Venice.. The city where every single street and corner looks like a painting, where you wander around and feel like you’re in a movie set. Venice is the definition of picture perfect.
Usually when you venture outside the centre you start to encounter some pretty sketchy neighbourhoods, or the cleanliness seriously goes down hill; Venice instead remains quaint and pristine everywhere you turn. My favourite part was that we had no plan; just getting lost in the little streets, called ‘calle’ and thus slowly moving away from the crowds allowed us to experience it in its true essence.
I found the smaller, less known areas the prettiest. There are cute little bridges everywhere to cross the vast number of canals, made of brick and stone, or with their paint slightly faded which just adds to their charm.
The houses are a unique representation of Italian architecture: their Juliet balconies are adorned with flowers, each is a different colour that somehow works perfectly, again slightly faded but not to the point of being derelict.
TOP THINGS TO DO:
I’m not your biggest museum fan. I’ve been to some pretty incredible ones, but if I only have limited time, I’m all about getting a proper feel of a city by walking around it and getting lost as much as I can. Also, I’m addicted to sunshine and have found myself to be rather vitamin D deficient since living in the UK, hence if the sun is shining, you will not find me in a museum. Those are for a rainy day 🙂 That said, here were some of my favourite things I did while in Venice:
1) Wander aimlessly and get lost in the cute cobble streets. Surprise surprise, this was by far the most satisfying activity that also led to our coolest discoveries. Each turn will amaze you, wander without a plan, follow your senses and fall away from the crowds.
2) Eat & drink like a local. It was while getting lost that we came across some awesome spots and got to taste some of the infamous “cicchetti” which I discovered are not a drink but rather food! They are the equivalent of Spain’s tapas, or even more close to the Basque Country’s pintxos. You order a glass of wine and have a selection of nibbles on slices of bread to choose from.
Our favourite spot was Corner Pub (Dorsoduro 684) where a Spritz was only €3 and by far the best (and strongest) we had while in Venice. They offered cicchetti as well as platters of cheeses, cured meats and grilled vegetables which looked like heaven.
We also discovered what must be a local favourite called Bar Lele, where they served wine in the cutest mini glasses I’ve ever seen for just 60 cents and cicchetti for around the same amount! We of course felt legitimised to indulge in a few rounds since it had just gone midday 🙂
3) Have as many Aperol Spritz as you can! Enjoy a good Italian aperitivo pretty much anywhere.
4) Visit Murano & Burano. These quaint little islands can be reached via ferry. A day ticket is €20 and Murano is only around 15 min away while Burano takes around 30-45 min since the ferry does its various stops.
Murano is where all the glass blowing factories are. This craftsmanship has been beautifully preserved and you can see some enthralling demonstrations of the maestros’ skill. With the smallest of movements they blow on the scorching glass via a long steel tube and rapidly create vases, animals, all sorts of beautiful ornaments.
Burano for me was the highlight – it is very small and pretty, with each and every house painted in a different but equally vivid colour. I just loved it! Aside from it being where the antique and still active lace factories are, it is a colour feast for the eyes.
5) Buy some original souvenirs. The Christmas season is creeping upon us! Walk around the Rialto stalls or the shops in Cannaregio and you’ll find glass pretty much anything you could possibly imagine, as well as beautiful masks and some delicious local products (pasta, limoncello, lavender goods, even absynth!).
To me Venice is pure Italy. It may be very touristy, but it is a pure representation of Italy’s beauty, architecture and art. Traditions have been kept alive and the colours are bright. It is so innately romantic, but can also be enjoyed by friends or solo travellers. What can I say, I could not recommend it more!