It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m throwing it back to last weekend’s exciting Venetian getaway. We spent the better part of four days there, and we covered a lot of ground without getting too overwhelmed. If you’re looking for a four-day plan or itinerary for yourself, this just might be the one for you.
Upon Arrival: Alilaguna Water Bus
You will need to know how to get to Venice upon arrival at Marco Polo International Airport! You have several options, but the Alilaguna Water Bus is only 15 Euro, and it’s a lovely one hour and 15 minute ride to the San Marco boat dock. There is plenty of seating, but no luggage storage on either of the boats were on, so make sure you can handle your own luggage!
It’s not exactly a secret that the alleys and streets of Venice can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re jet lagged and visiting for the first time! Get in touch with your accommodation in advance and ask about the best way to get there. Also make sure you know how to read a map! I’m glad my husband had a good eye because he is the one who saw the sign for our hotel, the Westin Europa and Regina!
Getting the View
One of Steve’s and my favorite things to do in a new city is to get a bird’s eye view to get our bearings. Campanile Tower in San Marco was nearby and an iconic spot for sweeping views of Venice! Tickets were 8 Euro, and worth it. I recommend going at a clear time of day. The last couple of days of our trip were extremely foggy all day long, so we were glad we did this first! And don’t forget to look up when you get to the top.
Snack Time: Gelato
Now that we had our bearings, the next order of business was enjoying an authentic Italian gelato! I needed a little something to get me through until suppertime, and gelato fit the bill! And check out the back drop. This is quintessential Venice!
Supper off the Beaten Path
After a quick stop into the hotel to regroup and use the wifi to make a plan (even though we knew we’d probably get a little lost anyway), we set out in search of squid ink pasta and authentic Italian pizza! Oh, and Italian meringue! We found it just a few blocks away from San Marco at La Cafe. And then it was time for bed!
I’ve traveled all over the world and been to plenty of royal residences–some historic, some still occupied, some in ruins. But I’m an American girl who still gets flutters in my stomach when I get to visit a palace of any kind! After a breakfast of fresh eggs and pancetta (yum!), we spent an hour or so exploring the exhibits in the Palace. The grandeur and history were impressive:
…but I was most interested in going into the Bridge of Sighs. It is one of the more famous bridges in Venice, and it is called the Bridge of Sighs because this was every Venetian prisoner’s last opportunity to see the outside world. It’s said they they would look out the windows and sigh. Here is the view:
And next up, a gondola ride! While the squid ink pasta was high on my list of things to do, the only thing higher on the list was a real gondola experience! I wrote all about it in my Guide to Venetian Gondolas, so be sure to check it out for the best tips!
With that top item checked off the list, it was off to the Rialto Bridge and surrounding neighborhoods! I’d heard Venice was crowded and “touristy,” but November is supposed to be the off-season. I can’t imagine the busy season! The Rialto area was very crowded, and with good reason–there is lots to see and do! There are shops on the Rialto Bridge, restaurants and shops on either side, and the current bridge has been there since 1591! Getting there was an adventure, but we made it! And we found the best spot for fresh pizza there, too.
More Museums in San Marco
The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the three museums in San Marco also included in our Doge Palace ticket price. The Museo Archeologico Nazional, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, and Museo Correr are all in the same large building surrounding San Marco, so you can knock them out in one fell swoop! As you’re looking around, be sure to look up as well!
Supper for Take-away
We rounded out the day with a quick supper on the go. We read that this is how the locals often do it, since take-away food does not come with cover or service charges. We were just thankful for a quick option!
Breakfast and Coffee for Two at Cafe Florian
This experience was pretty far up my “to do in Venice” list, too. I read that it’s over rated, expensive, touristy, etc., but I’m the kind of traveler who likes to decide that for myself. And it was great! It was fancy, over-the-top, and an experience I would gratefully have again!
My sweet husband does not care about food and would prefer to almost never go out to eat, but he knows it’s fun for me, and that it would be very special for us to do together! They brought our quiche and coffee out on a silver platter of all things!
Off to Murano! …Or Not.
Well, we planned to spend the day on the nearby island of Murano to see the dying art of glass making and explore the charming area, but unfortunately it was a little more complicated than that because of the very thick fog!
Plan B: Dorsoduro
Not to be discouraged, we decided to explore the other side of the Grand Canal and see the charming Dorsoduro neighborhood. We walked over the Accademia Bridge and headed to the famous point. The view was… foggy, but there were dozens of people there taking pictures and enjoying Venice anyway! We walked around the charming neighborhood until lunch time.
Squid ink, gelato, pizza, Cafe Florian… what else should we try in Italy? Penne and lasagna, of course! This little trattoria down a little street near the Accademia Bridge had about 10 tables in it, and there were only a couple of other people inside when we arrived. By the end of our meal, it was packed, and they had even roped off the door to let people know there was no more room! The food was amazing, as you might imagine!
The rest of the afternoon was spent getting lost, enjoying the Venetian architecture, and window shopping for glass and masks! Check out this leaning tower we saw.
Chocolate and Pastries
And what’s better after a lot of walking than a little treat? Steve got a cappuccino, and I got drinking chocolate with a cannoli! That was just the pick-up we needed before we picked up take-out for supper and made our way back to the hotel!
Our last morning was bittersweet. I hated that we were leaving, but I was thankful for more yummy pancetta and coffee! It was another foggy morning, but we had no trouble getting to the airport on the Alilaguna boat.
I hope you enjoyed our trip! I’m already hoping to go back soon to explore Murano, Teatro Fenice, and more! Have you been to Venice? What do you recommend?