Those who know me know that I am not the biggest fan of Italy. Don’t get me wrong – Italian food is among my favourite things in the world (Gelato!!! Burrata!!!) and I surely cultivate a big love for Aperol Spritz. I just think that there are too many loud and sleazy Italians in this beautiful country. Luckily, I gave Italy another shot and just fell head over heels in love with Venice.
I was more than excited when my former boss invited me to his fancy Venetian wedding. After all, I have never been to Venice before (which is actually kind of embarrassing, as it is ridiculously close to Austria) and always love a chance to explore a new city. And what can I say: Venice is amore! I fell in love with this beautiful city, or, as the Italians say: I had a big colpo di fulmine.
Even though Venice is situated on water, the best way to get around is without a doubt on foot. It’s nice to take the vaporetto once all the way down the Canal Grande, as you drive by all the main landmarks, such as San Marco square, Rialto Bridge and Accademia. But the vaporetto is actually very slow and expensive (and so is everything else in Venice), so walking really is your best option.
Just get lost in the picturesque streets, stop for Espresso, Spritz and Gelato every here and now and just enjoy La Dolce Vita. And once you get tired from all the masses (because even for a semi-Parisian like myself, Venice is unbearably crowded!), either hang out on the Lido (aka the beach) or take the vaporetto to the smaller island of Guidecca. There is not super much to see, but that’s exactely the whole point: Walking around the little streets and enjoying a drink in the sun with the locals will make you feel as if you were on the Italian countryside.
I am also certain there are many good museums in Venice and when I was there, even the Biennale was still on. Unfortunately, I was too hungover from all the Spritz from the night before to do anything even remotely cultivated on my free day before the wedding. However, my friends told me that the Guggenheim was nice…
Eating and drinking in Venice
I guess it’s an absolute no-brainer that you will need to eat as many carbs as possible when in Italy. Unfortunately, all the restaurants on our bucket list were closed for holidays while we there, so we just ended up in some random restaurants we discovered while walking around. All the food (= pasta) I had was molto bene, and I guess as long as you stay off the main streets, you can’t do anything wrong.
Unfortunately, Venice is not a party city at all and all the bars and restaurants close surprisingly early (like 10ish – wtf!?). On our first night, we accidentally discovered a nice little bar which was crowded with locals, and we just got hopelessly drunk on Aperol Spritz. We then moved on to Alba bar, close to Rialto bridge, which I really liked and where we had even more Spritz. Once they closed, we went on to another bar at the Rialto market (and apparently the only bar in the whole neighbourhood to be still open this “late”), where we ended the night with even more Spritz. (Yes, I was very hungover the next morning).
So due to lack of organisation on the one hand and too much alcohol on the other, I am not really an expert when it comes to bar and restaurant recommendations in Venice. However, I really loved the tiny corner bar Bacaro Risorto in San Zaccaria, as it is the perfect stop for a quick Espresso or – even better, if you ask me – a little aperitivo.
And of course, you can not really have a Venetian holiday without enjoying your daily dose of Gelato. I love artisanal ice cream more than 99,9% of all other foods and the one at La Mela Verde in San Zaccaria was particularly yummy. Make sure to try their Fior di Latte!
Where to stay in Venice
I basically slept in a different part of town every night (long story…), but besides the hazzle of moving my stuff every day, this was a great way to discover different parts of the city every day.
I first slept on the main island in a super fancy apartment which I shared with some friends. It’s only a short walk from San Zaccaria (the main vaporetto stop) and within walking distance to San Marco and Rialto. The place has its own rooftop terrace, which is the ideal spot for some Prosecco at sunset (yes, pretty much all I did in Venice was drinking alcohol and eating carbs). Also, the bathtub is amazing and I want to buy exactly the same for my next apartment.
The next night I spent at my beloved island of Guidecca in Generator Hostel. It’s located right in front of the water, so you get an amazing view over the main islands – without the masses and for a pretty good price. The hostel is very clean and actually pretty fancy and also looks like a good spot for socializing.
Grazie mille once again Ben and Cecilia for inviting me to your magical wedding and merci beaucoup to my Parisian friends for this beautiful weekend full of Spritz and Dolce Vita.