Venice is just simply somewhere you have to go once in your life. The photos and movies we see paint it to be such a romantic place. And so many of the things we hear about are true!
They truly have the best food.
The photos are real – the canals and side streets really are that beautiful.
The weather in April really was that nice.
And you really can be the only one in St Mark’s Square…. if you wake up and get going before 9 AM.
I feel like starting with the good things and tips and tricks, just because I want you to visit here!!
The best food we had in Venice was not at the sit-down restaurants, but actually at the grab and go spots. Our favorite breakfast spot that we went to multiple times was found as we wandered the streets while it was raining, just trying to find anywhere that was open. We ended up at “Al Theatro” and it’s directly behind the Venice Theatre, thus the name. When I tell you the pastries and quiche were out of this world AND only $5 to feed the two of us total? I mean, come on. And for lunch, Pasta Go Espresso and Aldo Pasta’s calzones could not be beat. When we saw a line, we just figured it was the place to be and we were not wrong. We loved grabbing their homemade pasta and eating it while watching gondolas go by, just sitting on the edge of a random canal.
As for things to do, the Doge’s Palace exceeded my expectations x50. I thought maybe it would be like Versailles where they show you some sitting areas and bedrooms and it’s beautiful, but this place had so much more history to show because it wasn’t just where the king lived, it was where the entire government did their jobs. The rooms were so beautiful and grand, and it felt so easy to picture real events happening there! What I loved most was they didn’t just show you the grandeur, but you actually got to walk across the Bridge of Sighs and see directly where the convicted were taken. It was just crazy to me that the jail was right there, and we got to actually see where prisoners lived, too! Tip: We got the Capital One Venture card and the membership they offer got us in here for free and with admission to the special exhibit, too.
We actually ended up being here on the Feast of Saint Mark, which was April 25th. We were supposed to see St Mark’s Basilica that day, so we were in “line” around 9 AM that day and were confused why we were literally the only ones waiting outside of the church when we saw a bunch of military officers walking towards us with instruments. We were so happy to get to witness a huge holiday for the Venetians! We ended up getting to attend mass inside of the church and it was truly the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen – better than anything in Paris or the US, at least!!
After being influenced by TikTok, we made reservations at El Sempione for 6 PM our second night. We were the first ones there and were so happy to get seated by the window. We loved watching all the gondolas pass by (and laughing at other influenced girls taking pictures outside the restaurant). It was so fun enjoying the ambiance, but we wouldn’t say the food was anything to obsess over. A solid 5.8/10.
The first day, we were simply walking the streets and walked by a place that I mentally saved in my head. The pizza. looked. so. good. Rossopomodoro, a name I wrote down in my phone immediately. We ended up there for a late lunch and were sliiiightly bummed to find out it was sort of a chain place and not your local Venetian hole-in-the-wall-but-in-a-good-way, but the food was still the best we had at a sit down. We loved the pizza and they had a bread bowl pasta dish we loved!
The rest of our time was truly spent just walking around. Every street in Venice is beautiful, so we enjoyed walking away from the crowds of the St Marks Area and went to the Southern area of the island, across the street from the Hilton Stuckey hotel. We also walked from St Marks to the Arsenal and enjoyed exploring the Eastern side of the island, too! We found some of the most delightful gelato this way!
Now, I’d like to offer you my advice about my grumblings with Venice. I am someone who loves exercise, but I was not particularly a huge fan of Venice after my first hour there. We took the $15 a person water bus from the Venice Airport, which was perfectly fine. It was just a little noisy and old, and was slow. My lovely husband decided that our hotel was only a mile away from one of the earlier stops, so we should just walk it. Now usually we can outpace Apple Maps walking directions pretty easily, but when Apple says it’s a 7 minute walk in Venice, assume it’s actually 30 minutes. And when you each have 2 suitcases and 15 bridges to cross, well, just assume it’s not going to go well LOL. So fair warning, either pay the $150 for a taxi to drop you off at your hotel, or take the right stop and don’t go through the trauma we did.