Walter surprised me with 2 days in Venice back in October of 2019 because I’d told him I was apprehensive about liking it. I said the same thing about Florence, since I had been before and wasn’t a huge fan because I don’t enjoy anything super touristy. I ended up LOVING Venice (and Florence). We went at the perfect time of year when it wasn’t too hot or stinky, PLUS it wasn’t a usual touristy time. We took an Italo train from the station in Bologna to Venice. I hope you enjoy discovering the best of Venice, Italy that I’ve discovered so far!
Walter’s thoughts about Venice
“Venice seems to have been made for lovers. But how? It is always full of tourists (not in this period), so thick that more than people we look like sardines. Here: Venice is for sardines in love. No! It’s just made for love. Love for moments, glimpses, street artists and gondolas…In getting lost in a floating bookstore, then accompanying the sun towards its sunset on the seafront. Love in waiting for the evening to visit Piazza San Marco and discover that it is all for you. Then finally seeing Venice in the magical and intimate side of her. Even the little band under the portico is playing just for you. And of course the love for bringing with you someone special. Venice is for lovers.”
What he wrote got me thinking, perhaps it doesn’t matter the places you go, but the person or people accompanying you. I have a feeling I could love any place with Walter by my side. Who would you like to spend 2 days experiencing the best of Venice, Italy with?
A map of the best of Venice Italy I’ve find so far
Below, you can find all of the places detailed in this blog post, in map form! It’s much easier for me to plan when I can see the locations of everything at once. We walked around the entire trip, but you can also take a water taxi or water bus/ferry to get around if something is a bit far from where you are. We took one of the ferries back to the train station since we had all of our suitcases in toe.
Where to stay in Venice Italy
Hotel Belle Arti
This hotel has rooms in the classic Venetian style, but with all the modern day amenities like A/C! I loved the ornate wallpaper and touches in the room AND the location was perfect! It was just steps from Ponte Dell’accademia.
The best apartment in the Heart of Venice Italy on the canals
If you have a larger group, this place can host 6 people! Honestly, it’s still affordable for a couple in my opinion. The location is wonderful, you have a private balcony with a canal view, and you can really settle into the Venezian lifestyle.
What to see and do in Venice Italy
Ponte Dell’accademia is located at the Southern end of the Grand Canal. This was our favorite spot to take in the twinkly nighttime view and sunrise over Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute.
Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute
Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute is located at the entrance of the Grand Canal. We enjoyed sitting on its steps, people-watching while listening to a musician’s melody.
The best bridge of Venice Italy – Rialto Bridge
There are four bridges that span the Grand Canal. The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four and also the most famous. There are shops lined along the bridge which definitely made this one of the most crowded spots we set foot in while in Venice. I opted for a quick photo op on one side of the bridge before venturing into a less crowded area where we happened to find our favorite meal of the trip.
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco is the main public square in Venice. It’s a wonderful place to walk through day and night. We happened upon a joyous group of people singing a song from the Sound of Music while we were on our way back to the hotel one of the nights.
I have found that the best way to see most new-to-me places is to walk around where my intuition and curiosity takes me. Don’t forget to look up! I also love to ask the locals for tips on sights to see and places to eat.
The best (and FREE) panoramic view of Venice Italy – T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
A history lesson on T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Now a luxury department store (since 2016), this building was built in 1228 — emerging as one of the most important fixtures in Italy, linking the East and West in culture and commerce. It was reconstructed in 1508 after a 🔥. Upon reopening, it became the epicenter of Venice’s economy. Imports of furs, wools and leathers from northern Europe met locally manufactured Murano glass, lace and velvet. During Napoleon’s reign, it was converted into a customs house — a warehouse of goods, trading post, and accommodation for merchants, packers, carriers and cooks. In the mid-17th century, with Ottoman expansion, Venice experienced a downturn in commerce and the Fondaco closed. In 1870 it’s doors reopened and it functioned as the city’s post office for almost a century. It seems the building has come full circle from the epicenter of trade & luxury goods — to a luxury department store today.
