Venice – Five Must Read Tips to See Venice in Two Days
Ahh Venice!!—Gondolas maneuvering their way through the canals, gondoliers romanticizing the atmosphere with their singing; bridge after bridge connecting the many squares; roads made of water and automobiles blissfully taken over by water taxis, not to mention Piazza San Marco serving fancy wines with some truly mouthwatering Italian cuisine. What’s not too like about Venice. It truly is a one of a kind city.
The actual population of Venice is approximately 250,000 with only 68,000 in the historical part, but it attracts 16.5 million tourists every year. And statistics say those tourists stay on average only two to three nights at a time, if they stay at all. Many of those tourists are from cruise ships. No wonder it is ALWAYS, ALWAYS crowded in Venice.
In our recent stay of two nights in Venice we learned a few things about this beautiful city. And that it is…BEAUTIFUL! The first thing we discovered right away is that you can’t see everything in two days. So you have to pick your choices and stick to it.
You can take a public water bus or vaporetto from the airport all the way to Piazza San Marco at a cost of €6 or you can take a private water taxi at a cost of €100. The biggest difference other than the obvious cost is the vaporetta is much slower, in fact has to slow down every time a water taxi goes by and the vaporetta can be quite crowded. You can also take this same water bus all the way to the cruise terminal if you need to.
The Piazzo San Marco is amazingly beautiful and holds three major attractions—St. Mark’s Basilica, The Doge’ s Palace and Torre dell’Orologio or Clock Tower. A word of caution—during the day it is always crowded and you will have to stand in line with the hordes and hordes of other tourists sometimes for two to three hours unless you go on a specific guided tour. However, we later found out that even the guided tours may have you waiting in line. The night clerk at our hotel gave us another suggestion. Visit at night–the crowds have dissipated to the point where you can actually see the beautiful buildings with their sparkling lights. It will take your breath away! And there is music playing to accompany you on your walk, provided by the two separate beautiful but oh so expensive restaurants.
Another tip given to us by the night clerk at the hotel. You have to venture away from San Marco or the Grand Canal for that matter to find authentic Italian food at reasonable prices. And we found two restaurants that we thoroughly enjoyed. In fact the further away you get you will find all sorts of treasures. We found a little cafe/bar right across the street from our hotel where we enjoyed the local beer and the ever famous Aperol Spritz (served with an olive) for €9. This is a lot better than the famous Harry’s Bar in Piazza San Marco where it is rumored a Bellini (said to have been invented there) will cost you €16.
The best way to see Venice is to just walk the bridges and the canals big and small and that we did. We even got lost a couple of times, but not to worry, you will eventually find your way. One of the most delightful and unusual things we came across was the Libreria Aqua Alta. It is the most unusual bookstore you will ever find– wall to wall books piled high in many different little rooms from floor to ceiling, where the resident cats play hide and seek. It even comes complete with a gondola and a little garden in the back where you can walk up the steps to view the canal.
A trip to Venice would also not be complete without a visit to the the neighboring lagoon islands of Murano, Burano and Tercello Take the vaporetto and you can stop at all three for the price of €20. Murano is famously known for its glass blowing, Burano for its lace making and the most idyllic colorful buildings. I couldn’t get my photographs fast enough. Another one of those take your breath away moments! Tercello is said to be a mystical island with untouched nature with many examples of great historical and artistic importance. Sadly, we didn’t make it to Tercello.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Venice, Venezia, The City of Bridges, and I can’t wait to return again for a more in depth look. I think it’s one place with the traveling spirit should visit.