Venice stole my heart from the second I set my eyes on it! Before I even got out of the water taxi, the dreamy old buildings, and the canals drew me in. I knew when I left in April of 2017 it wouldn’t be long before I was back.
In my opinion, you either love Venice or you hate it. Most people I’ve talked to who didn’t like Venice, had visited in the summer. The summer is high time for tourists so it’s crowded, it’s hot/humid, and people complain about the city smelling. Hellllo it’s surrounded by water, and it’s summer! I’ve been there in April and September, honestly I liked Venice better in April but I didn’t dislike the city in September. There were only a couple times where I noticed it smelling, and it wasn’t bad enough for me to be turned off. If this is a concern for you I’d suggest going in October/November or in April/May to avoid the crowds, heat, etc.
There are so many things I LOVE about Venice. If I were to pick up and move to Italy, Venice would be the first place I would go. To me the city is SO charming. I love that there are no cars, mostly mom and pop shops, the restaurants that sit on the canals all lit up at night are so romantic, I could go on and on. I also love getting lost in the streets in Venice, but I am dying to know my way around!
Last spring I stayed here at an Airbnb in the Castello area. The location was central to everything and had an adorable courtyard! It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cappuccino and croissant before heading out for the day.
The most recent trip I stayed in Sante Croce at this Airbnb. This is a little farther out of the way but it’s so nicely decorated and it sits right on the canal! Check out the view from the living room:
Rossopomodoro: my friends and I stumbled into this restaurant on our first night in Venice last spring. I found out after coming back to the states that it is a chain, but I would still recommend it! I had the Paccheri con ricotta, salsiccia e friarielli, which is pasta, sausage, ricotta and broccoli rabe. They have the recipe listed here if you want to try to make it at home! I tried to take my parents there but unfortunately they were closed the night we tried to eat there!
Farini is a great little pizza place. We stopped for lunch one day and it ended up being one of our favorite meals while in Italy. It’s very casual and quick!
Harry’s Bar is famous for it’s creation of the bellini. The bellinis are very over priced (in my opinion) it was €20 for one bellini, but when at Harry’s! Their beers and other cocktails (from what I remember) were reasonably priced!
Suso: Oh man, where do I even start. When I left Italy last spring I dreamt about this gelato. I always get the salted pistachio and it is amazing, my mouth is watering as I type this. I went at least once a day while I was there! I haven’t seen salted pistachio at any other gelateria so if you go to Suso you have to try it!
Take a gondola ride! A gondola ride in Venice is probably the most well known thing to do! When I was there in April (even though it wasn’t high tourist time) there was SO much traffic in the canals during our gondola ride. I had always imagined it to look like the movies but it was so far from that! This most recent trip there wasn’t any traffic. When you’re looking for a gondolier stay away from San Rialto bridge, or any of the super touristy spots so you don’t get charged extra. Also, in my experience they don’t give you the full 30 minutes so keep your eye on the time to make sure you don’t get cut short!
Get lost in the streets of Venice. This is super easy to do! I’ve heard the more narrow the streets are the more local the area is, not sure how true that is!
Find the bridge without a parapet! Out of the 400 plus bridges in Venice, Ponte di Chiodo is the only bridge without sides. My picture of the bridge was taken at night so it’s super dark, here is a photo of the bridge by Indiana Jo.
Do as the locals do! In any city I travel to, I love to see how the locals live. I found a Cicchetti & Wine Tour (cicchetti means small snacks) by Urban Adventures which allowed my friends and I to check out all the local spots. We went to TINY family owned restaurants, tasted cicchetti, and drank wine. Our tour guide was Claire and she was fabulous!
St. Marks Square is beautiful. The buildings are incredibly intricate. It’s pretty incredible to think these buildings were built entirely by hand!
St. Mark’s Campanile: For €8 you can take a lift to the top to see incredible views of the city. I would suggest doing an audio tour of this so you can know what you’re looking at. We didn’t and while it was beautiful, I had no idea what I was looking at!
Doge’s Palace: This tour was really very informative and really interesting! We opted to do a skip the line tour with Viator and I’m so happy we did. The guide shared so many facts with us, and took us to places we wouldn’t have found on our own! Our tour was 1.5 hours long, and after we walked around the rest of the property. We walked across the Bridge of Sighs which gets it name because prisoners would sigh as they were escorted to their cells.
Murano & Burano are must see places if you’re going to Venice! Murano is known for their hand blown glass. Glassblowing has fascinated me for so long, I could stay and watch for hours! We went to a studio a little off the beaten path called New Murano Gallery and it was amazing! We were able to watch the master work, they took us on a tour of the work area, and we ended in the gallery. Their gallery was absolutely incredible- some of the chandeliers they made go for €45,000 and up.
Burano is known for it’s colorful homes and handmade lace. Fun fact if a homeowner wants to repaint their home they have to send a letter to government officials outlining their request. I would love to paint my house a bright pink, you can’t help but be happy looking at colorful homes!
While looking cute is always a priority we were walking 20,000 steps a day a lot of days! I wore my Nike Free sneakers most days and packed my Tory Burch Millers for pictures and to let my feet breathe a bit!