“you must go to Venice!” The universal recommendation that everyone said when we shared the plans of our trip. Were they right? We think so. Venice was glorious. It was like walking into a postcard, with a lot of other tourists. We found Venice very very busy with lots of international tourists, very different to Bolonga which was much quieter and most tourists appeared to be European. Read on to hear about some of our favourite things to do in Venice and some other ‘useful to know’ facts.
Our Venice itinerary
We had two and a half days in Venice and it was enough to see some of the main sights and start to get a feel of the place.
Wander and get lost:
With our first half day we just walked. We picked a direction without really knowing anything about Venice and headed off to see what we found. The city is beyond beautiful with many tiny little waterways branching off the Grand Canal like little alley ways. We spent lots of time standing on little bridges gazing down the Venetian ‘streets’ with small boats moored outside front doors to tall and narrow houses.
There are also many tiny alleyways, some with very low roofs, that you can squeeze down. We enjoyed following these alleys taking lefts and rights to see where we would end up. Many resulted in dead ends of walls or water. On the main stretches there are lots of restaurants, stalls and shops to while away your time. Daniel spent a lot of time waiting for me to stop window shopping at Gucci.
The Chorus pass
On our second day we brought a Chorus pass online which grants you entry to 16 different churches around Venice. It was €12 and I’m pretty sure you need to get it online first. We got ours here. You then pick up your pass at a church. Most things are monetised in Venice and you need to pay €3 to enter most churches. We love them so it was worth getting the pass. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Venice until midday, following bus dilemmas (check out our previous post) so didn’t get to see as many as we had hoped. One of our favourites was San Giacomo Dell’Orio. It’s ceiling is modelled from a ship’s hull!
Here are a few more snaps Daniel captured during our Chorus tour.
The chorus pass was also great for creating a route for you to walk through Venice. It means that you can walk with purpose through the many winding streets. The chorus pass comes with a map but it’s pretty useless. We recommend using Maps.Me to find your way around, though it will drain your battery pretty fast. It’s useful to also have a powerbank on hand to top up your charge. We use a Laser.
Saint Mark’s Square
On of the big highlights of Venice is Saint Mark’s Square. It is breathtakingly beautiful. At one end, St. Mark’s Cathedral stands proud, overlooking the rest of the square. The façade is decorated with stunning gold mosaics and the queue stretches out the door and around the building. It is definitely worth waiting for. You are not allowed to take bags in and these must be checked in before you line up or you will be sent away. It was when looking for the bag drop that we had a stroke of luck. Thinking that it was where you checked bags in when went into the prayer entrance of the cathedral, the biggest queue jump of all time. We wandered in and stood there for awhile, joining the mass that was in progress. As we were in we thought we’d make the most of it and proceeded to tour the church. If we thought the outside was breath taking then the inside was heart stopping. The entire roof of the cathedral is covered with gold mosaics of iconic religious scenes. Unfortunately photos were not allowed (though we saw a few iphones pointed skywards but Daniel’s camera is a little more conspicuous). You will just have to visit yourself to experience the grandeur of St. Mark’s.
The Vivaldi museum
For those music buffs out there, we highly recommend the Vivaldi museum. Entry is free and it houses a number of borouque instruments. There is also a mock workshop where you can see how the instruments are made.
Grab a Venetian gelato
Although more expensive than elsewhere in Venice a good gelato adds to any experience. Daniel seriously enjoyed a scoop of coffee. Unfortunately they used the same scoops for all flavours so w sorbet was off the menu for me due to potential of cross contamination. A good thing for anyone else with allergies to know.
A few useful things to know when thinking about a trip to Venice
It is illegal to feed the birds. We saw plenty of people doing this and I don’t understand why you would want pigeons on you but th the is a pretty hefty fine if caught by police.
It is illegal to sit around eating. Crazy right! You are meant to buy food and eat it at restaurants. This is designed to make the resourceful traveler leave their sandwiches and fruit at home and spend money in Venice. We didn’t know this until we left and successfully ate our nerdy pack up without getting in trouble.
Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. Take water or be prepared to buy it. There were once many water fountains around Venice but many have been stopped up, we assume so you need to buy water there. We saw a couple working fountains as we wandered but much less than expected. You can find water fountains on Maps.Me.
Going for a wee is pricey. So maybe it’s good that there is not to much water available. There are no free public toilets available and they are also few and far between. To use the loo costs €1.50!! You are far better off buying a coffee at a cafe, the coffee may cost less, and using their facilities.
Avoid the hoards. Venice is hugely popular, for good reason, and is therefore very busy. Here are a few tips for having a less crowded experience in Venice:
- Go when it is raining. This was a tip from our host. When it is raining people will stay in their hotels, so don’t a raincoat, grab your umbrella and hit the streets of Venice.
- Go early in the morning. The earlier you go the less people there are. You can also see all of the produce being brought in for the day on barges.
- Go in January. This is a tip from my dear mum. She visited Venice in January and found it practically empty, but very cold! She still had a marvelous time and got to enjoy the sights without the hustle of warmer weather.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our time in Venice. If so, please like, share and comment.
Chloe and Daniel xx