We just returned from our whirlwind trip to Italy and we had so much fun! We saw and did so much it’ll be hard to write about it all, we were doing stuff nonstop! Needless to say we did three things to the max: eat, sleep and take a ton of photos!
We started off out trip in Venice! We arrived by train from the airport and stepped out of the train station into the hustle and bustle by the water taxi stop! Because the streets are cobblestone, uneven and full of tons of stairs and bridges, it’s much easier to take the water taxi to the stop closest to your hotel. I can’t imagine carrying our suitcases much more than we did!
We actually flew into Milan, it was so much cheaper, and took the train to Venice from there! If you fly into Milan, you can take a shuttle bus (10 Euro) to the central train station and go to your next destination from there. It was a very smooth and easy transport.
Our hotel in Venice was gorgeous! It looked like one of those hotel rooms you see in movies with a big living room, tall ceilings and furniture that you aren’t sure if you’re supposed to sit on or not! Our room had two balconies so after taking pictures of each other I set up my phone with the timer and ran over to the other side so we could take a picture together. The first night we basically walked around checking out the city and had our first Italian dinner.
The next day we went to two islands off of Venice. First, we went to Murano, which is the glass making island. I’ve always wanted to go here, so I was pretty excited! Our hotel included a free private “taxi” ride to the island, but you can also take the water bus over. We did a tour of the factory where they make all the glass by hand. I’ll be honest, it was a little gimmicky and sales-ey but it was still cool to see! Their techniques date back 100s of years from the 1500’s and are passed down in the family. They make blown class, like the bowl in the background, and pulled glass like the horse he’s holding. It was so hot that after he posed for this picture he lite his cigarette on it! You can see the furnace over his shoulder, they heat the glass up to 2000 degrees!
Here’s my husband on one of the bridges over the Grand Canal! The church you can see in the background is not Saint Marks, which is on the left side of the canal in this photo, but Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (St Mary of Heath). There are so many basilica’s it was hard to keep track!
Another spot worth visiting is Saint Mark’s Basilica! It is a gorgeous cathedral connected to the doge’s palace (also worth visiting!) and was both of our favorite churches we saw in Italy. A good thing to know is that you can buy special tickets to skip the line for 2 Euros each and it’s well worth it! The line was huge! Buy online ahead of time and have your hotel print them out. There is also a pretty cool museum in the upstairs area of the church, which cost 5 Euro per person, but has some really cool artwork, old impressive statues and great views of the inside of cathedral as well as the square. You can actually go out on the roof from here and see a great view of the square from three sides, which is where this picture was taken!
As a sidenote, please do not buy a selfie stick from one of the annoying peddlers. Just do it the old fashioned way and ask a fellow tourist to take your photo! Selfie sticks are quite annoying in these crowded tourist areas, and some of the places we went to even had signs up requesting you not use them!
We ended our last full day in Venice with a stereotypical gondola ride! While it did feel a little cheesy, it was also pretty fun and a great way to see around the city.
Venice was very beautiful and fun to see, but we probably won’t be going back any time soon! It was also quite crowded, especially on the weekend and everything just felt a little too touristy. You can basically walk around and find great restaurants anywhere to eat, so don’t get pulled in by the overpriced places on Saint Mark’s square! We found plenty of great bars and places to eat and the wine is especially affordable! Be sure to bring very comfortable walking shoes and expect a lot of stairs! Venice is not a great place to bring a stroller (or young kids for that matter) because of all the stairs!
Next we headed to Rome, which I’ll share all about next time! Ciao!