Venice

I’ve just returned to the England after an amazing 10 day break in Italy with my partner. I’ve never been before so I wanted to cram as much sightseeing into 10 days as possible. With so much to see and do it was tiring but easily achieved. Italy’s rail network is fantastic and all the cities are well connected by high speed, reasonably priced trains (see Rail Europe). We booked the entire trip independently. We practically stole our flights from Sky Scanner and our accommodation was booked online before we left.

Venice

We flew into Venice’s Marco Polo airport where we caught a boat to our accommodation on the island of Murano. A hotel in Venice itself was beyond our budget so we picked a quaint hotel in Murano, Al Soffiador, which we found on booking.com. It was perfect for what we were after; clean, very powerful shower, 2 seconds from the boat stop connecting us to Venice and the breakfast on offer was plentiful but basic (as you expect from European countries). Each morning as a buffet of yoghurt, bread, cheese, ham and the best part, warm croissants. Staff were very friendly and helpful. It also meant we got to see the island of Murano, which we probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and we could approach Venice from all angles and see it from a different perspective. I found it a huge novelty catching a boat home each evening!

Whilst in Venice it was ridiculously hard to read a map and we eventually realised the best thing to do was to just get lost! Whilst exploring we stumbled across some amazing churches, delightful canals and fantastic bars.

Al Merca was perfect for grabbing a refreshing glass of rose and some Chicheti. In Italy it’s half the price to stand and drink/eat than it is to sit. So, we propped ourselves up against a barrel and enjoyed some rolls filled with various Italian meats and people watched over the piazza.

We soon stumbled across the cafe lined Grand Canal and one of only 4 bridges crossing it, the famous Rialto.

We took some pictures then disappeared into the lane maze to find a decent restaurant. We didn’t have to look for long until we stumbled upon a great Italian eatery, the name of which escapes me. We washed down a generously portioned seafood spaghetti (which we later discovered was only a first course!) with a bottle of local Prosecco whilst a lively quartet serenaded a wedded couple next to us. Bliss!

The next day was spent similarly, getting lost in Venice. We found the Piazza San Marco which is littered with architecture from all decades. I particularly enjoyed the gothic street lanterns which reminded me of Phantom Of The Opera.

We then embarked the quintessential venetian activity, a Gondola ride through the Santa Croce district. The standard price for a 30 minute Gondala ride for 2 is 80euros but we managed to haggle ours to 60, and he even threw in a few songs!

That evening was one of my favourite evenings ever. After a large dinner on the banks of the Grand Canal we returned to Piazza San Marco for a glass of wine. To my joy in the middle of the piazza were two outside bars each set in front of a 6 piece ensemble. Each bar’s ‘orchestra’ would play 3 songs alternatively, sort of like the duelling pianos in Vegas, but with classical sextets. With a glass of wine, a piano and some strings in Venice, I was in heaven!

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