Hey Shall We Wine Tribe,
I hope you’re following my great adventure through Italy and soon France.
I had to write this quick blog post to tell you about my 20 hours in Venice! It was my first and surely not my last time.
When my trip to Collio, Italy was scheduled (details to come), I decided to book a short trip to Venice. I had 20 hours. Can you see the historical city of Venice in 20 hours?
As most of us travelers do, I turned to friends and Google for a list of “must-dos in Venice in 24 hours.” As you can imagine, there were so many articles on how to spend 24 remarkable hours in the City of Love.
I won’t repeat the typical itinerary: St. Marks Square (check), Bridge of Sighs (check, check) and gondola ride (check, check, check)! Yeeesss! Do it all! Since you all are travel enthusiast, let me give you the skinny on what I wish I had known prior to my 20-hour Venice Visit. Follow these tips for your perfect day trip.
10. Yup, you can see Venice in a day… if you surrender to the tourist in you. It’s ok, put on your gym shoes, tighten your fanny pack, be wide open, Venice is worth all the hype. Remember the first time you saw the Eiffel tower at night? Venice is that amazing. When it comes to Venice, you get no cool points for being cool. It’s okay to buy and wear an I HEART VENICE T-SHIRT! We understand.
9. If you have less than 24 hours, do not take your luggage into Venice. Pack an overnight bag and leave your suitcase in a storage locker at the airport or train station. The streets of Venice are unforgiving large slabs of uneven, knee aching, feet bruising, new luggage wheel challenging medieval torture stones. I was concerned that the rollers of my newfangled, hard-cased, navy with deep tan trim baggage would fly off. Also, Venice is connected by bridges so you may (like I did) carry 2 bags weighting 15 kilos each up and then down several bridges of stairs. Not fun, but my biceps are popping!
8. Time is not on your side. To really #DoVenice, you need to see it by land and by sea. Take a water taxi from the airport to your hotel and the bus back to the airport. You’ll get the full Venetian experience. The water taxi will glide you past the Venice of postcards while the bus winds through the roads less pictured.
7. Where to stay? You might be thinking, “it’s only 24 hours, who cares where I sleep.” Uh, I care and you should too. Most of the affordable hotels are old, musty and poorly furnished. However, we lucked up on a JEWEL. Check into the Alle Guglie Boutique Hotel (Rio San Leonardo 1523). We found it on hotels.com for $128 double occupancy. From the front desk manager to the house keeping staff, everyone is friendly. Fresh juice, a map (see #3) and local recommendations awaits you at check in. The staff helps with your luggage (this is a 3-floor walk-up. Like I said, leave your luggage in a locker at the airport or train station). This hotel is newly remodeled, new bathrooms, air conditioned, clean, clean, clean. Uh did I say clean? So fresh, so well decorated and so clean.
6. If you’ve traveled much, you’ve probably been advised to, “eat away from the touristy areas. Go where the locals go.” Blah blah blah, look, you’re here for 24 hours or less. Unless there’s a restaurant that you’ve read about and dreamed of dining there, then just eat. There are so many options from budget friendly pizza squares with imaginative toppings, individual savory tarts, fresh fruit smoothies, pomme frites and so much more. I know you’re shocked to hear me say this, but this is not the time to roam around hoping to run into a mom and pop, dark haired beautiful daughter as the hostess, Michelin star restaurant. Just eat and eat a lot.
5. See Venice from up above. Find a rooftop bar and gaze over the island. NOTE: There are many Skybars. I happened to have some friends in the area and told them to meet me at the Skybar. Well a sky bar is a bar on a rooftop, not the necessarily the name of the bar. After an hour of roaming around from skybar to skybar, they found me. Stop at one and have a glass of Franciacorta, Italy’s challenge to Champagne.
4. The number one form of transportation in Venice is your feet. You’ll be walking! You can take water taxis around the island, but you want to be heart of the city, so stretch and be prepared for an amazing day on your feet.
3. Get a map; Waze may not be able to show you the way back to your hotel. Wi-Fi is spotty. But Venetians are lovely hosts and willing to give directions. No one laughed (to my face) at my poor Italian.
2. Walk into the unknown. If you’re planning to visit Venice, I’m sure that visiting the famous sites are on your list. Sure, do it, but I encourage you to walk into the little antique shops, gelato stands and the breath-taking art galleries. We were surprised to find some free activities in Venice. My favorite was the hour spent at The European Cultural Center (3659 Strada Nova 30121) where I was introduced to European visual artists, sculptures and painters.
1. Venice is the best city to get lost in. It’s a wonderful maze of spooky allies, poetic corners, and theatrical spaces. Have an adventure, check off your must-see places, toss the itinerary and get lost in the magic of Venice.