For day 2 of my Northern Italy adventures with my beloved sister, we decided to explore the beautiful Venezia. My expectations for Venice were exceedingly high, due to everyone speaking highly of Venice, and from all the research I had done online. Unfortunately, we just missed the Venice Carnival. It started on Saturday the 11th and we visited Venice on the 10th; but there were a few Carnival hints and preparation dotted around the city (it’s going on right now, so anyone there do check it out)!
We only had 8/9 hours in Venice, and so we planned a FULL day of activities.
Venice Free Walking Tour
I have a love hate relationship with walking tours. Sometimes they’re AMAZING, and other times they’re a waste of time and money. During my research before travelling, I stumbled across the Venice Free Walking Tour and thought that it looked pretty cool. Not only was it free, but it avoided the main tourist locations and instead delved into the less popular areas on Venice. To be honest, this drew me to Venice the most as I didn’t need someone to show me where the main attractions were, but instead, I wanted inside history and information.
We had a lovely tour guide, a local Venezian, who really focused on sustainable tourism and the history of Venice. It was from 9am-11am and I would HIGHLY recommend booking this tour for anyone planning to travel to Venice. Venice is a complicated city to navigate, so it definitely helped having someone give us advice on where to go and what routes to take.
We mainly focused on the Southern area of Venice, and saw a factory where Gondola’s are built and repaired. The only downside was the COLD! It was absolutely freezing, and so maybe a walking outside tour isn’t the best idea. Never-the-less, dressed in gloves and a scarf, you should be fine.
After the tour, we then moved on to Accademia Bridge. The view from Accademia Bridge is really stunning. It’s only one of 4 bridges to span the Grand Canal. This would definitely be a great location for some stunning sunset/sunrise pictures in clearer weather.
Science Institute (Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti)
We happened to stumble across this exhibition featuring art inspired by space (sponsored by NASA). There were so many amazing pieces of work by so many different artists. It was free to enter, and I’d highly recommend this exhibition to anyone in Venice.
A gondola is a traditional Venetian rowing boat, best known today for transporting tourists. Every picture that I saw of Venice featured a gondola gliding across through the thin canals in the summer sun. The day we were there, it was freezing cold, and definitely NOT gondola weather.
Each gondola is exactly 35′ 6″ long and 4′ 6″ wide, and as well as being uniform in length and width, all gondolas are black. We asked our tour guide why this was, and she told us that by the 16th-century, there were so many gondolas in Venice, each of different colours, that the canals were starting to look chaotic. Eventually, the city passed a law saying they all had to be black! Another cool thing she told us was that the six prongs sticking out the front represent Venice’s six sestieri, or districts! My sister and I could never look at a gondola again without counting the six prongs.
St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) and Rialto Bridge
St Mark’s Square is the principal public square of Venice, Italy. It is a huge open space, and a true symbol of Venice. There is always lots going on around here; musicians, various stalls and other sights of entertainment. There is also a gondola service stop, incase one fancies a quick ride.
Rialto Bridge is also another symbol of Venice. It is another one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. It is the oldest bridge across the canal, and was the dividing line for the districts of San Marco and San Polo. It’s an engineering and architectural achievement.
Libreria Acqua Alta
Now this bookshop was probably the highlight of my day in Venice *nerd alert*. I had read about this place in a blog of hidden Venitian secrets, and immediately decided we HAD to stop by and have a look around. If you are a lover of books this is definitely a place you have to visit. Books are all in Italian but just visiting this shop for the vibe alone is worth it.
At the back of the shop, there is a pile of damaged books that were caught in a flood. They have been piled up and make for lovely pictures of the canal behind the store.
Pizza – Of Course!
This cafe, Farini, is AMAZING. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. The pizza here was the best pizza I had ever eaten in my life. You can watch the pizza being made fresh and the pizza is not only reasonably priced but absolutely delicious. We had no intention on coming here, we stumbled across it as refuge from the cold. Best decision we ever made!
I would absolutely love to return to Venice in the warmer months. Any other recommendations for places to go in Venice?
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