different report.
But let me say this, it was a lovely trip and an equally lovely 3 hour 6 course Lunch that we happened to come across by accident. Omg the best meal thus far. And one more thing, the fashion!! Wow the locals are beyond chic. Finally!!!!
We left the apartment around 7:30 and the Campo was I’m full bloom with action. Similar to the say before, everyone was on a mission to fuel up with cafe and get their children off to Scuola 🙂
We headed on foot towards Alla Ferovia 🙂
As we followed the signs and starred entering the different neighborhoods, a new kind of life emerged. White quaffed ladies kn their golden years greeting the neighborhood bars, and the like. Packed bars and coffee shops with everyone sipping their espresso and talking in italian sign language . It is the real Venice, the real life here. And its beautiful
The weather was decent ans not too cold and we were probably generating heat from pounding pavement.
Finally Santa Lucia Station came into view, and we crossed that gorgeous bridge over the grand Canal and made our way into the buzzing station.
As a good trip advisor girl, read my ticket for the train number, looked up and found our Binero (platform or as they say, plata forma)
The station was teeming with people of all nationalities.
We need to fuel up Now. Is it too early for a SPRITZ 😁😁😀 ok cappuccino will do..
Our train was right on time. A nice TrenItalia double decker regionale train. We sat up stairs and soon the train to Verona was packed! At 8 in the morning ~
Soon we were on our way to Verona.
I loves the train ride and passing by little hamlets, fields of what looked like red poppy, herds of sheep, family vineyards, and seeing the names of cities I’ve seen only in books : Mestre, Vecensia, Padova wow so cool.
On our way back some 10 hours later, we were in a “quaint” regionale train, one level with large seats but tiny pitch I’m 5’11″/haha. It was freeeeeeezing in there. I passed out for a bit.
I just couldn’t wait to get back to my beloved Venezia.
My phone died some half way through our visit, and it was such a welcomed surprise. I’m finally disconnected and time to put my map reading skills to use like the good ol days, and use my trusty real camera. Omg it was great.
Venice was dark with heavy clouds and in seconds, the rain came down to wash away the sins odor the day and brought with it, a creeping chill..
We decided against walking back, and took the Vaporretto #1 and ran my single card against the machine before entering dorm fear of a fine.
It was packed but we managed to get a seat. Some plump American lady with the most interesting look had a near breakdown when the lady sitting in the isle refused to move to the middle seat. I laughed so hard it made my day. I’m mean she lost her s#$&!!? “No, no, No!!! How am I supposed to sit this is terrible,you people! I can’t take this I can’t taken this ” Lady, you just arrived get over it.. Such a spoiled brat. Hahaha
The cruise down the grand canal was gorgeous. Now well after 8 pm, it was dark but glistening from the lights of the fabulous palazzos that dot the canal. Really romantic and gorgeous.
10 stops later, we arrived at Ca’ Rezzonico.. The walk back to our apartment was only 2 minutes but I was determined this time to have a pizza and some wine. I found a cute little place and had an amazing round pizza all to myself. Oh so that’s how it should really taste.
The server was so nice.
Although I tried my best to practice my failed italian, we switched to English, then Spanish then Portuguese . Wow easy to fetch to communicate.
The night was cold, damp and pouring… We shared my tiny umbrella and made it home dry.
A hot shower and I was rocked to sleep or should I say shaken to sleep by the lion’s roar of thunder. It was Absolutely a perfect way to sleep. The thunder gave my heart a few extra beats. And so ends what has seemed like 3 weeks, but in reality 3 days.
I’m in heaven.
Day 4: 5/4
Oh what a beautiful day today was.
I took a xanax last night so that I could sleep a minimum 8 hours as I was getting less than 5.
I woke up around 7 ish rested but could have slept another 3 hours.. Making that 11 hrs of sleep .
Today I had only one thing on the agenda, Realto Market
We mosey on out about 8 am, grabbed a cafe and a croissant ar a new place along the way from Ca’ Rezzonico to Rialto. I love coffee in Europe as an avid Starbucks cappuccino flat white drinker, it just doesn’t compare to the quality of Italian coffee imo.
As per usual everyone was at their best getting to their morning routines.
