23.07.2015 - 24.01.2015 18 °C
Venice has been described as the most beautiful city built by man and one of the most romantic cities in the world. And truthfully so. From the beautiful churches and palaces along the Grand Canal, to the Gondola ride, to just roaming the cute little streets of Venice late into the night, enjoyed every moment in Venice.
We left from the beautiful city of Florence at 8:30 AM by train and reached Venice at 10:35 AM. We were greeted by the pouring rain which seemed to be following us everywhere. In Florence, the rain had not got us very worried since we had 3 days there. However, we were in Venice for only 1 day and I must say, it got us anxious.
At the Venezia Santa Lucia railway station, we purchased the vaparetto (water bus) pass. For more information on the same, visit ACTV Website. We purchased the ACTV - 24 hours Ticket for 20 euros which allows unlimited travel on the vaparetto for 24 hours. Since we were going to stay in Venice for only 1 day, we did not want to carry all our luggage with us. We kept whatever we would need for one day in a single bag and left the rest of the luggage in the luggage room at the station.
While on the topic, I would like to mention a few very important points here:
- Venice is made up of several small canals and small bridges across these canals. Usually to travel to any hotel, you would need to get down at the nearest Vaparetto stop and walk to your hotel. This would mean walking over several canals and with a lot of luggage in tow, that would be a tedious job. So, keep your luggage minimal.
- Alternatively, you could take a private water taxi which may be able to drop you to your hotel directly. But this would be the costlier option and in our case, it was costing us 100 euros one way. So paying 200 euros only for a taxi seemed pointless to us for our one day stay.
- It is better to choose a hotel which is located close to the vaparetto stop for the reasons mentioned above.
We stepped out of the Santa Lucia station and protected by our umbrellas, walked towards the vaparetto stop which is just opposite the station. There is something about this city that makes you fall in love with it the moment you set foot on it. We took the vaporetto line 1 which takes you along the grand canal. The structures and palaces along the Grand canal are awesome and make you gape at them in awe. It is a real wonder as to how such amazing structures were created along the Grand Canal and how they are being maintained.
We had booked ourselves at the Hotel Fontana which is very close to the San Zaccaria stop (around 200 meters). By the time we reached San Zaccaria, it had stopped raining and again, as in Florence the weather was just perfect. Thank god for our good luck. We walked to Hotel Fontana which has only one canal to cross as compared to the numerous canals you need to cross for several other hotels we had checked. I cannot say enough good things about our hotel. It was centrally located (400 mts from St. Marks square) and a quick walk away from several fabulous restaurants. The room was very spacious and facing a cute little street. The hotel staff was extremely friendly and went out of their way to help us with maps and other information.
After freshening up in our rooms, we left for lunch. I had read up reviews of a wonderful restaurant very close to our hotel called as Trattoria Alla Rivetta ( 140 mt from hotel) .Venice is known for seafood and we had a delicious meal which turned out to be the best of our 15 day trip. We had fish lasagne and gnocchi in crabmeat sauce and of course tiramisu. What a fantastic meal it was...Also, the waiters at the restaurant were awesome with our kiddo which added to the experience.
We walked to St.Marks square which is the largest square in Venice and there were people sitting and enjoying their wine, artists drawing portraits, and pigeons flocking around the tourists. Isha had a wonderful time with her friends, the pigeons St. Marks square houses the St Mark's Basilica which is supposed to be a must-see. However because of our mistiming, the basilica was closed by the time we reached it.
We queued up for the Campanile and got a beautiful bird's eye view of Venice from there.
It is impossible to complete a trip to Venice without a gondola ride. After St. Marks square, we headed to a smaller canal near our hotel to take the gondola ride. On the way, we crossed the Bridge of Sighs. This bridge is made of white limestone and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. As per Wikipedia, the bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cell
The Gondola ride was a pleasant experience. I think we were charged 100 euros for 30 minutes which was higher than the standard. The gondolier took us through some nice small canals and finally entered the grand canal for the last 5-10 minutes of the ride. It was a good experience but not worth the hype.
There is this pasta place known as 'Alfredo's pasta to go' in Venice. If you look up its reviews on tripadvisor, you would know just how popular it is. We headed to this pasta place following directions on google maps. On knowing that we are Indians, we were suggested some specific pastas which they believed would suit our taste. The pasta though decent, was too spicy for us. We sat on the steps next to a small canal close to Alfredos to enjoy the pasta and wine while watching the passing gondolas.
Next, we walked to the Rialto bridge, the oldest bridge to cross the Grand canal. It was very crowded, which was obvious considering that it is so famous. We got some lovely photos of the grand canal from the top of the bridge.
We walked across the Rialto bridge and reached a quieter yet beautiful part of Venice. I think this place is called San Polo. We just wandered around for some time here enjoying ice-cream and soaking in everything around us...
The sun had already set by now and we took the vaparetto all the way to Santa Lucia railway station and back to San Zaccaria stop, watching all the wonders of Venice along the way. We basically wanted to experience Venice at night. Just as Venice is magical by the day, it is even more dream like at night. As the sun sets and the city is illuminated, the atmosphere turns even more romantic. It is less crowded and the streets, canals, bridges have a different feel to it. The water in the canals glitters with the reflection of the lights, the buildings are beautifully lit up...to know it, you have to experience it.
After wandering around the streets for some time, we retired to our rooms still filled with awe and amazement about this city. We were repenting that we had kept only one day in Venice. We did not do justice to it during this trip, but hopefully sometime in the future if are to make a trip again to Italy, we would definitely allot more time here. Love you VENICE....