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Happily Lost in Venice.

Updated: Dec 10, 2019


You know you are headed for a unique adventure when you step off a plane, head through the usual airport stuff, then find yourself not outside waiting for a taxi or a bus or a train...but on a dock waiting for a boat.

15 Euros and a 50 minute ride on the Alilaguna (the Venetian water taxi) will get you to the centre of Venice from Marco Polo Airport via the magnificent Grand Canal which makes for a stunning introduction. If you are feeling flush, you can take a private taxi, which is the quicker more bespoke option for 100 Euros.

Depending on how long you will be in Venice, you should consider a game plan. You will want to visit the obvious main attractions like St. Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge but the best way to see Venice is without a strict itinerary.

Wander through local neighborhoods like Castello, Cannaregio and Dorsoduro. Step over little canals on beautiful footbridges (Venice has over 500 of them). Stop for a glass of wine in the sun and some cecchetti (Venetian tapas-style bites - a PERFECT lunch situation!). Get yourself a day pass on the vaporetto and see the place from the water. Go to some of the other islands like Murano, Burano and Lido.

Immerse yourself and prepare to get lost. Literally.

The best time to go is on the offseason where the prices and temperatures are lower and the crowds and cruise ships are fewer. In July and August, the place will be hot, packed and the canals can be smelly.

We went in early March and here are a few of my absolute favorites from the trip. Click the titles to see the actual websites.

 

Hotel

Ramo Grassi | Sestriere San Marco 3247, 30124 Venice | Tel. +39 041 5284644

A small and stylish boutique hotel designed by Philippe Stark situated on the Grand Canal in the residential part of San Marco. Excellent service, welcome drink upon arrival. Off season B&B price 250 Euros/night for a standard room, we splurged a little.

 

Eating & Drinking

Calle de le Boteghe, 3461, 30125 San Marco, Venice | Tel. +39 041 523 5310

Super buzzy cicchetti bar packed with locals off the tourist path in San Marco. Dishes include fried octopus, baccala with fresh bread & grilled endive. Order at the bar and pick what you want. With local wine and beer.

Dorsoduro, 943-944, 30123 Venice | Tel. +39 335 600 7513

Cicchetti bar in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood serving Italian tapas on bruscetta bread including sardines and egg, ham, sunblushed tomates. On a small canal by the university. Get your wine in a plastic cup and head out to dine canal-side in the sun.

Calle de l'Ogio, 3129, 30100 San Francesco della Vigna Venice | +39 041 296 0424

Local restaurant in the Cannaregio neighbourhood. Try the seafood starter, everything fresh out of the sea, baby shrimps, the best ever sardines, baccala, polenta and the loveliest, lightest smoked fish.

Fondamenta Manin, 48, 30141 Venice | Tel. +39 041 319 5125

Chic and friendly restaurant specialising in the catch of the day with a modern twist. Great place to stop for lunch whilst touring Murano. I had the scallops and pea puree followed by a beautiful filet of sea bass and rosemary potatoes.

Calle del Mondo Novo, 5801, 30122 Venezia | Tel. +39 041 522 7220

Marvelous local restaurant that changes its menu daily based on what comes out of the sea that morning. I had an amazing plate of scallops followed by gnocchi with prawns and a light tomato sauce. There are two dinner sittings, one at 7PM and another at 9PM. Book ahead as there are only 20 seats.

 

Around Town

Contact: venicefreewalkingtour@gmail.com

This tour purposefully avoids the congested touristy areas and takes you to the local neighbourhoods to offer you a real slice of Venice full of history and anecdotes you won't find in the guidebooks or on the pricey tours. Our guide was super savvy, knowledgeable and fun. Tour group 30 max which worked fine as we were off the beaten path. At the end, you tip what you think it was worth. We tipped 15 Euros each, where most tours start at 80 Euros a person.

Murano

Buy a day ticket for the vaporetto and find your way by boat. Meander the island's own smaller Grand Canal, see the extraordinary art of glass blowing and shop for the famous Venetian glass.

Above: Glass making demonstration @ Vetrerla Guarnieri Di Levorato Pierina

Fondamenta Serenella 30100 | Tel: +39 041 527 4370


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