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3 Days in Venice

Aaah Venice, where a trip down the Grand Canal envelopes you in the pages of a book on art and architectural history, the cannoli and gelato burst with flavor, and the people live la dolce vita!

When We Went

Late May

Pros - less crowded, not too hot

Cons - some rain bring an umbrella

Where We Stayed in Venice

A VRBO rental in the Dorsoduro area - We highly recommend the Dorsoduro District. It is away from the crowds and quite lovely, but close to the Grand Canal where you can catch the Vaporretto to all of the tourist sites.  The apartment we rented is no longer available but there are plenty of great options in the area.

Canal view from our VRBO rental in Dorsoduro, Venice Italy

This sleepy gondolier out our window made me laugh - Dorsoduro District Venice Italy

Something I love about staying in VRBO or Airbnb locations is the local experience. This is a birthday party taking place in the courtyard outside our rental. I loved watching daily Italian life.

How We Got To Venice

Flights into VCE - Venice Marco Polo Airport

ACTV Bus to Piazzale Roma

Vaporetto (water bus) to Dorsoduro

Enjoying the Grand Canal view from the Vaporetto (water bus) in Venice, Italy

What We Did in Venice

Explored the city by day. Venice is small enough that during the day you can just wander until lost and then follow the signs to the vaporetto and take it back to your stop. There are so many alleys to explore and they always change because shops randomly close and open throughout the day. OK, so I'm told it's not so random, typically they close in the afternoon and reopen in the evening but it's not always so simple. We really wanted to try the pizza place recommended by our host but visited 3 times before finally finding it open on our last night. You may actually find a new surprise around every corner.

Venice is small enough that during the day you can just wander until lost and then follow the signs to the vaporetto and take it back to your stop.

The Grand Canal just never gets old - Venice, Itay

I can't get enough of the colors, sights, textures, and sounds we found with every turn - Venice, Italy

After a latte and pastry we made our way to the Rialto Market and bridge. Be sure to check hours before you go. Currently, they are open Tues-Sun from 7:00 am -12:30. Strawberries were in season during our visit so we bought a snack to eat while we walked and they were delicious. 

View from Rialto Bridge, Rialto Market goods - the items on the 3rd tray were still moving, now that's fresh, it blends in but you can see the swordfish if you look close in the upper left of the photo on the bottom right - Rialto Market - Venice, Italy

I stopped to watch a trio of musicians play under the pavilion - Heaven, I'm in Heaven. I couldn't think of a better song for what I was feeling. You can listen to them here.

if you want a specific gondolier keep a lookout for the one that fits the bill as soon as you arrive, and wait for him when you find him. Don't assume you will find him later.

We paid the 80 euro tourist price to take a Gondola ride. It was our 15 year anniversary and totally worth it. I was slightly disappointed because I really wanted a singing gondolier. I finally settled for one that didn't sing because I was told none of them sing and I was running out of time, but later I heard one singing. Also, our gondolier wore sunglasses which didn't fit in my preconceived notion. So, if you want a specific gondolier keep a lookout for the one that fits the bill as soon as you arrive, and wait for him when you find him. Don't assume you will find him later. 

Gondola ride - Venice, Italy

If you don't want to pay the price for a true gondola ride you can create a similar photo riding the traghetto. This is what the locals take to cross the Grand Canal and it is basically a gondolier you ride standing up. The ride is brief as it's simply crossing the Grand Canal, and you will be riding with strangers but it only costs 2 euro and is a fun experience. We did both.

If you don't want to pay the price for a true gondola ride you can create a similar photo riding the traghetto.

Traghetto - Venice, Italy

We took a day trip to the islands of Murano and Burano. Our Vaporetto tickets included these islands and the pictures I had seen were stunning. Burano is a sleepy fishing village and Murano is known for it's blown glass.

Burano, Italy

We reserved a cicchetti and wine tour from Urban Adventures - This tour was so fun. Elizabetta was our guide and she did an amazing job teaching us to be true Venetians. 

The earlier in your stay the better with this tour. You will use what you learn throughout your visit. 

I can't recommend this tour enough. We like to try local cuisine even if it’s a bit out of our comfort zone and feel like it adds to the experience.  If you do not like seafood or trying different local cuisine just tell them you are vegetarian and they will make special cichetti for you. The earlier in your stay the better with this tour. You will use what you learn throughout your visit. 

Our guide led us to this spigot and explained that the Dolomites provide fresh water for the city, so we filled our water bottles up. You can find these throughout Italy not just in Venice. We also used them in Cinque Terre which was especially helpful to rehydrate at villages along our hike.

It started raining on our tour with Urban Adventures. Fortunately the streets weren't too crowded. - Venice, Italy

Cicchetti and wine tour from Urban Adventures - Venice, Italy

Sacro e Profano - Venice, Italy - This was the last stop on our food tour with Urban Adventures. While we enjoyed our food in the street the trio of musicians I recorded that morning at the Rialto Market appeared and played for us. Chad grabbed my hand and we danced in the streets of Venice to Heaven I'm in Heaven. I can't imagine what the chances are of that ever happening again, but I just call it my God wink. Sometimes God just spoils us with something uniquely made for us, we just have to be watching for it, like a wink.

While we enjoyed our food in the street the trio of musicians I recorded that morning at the Rialto Market appeared and played for us.

Remember, in my Top 10 Travel Tips I highly recommend trying to find at least one thing off the beaten path on every trip. In Venice we went on the hunt for L’aqua Alta bookstore. I saw pictures of this place and just had to find it. With a map in hand we set off on our quest and I was so happy when we arrived. It did not disappoint.  

L'aqua Alta Bookstore - Venice, Italy - Don't you just love the fire exit?

Another item on my off the beaten path list was to find a shop where we could fill our water bottles with wine. I read about it and thought this was an experience I had to try. We just don't have anything like this in the U.S. After some inquiries we found one and bought some cheap wine. It wasn't amazing but it wasn't bad either. Totally worth the experience.

Wine on tap - Venice, Italy

We also explored the city by night. I heard it could be somewhat eerie, and since I don't especially love eerie things this wasn't on my bucket list. However, our travel companions were celebrating their 25th anniversary and we thought it would be nice to give them some privacy and space so off we went. 

The streets of Venice at night lived up to their eerie reputation. A dimly lit labyrinth of wet alleyways with a slow drip pattern of rain and an occasional person appearing as if out of nowhere. I clung a little closer than normal to Chad and walked a bit faster than my daily stroll pace. 

I heard it could be somewhat eerie, and since I don't especially love eerie things this wasn't on my bucket list.

To make it worse we got lost. Not just a little lost but really good and lost. Finally, Chad remembered he had his phone and we followed the phone map back to our location. Remember my bonus travel tip. Always get the business card of the place your staying or enter the address in your phone when you arrive. That way you can get help if lost. 

We also realized that if we stayed along canals it was more open, better lit, and there were a few more people. So, even though it was a slightly longer route we chose to walk back along the canals for as long as possible.

Always get the business card of the place your staying or enter the address in your phone when you arrive. That way you can get help if lost.





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