Venice, Italy

Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and I couldn’t have imagined starting our honeymoon anywhere else than here! With no roads or cars, just canals and gondolas, Venice is unlike any city we have ever visited. Renaissance and Gothic palaces line the Grand Canal, gondoliers serenade young and old lovers alike, and at every turn, the views take your breath away.

We arrived in Venice early afternoon, and after attempting…and failing multiple times…to navigate our way to our apartment rental, we quickly gave up and asked for directions. After finally getting settled, we decided it was best to ditch the map and get lost! Here’s how we spent 4 days in Venice. (Caution: photo overload!)

Day 1
Our apartment rental (VRBO) was located in San Polo, a vibrant neighborhood with both historical sights and laid-back Venetian culture. Almost immediately, we recognized it would be near impossible to learn our way around the city without getting lost. But getting lost is one of the best ways to explore Venice! We made our way to the Rialto Bridge and then through the San Marco area, before reaching Saint Mark’s Square. I had booked tickets ahead of time to tour Saint Mark’s Basilica and Saint Mark’s Campanile, which I highly recommend because your ticket allows you to skip the line. Beware! There are thousands and thousands of tourists in Saint Mark’s Square! Not all of Venice is as crowded and crazy, but no visit to Venice is complete without stopping here.

For dinner, we headed to CoVino. Reservations are a must, as there are only 16 seats and 2 time offerings for dinner each night. We paired each course with a glass of wine as recommended by the chef, and we left so happy and full. I would highly recommend eating here!


 The view from our VRBO in Venice

 The Rialto Bridge

The Grand Canal

 Wine & Cicchetti at Cantina do Mori

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal

 “Support” — a sculpture intending to highlight the devastation from climate change

The Grand Canal

 The view from Saint Mark’s Campanile

Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore


 Dinner at CoVino

Day 2
After getting a good nights sleep, we were ready for our second full day in Venice! Unfortunately, the weather was rainy and cold, but we didn’t let that stop us from getting out to explore! We started our morning walking through the San Marco neighborhood, before crossing the Accademia Bridge to Dorsoduro. Dorsoduro is Venice’s university district with far fewer tourists and much cheaper prices. This is also a neighborhood with many well-known art galleries and museums, including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. We stumbled upon a free Venetian glass museum, and after warming up a bit, we ventured back outside to the Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute, a baroque-style Roman Catholic Church. Built in the early 1600s after Venice experienced a devastating plague, the church was dedicated to Our lady of Health to protect the Venetian people. Make sure you walk around the Basilica as there are beautiful views of Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore and the island of Giudecca.

In the late afternoon, we toured Doge’s Palace, a must-see museum showcasing Gothic architecture. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice. My favorite part of the museum was the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the interrogation rooms in Doge’s Palace to the prison. The bridge supposedly received its name because prisoners would sigh at their final view of Venice before being taken into the prison.

We ended our evening in the Jewish Quarter, drinking wine and eating cicchetti. If only there were more hours in the day, I would have loved to explore more of the Jewish Quarter, as there are barely any tourists and you get a real glimpse into true Venetian life.

A rainy morning in Venice

 The view from the Accademia Bridge

Venetian glass museum

Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute

 The quiet canals of Dorsoduro

 Exploring Dorsoduro

Doge Palace

 The view from the Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

 Wine & cicchetti at Vino-Vero

 Wine & cicchetti at Vino-Vero

One of two bridges in Venice without a parapet (railing)

Day 3
On our third full day in Venice, we woke up bright and early to the sound of church bells from the surrounding campanili (church bell towers). We explored more of the San Polo neighborhood before heading back to Dorsoduro to check out the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. If there is only one museum you visit while in Venice, this is the one. The gallery houses Peggy’s personal collection of Cubism, Futurism, European Abstract, Avant-Garde sculpture, and Surrealism by some of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

We then made our way to Gritti Palace, a 5-star hotel with magnificent views of the Grand Canal. We spoiled ourselves to drinks and apps, which in retrospect were insanely expensive, but you only honeymoon once, right?!?