Rialto Market was still busy at 8:30 am. Sword fishes were on proud display, as well as all sorts of the little mermaid friends, all grey eyed ans chilled. I was hungry for some fresh fruits, and the fruit stands did not dissappoint. There’s nothing like non GMO fresh fruits like we are subjected to in the US. 😦 sad really. Strawberries tastes like strawberries.
Soon we were traversing through the Rialto bridge where I found a cute old man bib for my father.
I was sort of on a mission though. I was on a mission to find SCRIBA. For stationary and wax stamps. OmG the selection and quality is first hand. There are so many similar shops everywhere, but glad I waited for here as it was beautiful. I tried my hand at calligraphy with a fountain pen but it was an epic fail. We spent the rest of the day shopping as it is truly a dangerous shoppers paradise.
Found some gorgeous jewelry….
We then made it to the Fondacion Tedeschi and shopped a little but really came for the terrace view of the city. Later we met a nice older gentleman selling his phenomenal vinaigrettes and scores some with truffle oil. Omg
I was getting a bit tired so we sat and had a Fabulous lunch menu of the day with 2 dishes for 14 €. I had the Pennies Pasta with pesto and calamari on a bed of salad. It was heavenly .
It was now time for a siesta.. A good two hour sleep was just what the doctor ordered..
We woke up and started to get ready as we have the opera to fo to tonight.
We saw IL Signor Buschano by Rossini at the drop dead gorgeous Teatro La Fenice. Wow what a place. We got bottom box seats and it was perfect. The gilded gold and pink of the theater was Absolutely stunning.
The show was good but lasted only ann hour half.
We did stop for a glass of wine prior and a PROSECO in the theater and I was all a buzz.
Afterwards I made a reservation right before the opera started via an app called The Fork at ristorante Al Teatro. Despite negative tripadvisor reviews, our meal was delicious. We shared a plate of cheese and prosciutto and for my primitive, stuffed ra ravioli. Mmmmmm a bottle of wine, an espresso and a complimentary Limoncello digestive made for an Interesting walk back. I can’t believe I didn’t even need my Google maps to get us home at 22:30 at night.. I followed my gut. We did stop for a gelato even though I was stuffed beyond belief.
The people of Venice are amazingly nice and kind. I have been so surprised by their politeness and genuine caring attitude.
It was almost midnight, I’m totally buzzed and the neighborhood is alive with party monsters. It is the weekend after all and nice to know that there is life after dark in the campo as it had always been dead silent. Tomorrow is our last full day and night. We plan on visiting our next door neighbor Palazzo Ca Rezzonico and then Burano but nothing else is planned and I really like it that way. No early alarms. I’ll get up when I get up.
Day 5 : 5/5 Last full day and night in the floating city.
Well its our last full day today
I’m a bit melancholy about it. I’m sad yet eager to keep exploring. We started out not real early, with plans to see Ca’ Rezzonico Palazzo, however they don’t open until 10 am.
We are going to Burano today.
Thanks to the amazing from the App Moveit, I was able to map out our journey very simply.
From Ca’ rezzonico on the #1 vap and get off at Lido, then the 14 to Burano.
We stopped for coffee and the most delicious multi grain pastry with jam inside and some cappuccino at our favorite Ai Artisti Oh my stars its delicious. After jamming to George Michael’s freedom on full blast we headed to the Vapporetto stop Ca’ Rezzonico just a minute away.
We were in for a huge surprise, when we found out that there is no way to purchase a pass. I think it was God sent as tomorrow we are going to catch the 1 to the train station with our luggage and that would have been terrible had we arrived not prepared. So we walked to the Academia stop and bridge where it was very easy to purchase our tickets. I decided to get the 24 hour pass as we will be using the vap tomorrow and it would pay its self back very easily. I tried to confirm with the lady of my route is Indeed correct to Burano. She was clueless and said for to San Marco and find out. Well grazie miss happy camper .
We will just stick to our move it app.
Shortly there after, the 1 came and 40 minutes later we were transiting at Lido. We had a full hour In between transiting so we decided to walk around. It was already around 10 am.
