A Weekend in Venezia

It was 4am when we stepped off the train onto the floating city, otherwise known as Venice, or Venezia in Italian. The sun was far from rising and no water taxis were available yet to bring us to our hotel. With 10% battery left on my phone, I opened google maps and we began our 30 minute walk through the many twists and turns of Venice. Our 30 minute walk slowly turned into an hour because even my handheld GPS could not prevent us from getting lost in the maze of alleyways and dead ends. Finally I saw a hotel bellman standing outside a hotel that I could probably never afford and crossed my fingers he could help us find our way. He told us that even with the map he so nicely gave us, that getting lost would probably happen again but to embrace it. For perdersi {getting lost} is a Venetians favorite pastime.

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After many “wait, I think it was the other way”, my first broken heel and lugging around our luggage over what seemed like a hundred bridges of all sizes we were closing in on the hotel. We were about 4 minutes away and then it happened.. my phone died. I stared at it for awhile then took a deep breath and pulled out the useless map and hoped for the best. When we finally arrived in the general area of where I believed our hotel to be.. we were stuck again. We stood there for awhile and hoped to see a person passing or to spot a huge sign telling us where to go but nothing happened. I was gazing at the most beautiful church, Chiesa di San Moisè, and then I spotted it.. at the end of a small alleyway between Burberry and Armani {talk about meant to be}, Hotel Flora.


“There is something about Venice in the early morning.. there is no one out.. not a soul. It honestly felt as if we were the only ones there.. like we had this whole magical place to ourselves.”


We dropped off our luggage, charged my phone and grabbed a delicious early breakfast at Hotel Flora before venturing back out.

Below is all of the food we devoured, specialties we attempted and our adventures along the way.

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{Piazza San Marco}

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{a groom and bride in front of the Chiesa di San Moisè}


Eat

Pizza// Birraria La Corte // Venice is NOT known for it’s pizza and in fact it is probably the worst place to get a slice in Italy. However, we were in Italy and I was determined to find the best Venice could offer. After much research I found a restaurant that had raving reviews of being the closest thing to the real deal. Located in the popular square, Campo San Polo, it was the perfect place to relax, people watch and eat. We ordered the diavolo pizza and it was delicious!

Authentic // Muro // on Saturdays, for about €10 (a glass of wine is included), you can feast on authentic Venetian cuisine with the Grand Canal in plain sight.

Original // Cantina do Spade // one of the oldest restaurants on the island that Casanova used to wine and dine his dates here. Try one of their traditional Venetian dishes such as the cuttlefish in black ink sauce with polenta.

Gelato // San Marco Square // a scoop of Italian gelato is just the pick me up you need after a day of sight seeing.

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{pizza & spritz at Birraria}

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{gelato in San Marco Square}


Drink

Decadent // Caffe Florian //during the Austrian occupation, Venetian patriots (and Lord Byron) liked to plot revolution here over coffee and cakes. Either sit outside with a view of Saint Mark’s Basilica  and the restaurant’s orchestra playing in the background or indulge inside with a jewel-box of an interior with velvet stools and phenomenal paintings.

Bellini // Harry’s Bar // this is definitely the best place to try the traditional Bellini. They are delicious!

Spritz // nearly every restaurant & bar // it is that orange drink you see everyone drinking. I was not a fan, it tasted a lot like olive juice mixed with oranges.. but hey if that’s your thing go for it!

Kiwi Juice // at many drink stands // they have all sorts of flavors but kiwi was my favorite!

Cheap // Local Grocery store // grab a mini bottle of Bellini and drink while you stroll through Venice.

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{kiwi juice in Rialto Market}


Do

Romantic // Gondola ride under the Bridge of Sighs // according to local legend, lovers will be granted eternal love if they kiss on a gondola underneath the Bridge of Sighs

Landmark // Saint Mark Basilica // this place is gorgeous and hope to go inside on my next trip.

Iconic // Rialto Bridge // afternoon this bridge is literally impossible to take a picture on.. but in the morning you will be the only one crossing.

Local // Rialto Market // this is the place to go if you want to see the local lifestyle or buy a newly-caught fish from the Adriatic Sea, garden-fresh vegetables, and local spices.

Museum // Museo della Musica // stumbled upon this lovely and small museum. It is filled with some of the first instruments and each are so uniquely beautiful.

 

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{gondola ride}

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{Saint Mark Basilica}

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{view from the Rialto Bridge}

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{piano in the Museo della Musica}


My favorite moments

Getting stuck in a rain storm, running into the closest restaurant and having the restaurant flood while dining.. because it’s Venice and that’s what happens.

Falling asleep in St. Marcus square and waking up and getting gelato.

Trying on the best olive green, velvet, platform shoes in Miu Miu.

Seeing the same adorable dog every single day in complete opposite parts of the city each time.. side note: I almost brought him home.

Picking out so many lovely souvenirs.

Petting the local cats.

Getting lost.


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{exploring Venice}

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In my honest opinion I recommend not planning out every moment. Walk around and stumble upon a hidden bar or restaurant that is only lit by outdoor twinkling lights. Walk until your feet hurt and then sit on the edge of the canal and watch the gondolas pass by. Wake up and head out no later then 8am, especially if you are wanting to take some amazing pictures. There is hardly anyone out in the morning other than people walking to work. Any tourist attraction will become unphotographable by noon due to the hundreds of selfie sticks and people crowding the areas. Oh but the morning, that is when Venice is at it’s best.

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Read more on my stay at Hotel Flora, here.