Venice (Italian: Venezia) is very famous for its numerous canals, bridges, gondolas, and urban legends of many of its inhabitants, one of the most famous of them, Giacomo Casanova. One thing we really loved about Venice is that it is car-free. Walking is an option to consider to get from one point to another otherwise taxi boats and gondolas are also very useful.
For an authentic immersion in this mysterious and magical city, climb aboard a gondola! A private tour is around 80 euros (115 CAD $) for 2 people but we found out that some companies like Ceetiz offer group discounts. Each participant pays 30 euros to share a gondola with a maximum of 5 other passengers for a duration of 30 minutes which sounds pretty fair.
We saw thousands of impressive spots simply from wandering around the streets. Venice is truly an open-air museum. For example, after crossing over the Rialto Bridge and passing along the Rialto Market, we saw the recent modern piece of art Support by Lorenzo Quinn.
We were touched by the meaning of this artwork representing two hands emerging from water and holding the Ca’ Sagredo luxury hotel. The artist highlights the rising sea level caused by climate change. This is particularly relevant for Venice which is concerned by the ocean level rise.
Among our favorites sightseeing, let’s talk about Piazza San Marco and Saint Mark’s Basilica. For those who like to take pictures with nobody around, be aware that there are a lot of people so the best way to avoid the crowd is to be there at the sunrise…
The entrance of St Mark’s Basilica is free so the queue is very long before entering into the Cathedral. Your two choices to save time is to opt for a guided tour or to book your reserved access “skip the line entry” on Venetoinside portal. This service costs 2 euros (3 CAD $) per person and is available from April 1st to November 2nd. Moreover, the online reservation can be made up to 10 minutes before the chosen visiting time.
We highly recommend to visit the Saint Mark’s Museum (entrance fee: 5 euros/7 CAD $) to be able to admire the Basilica from above, access the external lodge and capture new details. During the visit, you will learn about the techniques used in laying the precious mosaics and contemplate the four original bronze Horses of Saint Mark’s Basilica which came to Venice from Constantinople.
After long walks in the city, reward yourself with an Italian gelato! Make sure to try one of those two artisanal spots: Suso Gelatoteca in San Marco and Gelateria Alaska in Santa Croce. If you crave for a pizza, note that it’s not a Venetian specialty but we were able to eat delicious vegan pizza at Pizzeria Il Refolo in Santa Croce and at Pizzeria L’Angelo in San Marco.
A perfect way to end a day in Venice is to opt for one of the many classical music concerts. We booked with Virtuosi di Venezia located close to the Saint Mark’s Basilica and we assisted to a representation of the 4 seasons of Vivaldi.
Also, if you are wondering where to stay in Venice, we suggest you to book a central location hotel even if It can be quite challenging. In fact, many hotel in Central Venice have been built few centuries ago, which make them very charming but not cozy.
We stayed at Ca’Mariele luxury apartment hotel, which is located 10 minutes walk from the Piazza San Marco. The location is ideal to visit the main city attractions cited above and places such as Scuola Grande di San Rocco or Gallerie dell’Academia just to mention of few. At the hotel, the rooms are very spacious (which can be quite rare in Venice) and we got a 2 floors luminous apartment with a lovely bathroom and bedroom.
Since Venice is a destination constantly on demand, it’s pretty easy to find good flight ticket deals and even more if your travel dates are flexible. At the departure from Paris, we chose to flight with EasyJet but did not get the chance to experience their brand new A320 NEO aircraft. If you arrive from Montreal, Air Transat offers direct flights at a fair price. Have a good trip!