It’s been almost a year since I went to Venice, and this trip to Italy got me really into traveling. Being the first really foreign city I’d ever seen, I was truly blown away by all Venice has to offer. With some travel tips from my sister’s friend Roxy, my mom and I managed to see so much of the city, and though we both also loved Florence and Rome, we still agree that Venice was our favorite. Here are some highlights from our trip:
1.)Cannaregio- After taking the water taxi down the water highway to our hotel and checking in we went right to the vaporetto, or the water bus, and got off near Cannaregio, or Venice’s Jewish Quarter. This neighborhood is a much quieter area of the city, and the two of us used this spot as our starting point from which we wound through streets and canals and got lost in the city.
2.) Piazza San Marco- Though it’s filled with a lot of tourists and even more pigeons, this square is home to the Basilica di San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale, and the Campanile. Both the Basilica and Doge’s Palace are worth the tour as they’re filled with great art and architecture. Also, you can go to the top of the Campanile, or the bell tower, for great views of the whole city. It’s beautiful at night, but be careful of the people who try to hand you or force you to buy flowers and glow-in-the-dark toys. There’s usually a band playing at Caffè Florian at night also.
3.) Peggy Guggenheim Collection– We went to a lot of art museums during our trip, and the Guggenheim Collection is small enough to be able to see the whole collection. There was a special bike exhibit on display when we were there which was pretty unique. The collection also houses works by Dalí, Picasso, and even Guggenheim’s daughter Pegeen Vail, among many others.
4.) Ca’ Rezzonico- After visiting the Guggenheim Collection, we made our way to this lavish palace. The rooms were decorated with elaborate Murano glass chandeliers, and there are also paintings and exhibits open for viewing. This provided a good glimpse into the life of the wealthy in the former merchant republic.
5.) Ca’ Macana– After a morning of walking, we found this mask shop which Roxy recommended. Because Venice celebrates Carnevale, comparable to Mardi Gras, a lot of tchotchke souvenir shops sell masks, but Ca’ Macana makes authentic masks right on the island. We enjoyed looking at all of the elaborate masks, and the one I bought is definitely my favorite souvenir.
6.) Da Mamo– This restaurant was a bit of a walk for us (but on the way we walked down an alley that Vesper sneaks down in Casino Royale), but we enjoyed it so much that we went twice–the gnocchi al sugo di pesto was excellent. Seating was a little tight, but the service and food were well worth it.
I could easily go on about Venice–we went on a gondola ride, though touristy it’s not an experience to miss, we ate well, and got lost a lot. Also worthy of mention is the Libreria Acqua Alta, a tiny bookstore right on the water overflowing with books: the owner has cats wandering all over his store, and you can even climb to the top of a tower of books to view the canal.