During the month of December, we decided to visit Venice, one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities in the world.
We took the plane from Stansted airport and arrived at the Aeroporto di Treviso. Not many know about this small airport, but it is very convenient and only 40 minutes of bus away from Venice’s city centre. We decided to visit in December as this city is often overcrowded with tourists in the summer period, which causes a lot of issues with transportation and long queues.
When you visit a big city – especially for more that 2-3 days – hotel choice is very important. After some research, we decided to go for Boscolo Venezia, a hotel situated in Cannaregio and 20 minutes walk away from Piazza San Marco. The hotel was well connected and offered free water taxi service to the city centre. It also offered free transport to Murano, a must see island around 20 minutes boat distance from Venice.
Our beautiful deluxe room faced directly on the canals, and we were happy to find a fresh bottle of champagne waiting for us when we arrived. We woke up the first morning after a relaxing sleep to a very thick fog. Who knew that fog could make a city even more beautiful?
Day One – Scala Contarini del Bovolo, Ponte di Rialto and Libreria Acqua Alta
After a delicious breakfast at Boscolo, we started our adventures through the canals. The fog had finally disappeared, so it was a pleasure walking towards the city centre. The first gem we stumbled on to was the ‘Scala Contarini del Bovolo’, a hidden treasure minutes away from ‘Piazza San Marco’.
It was well worth walking up this spiral staircase from the Renaissance the view over Venice was amazing, and it wasn’t packed with tourists as not many know where it is.
Next stop for us was the world famous ‘Ponte di Rialto’. Unfortunately, the bridge – known to be the oldest one that crosses the Grand Canal – was undergoing some renovation works and we were only able to take pictures from one side.
The last destination of our first day was the ‘Libreria Acqua Alta’. Surprisingly enough, not many know about this really original library. This enchanting book shop was opened around ten years ago, and it has become a big success thanks to its large collection of new and used books stored in a very peculiar way: you can find them in boats, gondolas, canoes, tanks and in any place that they can be inserted.
It is amazing how they used some old encyclopedias to create some beautiful steps on the outside of the shop. It can be safely said that this is one of the wonders of Venice, and definitely something worth visiting.
Day Two – Murano and Burano
Day two started with a visit of the island of Murano. We took the boat directly from our hotel, a trip that took around 20 minutes. Murano is well known for its glassmaking centre that was founded in 1291. The Venetian glassmakers are numbered among the most prominent citizens, and undergo an intense training before they are allowed to start working the glass. We had the amazing opportunity of watching one of the glassmakers at work, and we could not believe our eyes when he made a glass horse out of nowhere in less than a minute! Even more impressive is the Murano Glass Museum, of which unfortunately we couldn’t take any pictures because of copyright restrictions.
After this fantastic experience, it was time to visit another breathtaking island in the Venetian Lagoon.
Burano is known for its small, colourful and brightly painted houses. These houses are coloured according to a specific system, and anyone who wants to paint their house needs the government’s permission.
After a lot of wandering and around 500 photos taken, we were looking for an original picture to take. We were in front of the world famous pink house in the heart of Burano, and a big chubby black cat showed up that wanted to be in our pictures at all costs! Why not make him happy then?
After this lovely encounter, we decided to grab some food. And which better place than “Il Gatto Nero” (it literally means “The Black Cat”)? Jokes aside, why strongly suggest this restaurant if you ever go to Burano, as the food was absolutely delicious.
After an amazing day, we headed off back to our hotel for a well deserved rest.
Day Three – St Mark’s Square and Fondaco dei Tedeschi
In our third day we finally visited St Mark’s Square, the principal public square of Venice dominated by the great church of St Mark.
We were happy and lucky to not be attacked by the incredible number of fat pigeons that were in the square. One tourist tried to feed them and that was the last we saw of him!
We took advantage of the sunny weather to climb up the ‘Campanile’, in order to get one of the best views over Venice, as the the tower is 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall.
You can actually see the whole city from this hight, and it also makes Venice look like an ‘ordinary city’, as the canals are well hidden in the middle of the buildings.
Our last stop before leaving was the ‘Fondaco dei Tedeschi’ department store. The store has been recently opened, so not many people know about the amazing view it has over the Grand Canal.
The view is totally free of charge, but you will need to book a time slot at the reception desk once you are inside. This will give you the chance to wander around the store and maybe buy a nice souvenir. We took advantage of the waiting time to try the famous ‘cicchetti’ at the bar on the ground floor, which are small snacks unique to the bars of Venice.
After these two breathtaking views, it was unfortunately time for us to head back to Canareggio to our hotel and get ready to leave. ‘Grazie mille Venezia’ for the wonderful experience, hope to see you again real soon!