Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and rightly so. There are many cities that are on the “must see” list when visiting Italy, but one location on the top of that list is Venice. If you’re in a time crunch, I recommend spending one night in this beautiful city.
Venice is comprised of over 100 small islands but the city center, San Marco, is only about 3 miles by 2 miles in size. It is here where we find St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and the famous gondola rides.One of the first tips I got about Venice was to ride a water taxi. They insisted that it was the thing to do in the city. I couldn’t fathom why a water taxi would be so exciting, but once I arrived, I understood.
Pay a small fee to ride a water taxi and ride through the open canals to get a better glimpse of Venice. Think of it as taking a tour around the city.You can also choose to pay for a ride in the gondola but during the summertime, the water can get murky and get…not fresh, let’s just leave it at that.The tourist attraction in San Marco is, of course, St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Campanile Tower. All three are located right next to each other for easy access.St Mark’s Basilica opens at 9:45. While exploring the beautiful church, you can pay small fees to enter sections within, including the treasury. There is also a museum located on the top floor that gives you access to the rooftop.
Fun fact, the horses in front of the church used to be the original statues of the team pulling a quadriga chariot, most likely containing an emperor. The horses were taken to Paris by Napoleon but were eventually returned to Venice. After being restored, the horses are now kept in the church museum while bronze replicas adorn the facade of St Mark’s. Adjacent to St Mark’s is Doge’s Palace and the Campanile Belltower, also both open to the public.
After a morning of soaking in the culture, take a break and explore the city. Venice is a truly unique place; I can say without a doubt that there is nowhere else in the world like Venice. The second tip I received was to get lost in the city. There are so many alleys and corners with hidden treasures that you may not discover if you were following a strict itinerary. I will warn you though that at night, many of the alleyways have no lights. It can be a little scary walking around in the dark in a city you are not familiar with but stick with the main roads and you should be fine. For a quick bite, try fresh pasta to-go at Dal Moro’s. The concept is genius. Fresh homemade pasta is tossed in a sauce of your choice and ready in just a couple of minutes. Don’t be surprised to see a crowd of people standing around eating pasta out of paper containers. At night, I highly suggest participating in a cichetti crawl. What is a cichetti crawl you say? It is the American equivalent of going bar hopping but only better because of the snacks.
Every bar has its own menu ranging from assorted crostinis, meatballs (oh the meatballs!), fried delicious goodness and more. Wines can go for as low as 3 euros a glass, and we’re talking about full glasses people. Some of the places I visited included Ai Promessi Sposi (amazing meatballs), El Sbarlefo and Al Squero (great crostini options, see below). Just remember your way back to the hotel because there are no cabs! Although my time in Venice was a short-lived one, I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful city.
Up next, Milan in 1 Day.