2 days in Venice, Italy: Lost, happy & full of food!
Oh Venice! To be totally honest, after hearing some not so great reports, mostly about tourist overcrowding, I wasn’t really expecting much for my stay. But, unexpectedly I immediately fell in love as soon as I got out of the train station. I mean what is not too love. It is a visual masterpiece! Like there it all is, beautiful old buildings, the grand canal right there in front of you. Stunning. Like as stunning as it is in pictures, but better because you’re there.
I only had 2 nights in Venice as I’d been warned that eventually the number of tourists during the day will get quite annoying. From all reports from friends and family that had been and knowing myself too well (not a fan of crowds) I had contemplated skipping it entirely. Gladly sense prevailed, so the tradeoff would be 2 nights and just suck up the number of tourists. I mean, I can’t come all the way from Australia to Italy and miss Venice right?
Instantly I got lost. That pretty much set the pace for the rest of my stay.
I mean a stay in Venice wouldn’t be a stay in Venice without getting lost. Everyone does it so I knew I was in good company. Handy hint: It really does help to download a map on maps.me before you get there (this phone app really helped on several occasions in Italy) or just stuff the expense and roam data using google maps.
After finding Ca’ due Leonie, my hotel, YES ok it took me 20 minutes whereas it should have taken me 5, and wondering around for a few hours (yes, getting lost) it was time for my first Venetian tour, Streaty’s Venice food and wine night experience. I mean, I am quite the food and wine lover and Italy is famous for its high quality food and wine so let’s just start my stay in Italy off on the right foot hey! It would be a crime not to, right? I simply love food and booze. Something that if you’re a reader of this blog or know me personally, you already know quite well right!
You can read more about my food & wine experience in Venice right here.
It would have been about 9pm when the tour finished so time to explore Venice at night. With my mobile phone, google maps and headphones, there was absolutely no chance I’d get lost right?
Anyway, managed to somehow stumble across the Rialto Bridge, which is rather impressive at night. I went back the following day and did much prefer the night time view. Plus, there was slightly less people. Following on from that I slowly strolled through Cannaregio, over many of Venice’s famous bridges, peering into shops before settling in at a bar to sit out the front (it was a warm night) and have a glass of wine whilst people watching. Which is one of my favorite solo travel things to do. I did manage to find my way back to my hotel reasonably easy for a good nights sleep, aided by the few drinks I’d had on tour.
The next morning it was up early to try and get out exploring before the hordes of crowds descended upon Venice on my only full day there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who had that idea. As soon as I had found the Grand Canal, I was hit with an onslaught of people. Everywhere. Bugger it! There were so many people that getting over bridges was done at snails pace and the very narrow walkways you were shoulder to shoulder with people. Often, I had to move into a shop to get out of the way on oncoming foot traffic. CRAZY!!!!
My morning mission was to find my way to St Mark’s Square, have a squiz and visit the Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica. But the crowds had beaten me to it, with long lines to get in I decided to skip seeing inside and just be happy with seeing from the outside. St Mark’s Square was a flourish of activity, music, performance and flags being waved everywhere. Wondering if this was normal for a Friday, I asked a local who could tell me it was Italy’s Independence Day AND their saint, St Mark’s day!
Yep, not just one reason for a day off but two. No bloody wonder there were so many people! Not to be deterred, after all I had almost not gone to Venice at all, I wondered around, people watched, drank coffee and then when it was time to eat.. Pizza!!! My first pizza in Italy! And boy did it not disappoint. It was actually huge and I knew I would not get through the whole thing, but hell I gave it a fair nudge.
After a bit more walking around, yes getting lost, some shopping, getting lost some more, looking in galleries, and sneaking an Aperitivo or two the afternoon had got away from me and it was time for dinner. This time… Pasta! Real Italian pasta, my favourite. I ate at Tre Archi which was right around the corner from Ca’ due Leonie. The restaurant is right on the water so it was lovely to sit outside and watch people go by whilst eating pasta and drinking Aperol spritz.
My third day in Venice was my last, and it was an early exit. Part of me wanted to stay and explore more, mostly I wanted to get out of there away from the crowds of tourists and off to Bologna. Venice truly is beautiful. It is stunning and it is unique. The locals are absolutely lovely and willing to get to know you or help you.
I am disappointed that I couldn’t stay longer but the sheer number of tourists was enough for me. Perhaps next time I go to Italy I will plan to go on the off season closer to winter (but not during) where the place is starting to quiet down. Maybe that will make for a much more pleasant experience.
I stayed at Ca’ Due Leoni while in Venice. You can read my review here