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Venice: City of Romance is a continuance from Emirates A380 Business: NYC to Milan
The first stop: Venice
After landing in Milan, we hopped on a pre-booked fast train to Venice. We are almost to our first stop! We booked two nights at a lovely hotel away from St. Mark’s Square by the name of Ai Mori D’Oriente. It was beautiful, spacious and very reasonably priced. We considered three nights in the City of Romance, but we had to make cuts to trim down the trip to a reasonable time frame. Talk about some tough decisions! Two nights in Venice gave us under a day and a half to conquer the city. While I don’t encourage this feat, we did it. I’ll post a guide on how to conquer Venice in a day at a later date.
Here is how it all starts
I made the plans, purchased skip the line passes, learned vaporetto routes, downloaded the city map, and got estimated times between one place and the next. We are set! We hop off of the train and head down to the nearest “Hello, Venezia” ticket window to buy 48 hour transportation passes. The woman at the window is very kind when I make my request…
“You can buy passes, but the vaporetto are on strike today.”
Ok. It’s ok. The hotel is only about a 15 minute walk and we have some adrenaline pumping now that we have officially arrived. Right? Doesn’t matter. Off we go with our luggage in hand and the CityMaps2Go app open. Welcome to Italy! Thank God for CityMaps2Go.
The City of Romance
We settle into our room and it is now about 6:00pm local time. We decide we want to eat near Rialto Bridge and scope out St. Marks square so we have our bearings in the morning. This would have been a lot easier and quicker with a vaporetto, but that wasn’t in our cards. We were just grateful that it wasn’t the trains on strike. By the way, we learned on our way out of Venice that the trains had been on strike the day before we arrived. What a disaster that would have been! Strikes are apparently a thing in Italy.
After grabbing some prosecco and a bite to eat, we headed to the river to find a gondolier. How can you possibly go to Venice and not ride a Gondola?! Biggest tourist trap ever and totally overpriced, but I’m 100% ok with that for this one. About half an hour and a hundred euros later, we can finally check this off our bucket list! The Gondolier rowed us a little ways down the Rialto and through some smaller canals before bringing us back to where we started. It was nice to just relax and soak in some views of the city. Venice is truly a city of romance. There is charm and beauty no matter which way you look.
Luckily, Venice is fairly compact. We ended up wandering a little further than we intended which made for a long walk back. Luckily, there is Harry’s bar! Actually, I’m not sure I would call Harry’s lucky… While it is the birthplace of the Bellini – and they do make a heavenly Bellini, it is sorely overpriced at a whopping €22!!!
We couldn’t end the evening without our first Italian gelato. Oh man, that stuff is amazing! By the time we made it back to call it a night, we had walked about 4 miles in that few hours. Just because, here is one more picture of the Gondola. So fun!
If nobody has ever told you that you should really take the opportunity to work on cardio before embarking on a walking based trip, you should really take the opportunity to work on your cardio. I about fell over when I got up in the night to go the restroom when my stiff legs and feet decided not to bend! Advil, a hot shower, and a couple of espresso shots will be enough to get me moving again. The key here is movement. As long as your moving, everything is fine!
Today will be no easy task. We have an early morning coming up so that we can beat the crowds at the Campanile and make our 9:45 skip the line at St. Marks. We have a fully stacked day and thank goodness the vaporetto are running! Despite being able to use the ferries, we still managed to put in another 6 miles of walking today. If I weren’t in shape already, I will be soon.
Venice in a Day
Conquering Venice, Italy in a day is definitely possible. I will be adding a link soon with our itinerary and details on what must be done to accomplish this. That said, I encourage anyone planning a trip to Venice to try to schedule in 2 full days. We were able to fit in all the major sites, but we didn’t have time to slow down and soak in the city. If you only have two nights to spend, arrive as early as possible on the first day and make time to take a little slower.
My Favorite Activity in Venice
Choose a favorite in Venice? Ooh, that is hard! We did a lot of things in Venice – A LOT. My favorite thing to do in Venice is probably the Doge’s Palace. Be sure to schedule the Secret Itineraries tour! There is so much history here, and it is truly a beautiful place. It is also HUGE. After our tour, we decided to look around a little longer which was great…until we got lost. Long story short, we jumped three ropes to get out after half an hour of trying find the proper exit. We were hungry and desperate and figured, “What’s the worst that can happen? They would kick us out?” Odds were clearly in our favor. Over the ropes we go!
All in all, it was a fantastic time and the Secret Itineraries tour will allow you to see some parts of the palace that the general public does not have access to and to hear some stories you might not otherwise. You will also learn a lot about Venice from “back in the day.” Just be sure you locate the exit at the end of the tour before wandering off on your own. 🙂
A close second is St. Marks Campanile. You will need to either purchase a skip the line ticket for a timed entry or go early in the morning. The line gets LONG. We arrived about 9 am and hardly waited. However, by the time we came down, the line had grown significantly. The Campanile is well worth the visit and I am glad we were able to squeeze it in. Our plans were to go up the evening before, but the vaporetto being on strike made it impossible by leaving us completely on foot. We just ran out of time. I would recommend going early in the morning or around sunset for the best views. Here are some of mine…
If you enjoyed this post and want to read more about my trip to Italy or are planning your own adventure in Italy, go ahead and subscribe to my blog! We packed a lot into a short time, and I will be offering tips, tricks and itineraries for several cities!