Lido is drop dead gorgeous. It seems so resort like with beautiful people all CIAOing each other. fabulously dressed women and men with their dogs in tow, bicycle riding people sharing rides. The streets are so colorful due to the elaborate and beautifully designed homes and hotels.
The sun was bright and the skies were clear. The air of peace and tranquility was everywhere. We stopped for a drink. Yes I know, we had a spritz at 10 something in the morning. After our buzz materialized , we used the restroom and slowly strolled back to the water bus station.
Here they give you specific instructions on which portal to take and what time and where to each bus will arrive and depart to. you have to use your ticket to even access the waiting room which helps eliminate the carelessness and forgetfulness some people claim about validating tour ticket.
The number 14 is huge, like a ferry. There are 3 floors. But it’s very very loud and not the most comfortable. Good time for a snooze.
About 40 minutes later in the distance I saw pink, fuscia, green, yellow squared homes everywhere like a picture perfect post card. We have arrived!!
The island is small and tiny and although fishing maybe their main industry besides lace, tourism is #1. There are oodles of shops and stores selling all kinds of lace for your home, for your body, and even Murano glass.
There are little bridges and canals like a smurf village replica of Venice. Its very beautiful and charming.
The laughing and cheerful sales ladies tempt you into their stores with a whisper of “I give you secret price shhhh’ its hilarious. Of course I bought a beautiful lace table runner for my mom for a little over 100 € that’s with the secret price. I also did some murano glass shopping for myself as there was truly a beautiful store selling amazing jewelry and really inexpensive .
Lunch was at Trattoria Da Primo which is right on the main drag. The food east excellent and of course a bit touristy and expensive. It had goosebumps reviews and we enjoyed sitting outside. It was noon and we were already stuffing our faces, watching the hundreds of tourists walk down the runway in groups and on a mission. It was entertaining.
We walked around and did a bit more shopping. ( I’m shopping way too much.. I need to chill)
We left on the 2 something pm boat back to Venice, and everyone else had the same idea. It was Jammed packed. Interestingly though, if you have the Venice Unica card, you have a priority line for priority boarding.
I decided to take a different stop post transfer and pre Ca Rezzonico. On our way to Burano I saw a large green area called Giardini, and I had to stop and visit.
Giardini is a lovely shaded area filled with sun bathers and nature enthusiasts. It was really awesome to see a different side to the city.
From there we decided to walk home to Ca Rezzonico. The sun was so bright and warm that I was definitely glistening 🙂 ❤
Stopped foe a Proseco to rest and enjoy the views.. So lovely. If I was hot and a bit uncomfortable I can only imagine what summer is like here. Ufffff.
To escape the heat and sun we turned to the alley ways and instantly the temp dropped a few degrees and it was lovely and tolerable.
Saturday is definitely a very busy day for the city. People were everywhere. Tennis shoe wearing brides in the wedding g gowns, drunk local bachelors making the groom to be drink and dance and put on a show for people while collecting money. His friends kept chanting and singing. So awesome. And way better than your groom to be hitting some strip Club hahaha.
Loads of people…
I don’t know how it happened, even though I’ve walked those route many a time on this trip, I got lost and ended up looping around.. .. Google maps is a liar. And I heard her today in 20 different languages.
That’s another thing I noticed and I’m so guilty of this, everyone, young and old on their phones trying to find direction.I guess its no different from everyone with their maps wide open.
Finally we made it home, showered, rested and I fired up the fork app and made a reservation for an early dinner at Osteria Al Vecio Forno. Btw. Omg the food is Amazing….
So during these first few days, I’ve been swelling up like crazy. I ate so much pasta day and night and I ended up being swollen. So, I picked up some probiotic, and tumeric pills at a pharmacy but then I researched “gaining weight in italy ” and guess what, I’ve been over indulging… No!!!! You say? I eat a tiny breakfast, and I have a large lunch, I walk like crazy, but…. I eat heavy at night. I learned that evenings should be spent eating lighter or just protein, and lunch is your carb out session. Ok ok… Changing my ways. I want the second and 3rd chin to take a holiday and never come back lol
And so ended my last day and night in this beautiful floating city.
Tomorrow…. Firenze.. Stay Tuned