Venice, Italy is one of my absolute favorite city in the world. The salt water and boats are what put it on the top of my list- I am a Florida girl after all- but the ancient Roman history and architecture can put it high on just about anyone else’s. There is no other city like Venice. And like Rome– if you read my last post- I’d suggest putting it high up on your bucket list. Not because of its unique civil engineering or ancient history, but because of our rising oceans…. In only a few short decades, researchers predict that this ancient town will be reclaimed by the sea. (What you can do at home to slow down climate change).
Day one will probably include some travel hours, but hopefully you’ll arrive to the island with plenty of time to do some exploring. From the airport you can take the public bus (which is a boat!), or a chartered taxi. There is one bridge that leads to town, but don’t be lame, take the local way!
On your way in, you will see the city’s most famous plaza which is home to St. Mark’s Basilica and Bell Tower (known as The Campanile), Doges’ Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. Assuming you land midday, you can follow this itinerary. If you arrive later in the day, head over to the Rialto Bridge to snap a few pictures and have dinner on the canal. You’ll be able to finish up day one’s itinerary on day three.
1. Begin your day in St Mark’s Square at St. Mark’s Basilica. Opening hours are from 9:30-5p, with last entry at 4:45, except on Sundays when they are opened from 2-4:30, last entry at 4:15, due to morning mass. Admission is free! It takes about 15 minutes to tour the basilica.
2. Next take a tour through Doges’ Palace, where the castle turns to dungeon. Entry hours are from 8:30am-6pm, with extended hours on Friday and Saturdays where the last entry is at 10pm. Admission is €20 for adults and €13 for students and 65+. Give yourself about an hour to explore this magnificent palace.
3. After touring the Palace, cross the square and climb the 200+ stairs of St. Mark’s Bell Tower! Or take the elevator….. your choice. From here you will get panoramic view of the city of canals.
4. Don’t forget to admire the amazing clock tower to the left of the basilica, while in the plaza. My favorite part about it is the constellation clock. It makes me feel like they knew something about the stars that we don’t! Sadly, however, this was the site of the first death by robot ever recorded. A man was on top making repairs to the statuesque robots, when they went off by timer and shoved him over the roof’s ledge, plummeting to his death.
5. When you have toured the plaza in its entirety, take a left around Doges’ Palace near the water to find the steps of the Bridge of Sighs. This site is where prisoners got their last glimpse of freedom before being thrown into Doges’ infamous dungeon.
6. Have dinner off the main strip. Try finding a small Mom & Pop restaurant off the main plazas. Touristy locations are usually the worst place to find true local cuisine. If you need a little help deciding, TripAdvisor is usually super helpful in making those tough decisions.
Start your morning off early with a boat ride to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano. Both surrounding towns specialize in handcrafting delicate exports!
1. Before booking a trip to Murano, or looking up the bus schedule, ask your hotel if they give free tours to the blown glass factories. (They may come with a *free* chartered boat ride!) If not, take the water bus over and explore for yourself! Venice has been a longtime creator of delicate glass. In fact, Venice was the birthplace of modern mirrors- once called a looking glass.
2. From Murano, you can catch the local water bus to the neighboring city of Burano. Burano is where you’ll discover insanely beautiful linens and more insanely intricate fine laces. Each woman specialize in one type of knot and passes their skill down through generations. This colorful island is a great place to get lunch and do a little shopping- and of course a little picture taking for your Instagram!
3. Find your way back to the main island of Venice and take a ride under the Rialto Bridge. From boat, you’ll be able to snap a few picturesque photos right in the middle of the river!
4. Spend the rest of your night shopping, taking a gondola ride, and eating all the gelato you can!
On the last day, finish anything you weren’t able to squeeze in on your first two days. Travel should be included in these 72 hours, making day 1 and 3 very flexible.
1. Return back to St Mark’s Square to visit St Mark’s Basilica or Doges Palace, if you were unable to make it before closing on Day 1.
2. Since most stores close around 6pm in Venice, take advantage of daylight hours cross everyone and everything off your shopping list.
3. If you have a full day to explore Venice, hop the water bus to the main land to relax on their beautiful beaches.
4. This is also a great opportunity to explore other cathedrals on nearby Venetian islands.
As much as I do love Venice, there is a little more of a tourist vibe than a local vibe. And being such a small island, it is hard to escape that. Nonetheless, it is definitely one of those cities you have to see for yourself! In order to get an authentic experience, avoid the tourist trap restaurants, and ask the locals their favorite restaurants. And as I said in the beginning of this post, it will be better to visit Venice sooner than later…. Check back in soon for my upcoming posts for more information about the nearby islands of Murano and Burano!
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