During our mini European tour this summer, We spent 3 nights in Venice. I mean who travels to Italy and does not visit Venice? We spent 1 night before our cruise and 2 nights on the back end. While in Venice, we also visited three of the surrounding islands: Burano, Murano and Torcello. We stayed in two different Airbnbs. Here’s a link to one of the Airbnbs we stayed. It’s a lovely two bedroom, within close walking distance to many sights and right off of the canal. The hosts are very nice and knowledgeable. I highly recommend their place. If you choose to stay elsewhere, I suggest to try and avoid ground level accommodations directly on the canal, especially if you suffer with allergies or asthma. The mold is real in Venice.
Getting around in Venice
We arrived in Venice, Porto Nuova train station via train from Verona. The ride took a little over 1 hour. Venice sits on water. Transportation is by way of boats. The train station is directly in front of the grand canal. When we weren’t walking we used vaporettos during our entire stay. We purchased a 2 day Tourist Travel Card or ACTV after our cruise for our stay in Venice, which makes perfect sense, since each ride is 7 Euros. The 48 hour countdown begins the first time you scan the pass outside of the vaporetto. The card paid for itself many times over. The transportation is on an honors system. No one asked us for tickets, not once. However you are supposed to scan your ticket into the machine before you board the vaporetto. I went to Venice, intent on taking a romantic gondola ride but with the amount of vaporetto trips we took, I didn’t feel the need and so we skipped it. Sorry no beautiful pictures on a gondola.
Catching a cruise ship from Venice
Depending on where you stay in Venice there are few options to get to the Marittima Cruise terminal, which is where most large cruise liners dock. Piazzale Roma is not far from the cruise terminal and it is where the buses stop and the only place people park. You can hire a private taxi or take a shuttle to the cruise ship from here. We took the cheapest route. We walked about 7 minutes with our luggage, from our Airbnb which was near Ponte de Guglie, to Constitution Bridge. Constitution bridge stretches across the Grand Canal and leads to Piazzale Roma. From there we purchased a ticket for the People Mover shuttle. It costs us 1.50 Euro each. You take the shuttle to the cruise terminal. (When going through the People Mover turn-style be sure to place your luggage under or over first. If you put your luggage through the turn-style, you won’t be able to go through because it only turns once per payment. Unless you’re short enough to go under like me.) Go down the steps and follow the crowd across the street. Have your ID and cruise ship paperwork handy because you will be asked for it by security before you are allowed in the terminal. The cheaper route is a bit inconvenient because the bridge is pretty big, however the bridge does have a ramp that allows you to drag your luggage, but it is doable especially with a strong man by your side. You can also pay people to move your luggage for you.
Sights not to miss
Of course there are the historic sights that you must see: St. Marks Square, St. Marks Basilica, The Campanile Tower, Rialto Bridge. We also tried to make it to the Rialto Market but by the time we got there it was closed. I would recommend getting there early. There was some sort of celebration going on while we were there, so there were a lot of decorated boats. Which was nice. We also caught happy hour at this Jazz bar called Bacaro. Many women leave their bras there to be displayed on the ceiling. If I had been wearing one, I would have left mine too. lol
Visiting Murano, Burano and Torcello
You can visit all three of the neighboring islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello in one day. I would suggest putting aside more time to spend in Burano as it is the prettiest of the three islands and you’ll want to take lots of pictures. The ride through the Grand Canal to the different islands is nice too. Be sure to find out the times of the vaporettos and don’t wait ’til rush hour or lunch hour, or it will be quite crowded.
We went to Burano first and I picked up a glass bottle stopper, and a beautiful jewelry set. It’s Swarovski and the crystals reflect a different color light depending on the background. It’s the most beautiful piece of jewelry I own. We also saw a glass blowing demonstration and learned a lot about how glass is made and shaped. Outside of the Murano glass there isn’t much else to see here.
I found Burano to be absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you look there is color. I couldn’t help but to keep taking pictures. We grabbed lunch here and I tasted black ink spaghetti from Darryl’s plate. It is a strong, pungent, fishy taste and you will see the color when it comes back out the other way.
Torcello was our last stop. We visited the Church of Santa Fosca and someone was getting married there that day. We also took some pictures on the Ponte de Diavolo bridge or Devils bridge. Not much else to see here.
I didn’t find the food in Venice to be great. I can only remember one restaurant that was really good and it was recommended by our Airbnb host. The restaurant was called Ai Promessi Sposi. Here I cheated and enjoyed some seafood, Branzino fish, mussels and Capesante alla Piastra (tiny scallops in a shell). It was really close to the flat too, in a tiny alley. Venice has many tiny alleys that pass for streets. Quite spooky at night time.
I tried pizza from a local shop and asked them to hold the cheese and the slice was gross. There was one vegan place that we took food to go from and it was okay. The restaurant was called La tecia.
Would I Revisit Venice
Yes indeed. The vibe was very laid back. People were just minding their own business enjoying life. It was difficult for me to shop there, because I couldn’t figure out if the products were genuine or not. Venice looks just like the pictures you see online and a lot like I imagined. Greenery was absent but I’ve done some research and discovered there are some parks there. Maybe I’ll find them next time when I have more time.