I’ve always wanted to experience Venice. And that was before I was old enough to know that Venice was in Italy. That love grew in so many ways…
Cornelia Funke, who wrote The Thief Lord. Gave this place a face before I knew what it even looked like. Of course,The Italian Job, even though only the first sequence was shot here.
That inspiration grew further once I started reading travel blogs, as they were personal and not trying to sell me on a restaurant.
I have to say: Venice is exactly what I thought/hoped it would be
I spent 3 nights (2.5 days) here, and I’d like to think I had an opportunity to see a large portion of the city (on foot). As soon as my train pulled into S. Lucia station and I walked outside, I knew I loved it.
Sticking to my goal of avoiding transport where possible, I walked 35-40 minutes with backpacks in hand to San Marco, where I met my Airbnb host. Turns out, her flat is a meer 30 second walk from the very back of the square (opposite the basillica).
My first day was my favourite (Thursday, Oct 22). I unpacked and found myself running down the stairs to start the day. I honestly don’t remember that giddiness and sense of adventure. Something I haven’t felt in a long time.
That day I walked for 5 hours. Not in the main streets, but I wound my way through the city, passing over countless bridges. Every once and a while, I paused to take a picture (hard to capture this place).
That night (after dinner), I spent 3 hours walking between three 5-6 piece bands playing classical music, occasionally subbing in a well known movie title. The music/nighttime were my favourite oart of Venice, and I repeated this practice all 3 nights.
In terms of actual museums or exhibits, I saw: St. Marks Basillica, Doge’s Palace (€16), The Bridges of Graffiti (€8 exhibit), and San Marco Campanile (tower €8).
St. Marks is a must, as it’s the main attraction. I went when it was well lit, but am quite happy it was free. Not worth it otherwise as you are rushed through. If you do go, get there early (I went in line 10 minues before opening). Otherwise, pre-book your entrance online for (€1-2). I think the experience of the Duomo (Milan) was far better than the Basillica.
Doge’s Palace was quite amazing. I loved the paintings and frescoes. I also loved having the Bridge of Sighs to myself after patiently waiting for a tour group to take endless photos (which won’t turn out). If you are a budget traveller, either get a combo card or skip the place completely. Although it was grand, it also cut into my wallet.
The tower in St. Marks was probably the best touristy thing I did. It gives great views of the city, and there were few tourists there in the morning.
Other than night time, my favourite thing was walking the empty streets of the city, where I would occasionally see and older local nod at me as I slowly and quietly walked through their streets.
Venice is easily worth 2-3 nights. Wake up early and stay up late, and nap in the late afternoon when most of the tourists are here.
I don’t know if I’ll ever come back to Venice. There are hundreds of places to see, but I wouldn’t hesitate if given the opportunity (at the right time).
Next: Dublin (Round 1) October 25-27