How to visit T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
- Be sure to book ahead here or google “book T Fondaco Rooftop Terrace”
- The time slots are 15 minutes with a limited amount of people.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum on the Grand Canal. It consists of a wonderful collection of art and has a private terrace with a beautiful view of the grand canal. You can purchase tickets ahead of time here. They are 16 euros each as I type this!
Libreria Acqua Alta di Frizzo Luigi
Libreria Acqua Alta di Frizzo Luigi is a must stop if you or your companion are a book lover. They have a bunch of vintage books, fun photo opps and plenty of nooks to explore.
Obviously hopping in a Gondola is the most Venetian thing you can do while in Venice. Instead of doing so, I’ve only taken photos of gondola so far. Maybe next trip!
The best restaurants of Venice Italy
Rialto Fish Market
Rialto Fish Market is a wonderful place to get fresh produce or, you guessed it, fresh FISH! Be sure to check the hours on the days you’re in town.
L’ Bacaro de’ Bischeri
We grabbed a couple of sandwiches here after seeing all of the 5 star rave reviews online!
What we ordered at L’ Bacaro de’ Bischeri:
We started off with a cicchetto — snack or small side dish, typically served in a bar (or bacaro = tavern) in Venice, Italy — couldn’t resist that chicken liver (not pictured)
COSIMO DE’ MEDICI — lardo, pecorino, 🍄 & LORENZACCIO — prosciutto cotto, mustard, arugula, roasted 🍅
The rest of our group ordered (not pictured) : VIOLA — mozzarella, olive, lettuce, 🍅
& for dessert!
LA SCHIACCIATA DI BABBO NATALE — Nutella, 🍊 marmalade, hazelnut
This restaurant quickly became our favorite restaurant in Venice! They concentrate on seasonal Venetian dishes with a bit of a lean in the vegetarian direction, but there are still some meat dishes. I am very much not a vegetarian, but I love when dishes celebrate vegetables in a way that you’re excited to eat them. I am convinced you cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. One of our friends on the trip with us is vegetarian and she still raves about this spot, but so do we!
What we ordered (not all pictured) at La Zucca:
Pork with a honey mustard sauce, Tagliatelle with Almond Pesto, Lentils with yogurt sauce, Carrots with lime and coriander, Leek gratin with Gorgonzola and pistachios, Prosecco Caramelized Onions
Dessert: Pumpkin & Amaretti Pudding & Upside down Pear Cake
Cantina Do Spade
This was our favorite meal of our first trip to Venice. It’s a wonderful traditional cicchetti (small snacks or side dishes). We happened to stumble upon it after seeing Rialto Market. We actually went a second time expecting a similar experience, but after mentioning that one of our party was vegetarian, it was like some switch went off in the person’s brain.
What we ordered at Cantina Do Spade
Mixed Fried Fish (Frittura Mista), Truffle Spaghetti, Mushroom Risotto & Panna Cotta (not recommended, the flavor on top was cough-syrupy).
Ristorante Al Giardinetto Venezia
Ristorante Al Giardinetto Venezia has been offering typical Venetian cuisine since 1949. We enjoyed the evening outside on their spacious patio.
What we ordered at Ristorante Al Giardinetto Venezia:
Squid Ink Tagliolini Lobster Ragout, Crab Tagliolini, Tiramisu & House Torta
Trattoria Ai Cugnai
Trattoria Ai Cugnai was honestly not our favorite, but it has wonderful reviews online! It may have just been an off day or an off dish for our experience.
What we ordered at Trattoria Ai Cugnai:
Seafood Ravioli & Lobster & Tomato Tagliatelle
As the world begins to open up, my hope is that you get to plan that trip you’ve been yearning! If that location happens to be Venice, feel free to share your favorite stops in the comments.
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