Take Me Back to the Days of Travel
About Venice, Italy
Joseph Brodsky once said, “Venice is eternity itself.” I can think of no better way to describe this astonishing city of canals and bridges. Venice or Venezia in Italian is a city located in the Veneto region of Italy. It is enclosed in the Venetian Lagoon of the Adriatic Sea.
The founding of Venice is a bit unclear but is it believed to have been founded by refugees fleeing conflicts during invasions by Germanic Tribes and the Huns. The actual construction of the city began 5th century AD after the fall of the Roman Empire.
The residents constructed buildings on the water. These structures are built upon platforms supported by wooden beams driven deep into the earth. People say the city is sinking and with global warming, they aren’t wrong. The sea levels seem to increase each year.
In terms of government, the Republic of Venice has always been run by councils instead of monarchs. The highest of these officials being the Doge. Today you can even visit the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in St. Marks Square (San Marco). The area was longtime maritime superpower until additional hubs opened in the Atlantic Ocean. Today, Venice is known as a major tourism destination.
You must get lost in the historic alleyways as you discover small shops, impeccable restaurants, and more. While Venice may be known as a tourist hub, it has an untouchable quality about it that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. The energy of this island will draw you in and make you never want to leave.
In October of 2019, my mom and I decided to take our first trip to Europe together. I can still vividly recall flying over the French Alps and landing at the Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE).
Exiting the airport was a vastly different experience than any airport I have been to before. Due to Venice being on the water, they have an area to board you onto a small speedboats or water taxis to transport you to the main island.
On this particular October day, the waves were choppy and the air had a slight bite, but it didn’t matter because we were thrilled to finally set eyes on our destination. Suddenly there were gondolas and pastel buildings full of history.
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Where We Stayed
For our first trip to Europe we played it safe and booked our entire trip through CIE Tours. Now tour companies are entirely outside of my comfort zone since I like to do my own thing, but the experience was incredibly positive. We always had free time to do what we wanted. I am happy to share more about the tour company. Feel free to message me or drop a comment below.
We were booked into a double room in the Hotel Bonvecchiati which is right in the heart of Venice. Literally just a few blocks from San Marco/St. Mark’s Square.
The beds here are comfortable and I love how the windows open up to a view of the streets below. The hotel also had good Wi-Fi and delicious food at the breakfast bar. I would recommend staying here. Plus culture shock, but the tiny elevators crack me up.
Yet, if I did it again. I think I would book a reputable airbnb to save money for fun activities. Note for safety, always book airbnb that have high reviews. In the filters during your search, choose Airbnb Plus under verified stays and Superhost. It may be a slightly higher price, but better safe than sorry!
Don’t worry about being close to landmarks. The city is not that big so you can easily walk to everything.
Here is an example:
For a 1 week stay in October it comes to $896 with all fees and taxes. Not too shabby if you consider hotel prices. Of course, shop around and you can find even cheaper stays to fit your needs.
If you’d like $40.00 off your first booking with airbnb, then feel free to use my referral code.
What to Do
Visit San Marco/St. Mark’s Square in the morning around 7:00 am. You will essentially have the entire square to yourself in October. We loved getting up early and walking through the square before the crowds would show up.
Check out the Palazzo Ducale/Doge’s Palace the art is quite stunning and worth the visit. I enjoyed seeing the views of Venice from the upper floor windows.
Get lost in the small alleyways of Venice. Most of the alleys have signs that will lead you back to San Marco if you get lost. Browse the shops and grab some tasty treats along the way.
Be a cliché and book a gondola ride. It may be the quintessential tourist thing to do, but venturing through the historic canals is worth it. The typical price is roughly 32 euros per person. Learn more.
Book a visit to the roof of the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi just before sunset for a 360 degree view of Venice. You should book in advance to secure a spot. It is totally free but you will be limited to 15 minute visits to allow for everyone to get a chance to see the view. You can book your visit on their website.
Lose yourself in the books at Libreria Acqua Alta. This bookshop is known for withstanding the rising tides in Venice. Resulting in the shop keeping their books in boats and bathtubs. It was a unique destination and there is an area in the back of the shop where you can get your photo taken on top of some of the old books. Also, they have a shop cat which is just adorable.
Need more? Pick up Lonely Planet’s Pocket Venice Guide for a map, top signs, local life, and a variety of tips. It was well used during my trip.
What to Eat
You are in Italy so naturally you should eat all the pasta! One budget friendly restaurant I suggest you get some pasta from, is Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go (Calle De La Casseleria, 5324, 30122 Venice Italy). It is delicious and cheap.
For a more sit down style of restaurant, my mom and I had a great experience at Ristorante Florida (Riva del Vin San Polo 733, 30125 Venice Italy). This restaurant is right on the Grand Canal. We sat outside on a cool October evening and the view was stunning. Despite some reviews I’ve seen online, our food was awesome and the service was good. We were even able to get in without a reservation. I got the seafood pasta and the orange fizz for a drink.
Venice is known for chicchetti/cicheti (pictured above). These small snacks can be purchased at bars. A place I would recommend is Cantine del Vino già Schiavi (Fondamenta Nani, 992, 30123 Dorsoduro, Venezia VE, Italy). It is run by a woman named Alassandra who has run the restaurant for over 60 years so you know it’s good!
Want dessert? You must have gelato! I visited La Mela Verde (Fondamenta de l’Osmarin Castello 4977 Ponte dei Greci, 30122 Venice Italy) The gelato was creamy and decadent. My go-to is always pistachio and coffee.
What to Wear
Naturally, this will vary depending on when you are visiting Venice. I will say that even though we visited in Mid-October, the weather was still quite warm. Pack some neutral and classic outfits. Slacks and blouses.
In the evenings, you really only needed a scarf on your shoulders or a light sweater. Skip the thick coats. The only time I wore an actual jacket, was when we visited Orvieto in the Umbria region of Italy on a slightly rainy day.
Regarding footwear, I would suggest wearing shoes that are comfortable, but if you care, not a dead giveaway that you’re a tourist. I’d leave the clunky sneakers at home. Unless you struggle with other footwear then by all means please be comfortable! If you visit during the rainy season where the tides rise, then you’ll need to pack some rain boots.
I would highly suggest visiting during the non-peak seasons. There are still quite a few tourists in mid-October, but nothing like the summer months. We visited right before the rainy season which typically starts the last week of October into November and so on. The weather was warm and slightly cool in the evening. Absolutely perfect for us.
If you do choose to visit in November, then be aware of the flooding issue in Venice. Global warming has only made this worse with the rising sea levels.
Another thing I would point out is that while most locals are exceptionally kind, I did notice that some hospitality workers aren’t the most approachable. I would like to suggest that you don’t take that personally. Be respectful of the local culture and you should be fine.
You must visit Venice. There is no other place quite like it. I promise you will fall in love.
“There is a glorious City in the Sea.Samuel Rogers; Italy, A Poem
The Sea is in the broad, the narrow streets,
Ebbing and flowing; and the salt sea-weed
Clings to the marble of her palaces.
No track of men, no footsteps to and fro,
Lead to her gates. The path lies o’er the Sea,
Invisible; and from the land we went,
As to a floating City – steering in,
And gliding up her streets as in a dream…”
Hello everyone! I am a Boston based blogger that loves all things travel and lifestyle. You can usually find me working away at my university job, snapping pictures, thrifting, or trying out some new recipes.