“Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water” – Frida Giannini
Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, those crowds are mostly tourists, who outnumber locals 20 to one in the high season. And yes, Venice is eye-wateringly expensive…
But I absolutely loved it! It’s hard to put your finger on what it is about Venice that makes it stand out from almost every other city in the world, but it is certainly unique.
A city with no cars. A city that floods daily. A city of 118 islands connected by over 400 bridges. A city of beautiful palaces , churches and museums. The city of opera, carnival (Carnevale di Venezia) and art.
“Venice…A splendour of miscellaneous spirits” – John Ruskin
“It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone” – Erica Jon
“A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him” – Arthur Symons
“At the bridge I stood
lately in the brown night.
From afar came a song:
as a golden drop it welled
over the quivering surface.
Gondolas, lights, and music —
drunken it swam out into the twilight.
My soul, a stringed instrument,
sang to itself, invisibly touched,
a secret gondola song,
quivering with iridescent happiness.
— Did anyone listen to it?”
A gondola ride will set you back around 80 euros for half an hour… a cheaper option is to take a traghetto from any of the traghetto piers along the Grand Canal. That costs just 2 euros and is a fun way to cross the Grand Canal.
Another great and cheaper option than a gondola is to take the #1 vaporetto (water bus), that zig zags across the Grand Canal. If you’re lucky, like we were, you can grab seats at the front for spectacular views.
I highly recommend taking a walking tour of Venice on your first day in this splendid city. Venice Free Walking Tours are excellent – our guide gave us plenty of interesting background on the history of Venice and offered some great tips for making the most of our stay, taking us off the beaten track.
“Venice is the most romantic place in the world but it’s even better when there is no one around” – Woody Allen
Even in such a packed city, on a busy Easter weekend, it is still possible to escape the crowds. Get up very early, just when the sun is up, and you’ll have the city to yourself to explore. The best thing about Venice? Getting lost in the rambling, narrow streets and canals, away from the main tourist area of Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square). Better still, hop on the #12 vaporetto and take a trip in the Northern Lagoon to the neighbouring islands of Burano and Murano.
“To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius” – Alexander Herzen
I travelled to Venice in late March 2018, flying to Venice Marco Polo from London Luton on easyjet. We stayed at the charming Hotel Flora, which is perfectly located – close enough to all the action, yet situated in a quiet courtyard They offer assorted rooms/suites – the Economy one is possibly a bit small for most tastes, so I do recommend a slightly more expensive room. Their breakfast (included) is fabulous! Homemade cakes 🙂