With a beautiful afternoon ahead of us, we set out to explore and found ourselves at Libreria Acqua Alta, the self-proclaimed “most beautiful bookstore in the world”. Due to acqua alta, or high tide, which causes frequent flooding, the bookstore has placed all books in canoes, gondolas, and bathtubs. Books are not the only things seeking refuge from the high tide — there were multiple cats hanging out atop the endless stacks of books.

Just before sunset, we headed to Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a high-end department store with a rooftop terrace offering 360 degree views of Venice and the Grand Canal. The views are absolutely breathtaking, and even more, the terrace is free! Don’t forget to make reservations online, as this allows you to skip the line. There is no better place to admire Venice from up above.

The busy side streets of San Polo

Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute — on a sunny day!

 Laundry hanging to dry in Dorsoduro

 Exploring the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

 Expressional (?) art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The Grand Canal

 The view from the Accademia Bridge

Drinks at Gritti Palace

Drinks at Gritti Palace with my handsome husband <3

 Libreria Acqua Alta

 Libreria Acqua Alta

 Libreria Acqua Alta

 Libreria Acqua Alta — glad we didn’t have to use the fire exit!

Sunset from Fondaco dei Tedeschi

Sunset from Fondaco dei Tedeschi

Day 4
On our fourth and final day in Venice, we set out to explore the Venetian Lagoon, stopping in Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

Our first stop was Murano, which is much more quiet and laid-back than Venice. There is a miniature “Grand Canal” with lots of sidewalk cafes, beautiful old churches, and Venetian glass factories. In the late 1200s, the Doge of Venice ordered all Venetian glassmakers to move their furnaces to Murano as a precaution against fires. Since then, glassmaking has become Murano’s legacy. We strolled the main canal, admiring the glass from shop windows, before visiting Museu del Vetro, a museum that displays Venetian glass dating back to Egyptian times. As we made our way back to the vaporetto, we stumbled upon a glass factory, where we were able to watch craftsmen at work!

Our next stop was supposed to be Burano, but trying to understand the vaporetto conductor announce the stops was near impossible, so we ended up getting off at Mazzorbo. This was probably one of the best mistakes we made, as we discovered Venissa Winery — a Michelin-star restaurant and Venice’s only vineyard. We sampled the entire menu, losing track of time and soaking up the sun. We soon remembered we had two more islands to visit, so we reluctantly left, but promised ourselves we would return sometime soon!

We walked the island of Mazzorbo to Burano — a fisherman’s village known for it’s handcrafted lace and multi-colored houses. I immediately fell in love Burano: the colors lining the canal are captivating, breathtaking, and in complete contrast with the muted hues and crumbling architecture of Venice. We walked for what felt like hours, up and down the canals, in awe with how beautiful the island is. We learned the colors are heavily regulated by the government — those who live on the island have to write a letter asking for permission before painting. Rumor has it, the fishermen originally painted their houses in bright colors so they could see them while out fishing. We were so captivated by the colors of the island that barely spent any time learning about Burano’s true legacy — handcrafted lace!

Our last and final stop was Torcello, which has few residents and the main attraction is the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta. The cathedral was founded in 639 and is decorated with beautiful Byzantine mosaics, including a depiction of The Last Judgment.

Exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, we headed back to Venice. We had an amazing last dinner at Il Paradiso Perduto, which has the best seafood pasta I have ever tasted. (Not to mention, we had a special visitor join us for dinner!) We ended our evening with gelato under the Rialto Bridge and a spritz before returning to our apartment to get ready for our next adventure: Munich!

 Murano, the glassmaking island

 Venetian glass

 Venetian glass

 Venetian glass

 

Venissa Winery

 Tasting the most amazing wines at Venissa Winery.

 Tasting the most amazing wines at Venissa Winery

 Burano — the colors automatically put you in a cheerful mood

The Island of Burano

The Island of Burano

The Island of Burano

The Island of Burano

Can we move here!?

 The island of Burano

 Even the windows are perfect

 The island of Burano

 The colors never end! So beautiful

 The island of Torcello. And of course, I found a cat!

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta

The best seafood pasta at Il Paradiso Perduto

Il Paradiso Perduto

 Our new friend at Il Paradiso Perduto

 A perfect way to end our last night in Venice — Suso Gelato under the Rialto Bridge

And of course, an evening spritz!

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