After an exhausting, fun-filled day exploring Verona, we jumped on the bus one last time and headed for Venice. I had been given mixed reviews of Venice when I told people we would be stopping there. Some said it was their favorite Italian city and others said it was overrated. Well having now been there myself I think I have mixed feelings about Venice.
Here is how our time in Venice was spent.
So we arrived at our hotel after our very last bus ride and one very bumpy boat ride. I was in heaven when I saw the hotel. I mean look at these pictures. It was the picture perfect little cottage turned hotel. Actually I believe our hotel used to be a chateau of some sort and was owned by a single family. The inside had a strange mix of antique furniture and weird tribal decor. It was very strange I completely forgot to take pictures of the inside. So enjoy these of the outside!
We had dinner at our hotel that night and then we hit the hay because we had an early morning the next day. Our hotel was about a 20 minute boat ride from the main island of Venice so we had some great views of the outskirts of the city.
When we got to the main island we headed straight for Piazza de San Marco.
One of the reasons I was so excited to see Venice in person is because of my history with Disney. As you know I worked at Epcot and at Epcot we have the World Showcase. And one of the main sights when you get out to the World Showcase is Piazza de San Marco. Specifically Epcot has exact replicas of the Campanile Tower, the Doges Palace, and the two columns located between the palace and the tower. When I did the Segway tours as a Guest Relations Hostess I talked specifically about all three items. So seeing them in person in all their glory was absolutely AH-MAZING!
i took about a thousand pictures of them to share with my Disney friends.
Our first stop of the day was to a glass blowing factory/shop. We had a private glass blowing demonstration and had the opportunity to browse through some of their amazing creations. Venitian glass is very gaudy but has it's own beauty at the same time. Unfortunately everything a little too expensive for me but it was so neat getting to see them make it and the final creations.
Following that we had about an hour to do a little exploring and then it was time for our guided walking tour of the city. We started at St. Mark's Basilica. Talk about breathtaking. It was absolutely stunning and the amount of work and detail in this church is mind-blowing.
Following the church we started exploring the city. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable about the city but he was not at all personable himself. So while we learned about the entire history of Venice I'm sad to say it was very boring. And it was HOT so that combination is never good. Most of us were very glad when the tour was over. But I did manage to take some great pictures of the city and it's canals.
After the tour we had lunch. A delightful seafood pasta that I loved and some chocolate gelato with fresh strawberries! We had about an hour to get some shopping done. And then it was time for a must when you visit Venice. That's right! A gondola ride! Again we had some great views and I would definitely say that you must take gondola ride through the city if it is your first visit. But I probably would skip it next time I'm in the city.
I'll be honest, after the gondola ride we were ready to head back to the hotel. But our water taxi back to the hotel wasn't until 5:00 and we were done with the gondola ride at around 3:00. But we had seen what we wanted to see of the city. In hindsight, I probably should have done more research on this city so we had a better idea of what to do after the gondola ride. But I had no idea of the timeline for the day so, there ya go.
We ended up strolling along more of the canals. We found some fun little Venetian shops with tradition Venetian masks and other theatrical looking items. We had more gelato (obviously) and sat in the square and did some people watching. I wish we had gone a little deeper in to the city rather than sticking with more touristy spots. But we still had a good time doing what we did.
Next time I will explore more of the internal parts of the city a la Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmerman.
Overall I did enjoy my time in Venice. I got myself a lovely navy blue Longchamp purse for half the price I would have gotten in the States. So that was great. I had some really tasty food, and I got to see some sights I had been dying to see in person. Would I go back? Yes I think I would. Would I recommend visiting the city to others. Absolutely. You MUST see Venice at least once in your life.
Well I only have one post left dedicated to reliving my amazing two weeks in Europe. You'll get to hear all about our final destination...ROMA!
Linking up for Travel Tuesday! :)