Venice gets the award for being unlike any city I’ve ever visited. The city is made up of smaller islands attached by bridges. Public transportation is a fleet of boats not buses. There are no cars or bikes to be found due to the narrow walkways. Getting lost isn’t just a possibility here, it’s guaranteed. Let me tell you all about 5 things you should do if you find yourself in stunning Venezia.
1. TOUR THE CANALS
This might surprise some of you but I suggest a boat tour over a gondola. Gondolas are so over priced! They cost close to $100 for 30 minutes and even more if you want to go on a sunset ride. You don’t get the history of the city and some of the gondoliers don’t even sing anymore. Prices are set by the city so there’s no bargaining. If you were going to split it with friends then it might be worth the price. We had an incredible time on our boat tour with a guide showing us around Venice and it was the same price as a gondola but lasted an hour.
2. EXPLORE ST. MARK’S SQUARE
St. Mark’s Square is such a popular tourist destination in Venice that there are signs all over the city pointing you in the right direction. There you can see the Doge’s Palace and the oldest digital clock in the world as well as St. Mark’s Basilica. This cathedral is the crowned jewel of Venice because it serves as the resting place of the bones of St. Mark. As the story goes, Venetians stole the bones of St. Mark in an effort to promote tourism. Ironically, Venetians today do not like having tourists around. There are a mere 53,000 citizens of Venice who play host to 30 million tourists annually.
Our tour guide told us that every detail in the church of St. Mark tells a story. Gold ceilings represent God and His radiance. When light comes through the windows it bounces off the glittering mosaics to illuminate the entire church. The multicolored floor represents the people who make up the church. We are all different races, nationalities, and backgrounds but we are all one.
3. WALK ACROSS THE RIALTO BRIDGE
The colossal Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the bridges that span the Grand Canal of Venice. My legs can attest that the stairs are brutal and this tourist spot is heavily crowded at all times of the day. However, the beauty of this bridge speaks for itself.
4. EAT CICCHETTI AT ONE OF VENICE’S MANY PUBS
Cicchetti (chi-keh-tee) are small plates meant to be shared similar to Spanish tapas. Dishes change based on the pub but often include meatballs with polenta, fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers), and fried seafood. These dishes are delicious, inexpensive, and traditionally enjoyed with a glass of wine. Our favorite cicchetti pub was Cantina Do Spade!
5. GET LOST IN VENICE
Most every Venetian will tell you that the only way to get to know this city is to get lost in Venice. Trust me when I tell you there is no easier feat than to get lost in the tiny winding alleyways of Venice. You will definitely need your Google maps in this city and even then you’ll still have difficulty. Be prepared to say, “Didn’t we just pass this 10 minutes ago?” Don’t worry too much since the island is quite small and there are enough landmarks to help you navigate.