Because we only had a 1.5 days left of our trip, we didn’t have an exact schedule for Venice. Few things I wanted to see and do in Venice were:
- Piazza San Marco, Doge’s palace
- Grand canal
- Saint Mark’s Basilica and Square
- Gondola ride
- Bridge of Sighs
- Murano Island/ Burano Island
- Santa Croce
Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t have anything planned (Except for having a reservation at Trattoria Al Gatto Nero) because all we did in Venice was wandering around the canals and bridges and carefully getting lost. As we got lost in Venice, we found ourselves discovering most of the things we wanted to see as we went.
Our first dinner was at Ostaria a la Campana (S. Marco Venezia). We were just walking by and decided to give this restaurant a try as this place was quite busy. This was when we learned that generally everything in Venice is lot more expensive than the rest of Italy. After we had amazing Florentine meals and Fresh seafood from Cinque Terre, we weren’t impressed with what we ate given it was more expensive and less delicious in comparison.
Next morning, we got up early to go to Bruno Island. We have been advised to hop on a Ferry line 12 from Fondamenta Nove (instead of the other stop near San Marco) as leaving from Fondamenta Nove takes less time to get to Bruno Island. The red dot in the map below is where you want to go, its located about 20 minute walk from S. Marco Square. After about 50 minutes on a ferry ride, we arrived in Bruno Island. Bruno Island was a adorable place with its famous colourful houses, making it an attractive spot for all travelers and photographers.
The best meal we had in Venice was actually in Bruno Island, at Trattoria Al Gatto Nero. I had come across this restaurant when I was planning the trip and made my reservation 3 weeks prior getting there. I would highly recommend making reservations prior to your visit as chances are, unless you are visiting at off-peak times and is extremely lucky, the restaurant will be fully booked. Every aspect of this restaurant was quite exceptional and we were very happy with our overall dining experience. As the minimum serving for their main dishes were for two people, It would work better if you are visiting in a bigger group so that you can try couple of their mains.
There is a restaurant called Bistrot De Venise, which we couldn’t try as we were too full from our lunch from Al Gatto Nero. It is a fine dining restaurant on a Michelin guide 2016, and has great reviews. We randomly discovered this place on our first night and booked it for the dinner next day. If we ever return to Venice, this will be on my list.
I’m not sure when we will re-visit Venice. After having been to Rome, Florence, and Cinque Terre, surprisingly I wasn’t overly in love with Venice. It was way too touristy for me. The idea of having the city above the water was so romantic until I got there, as the water smelled funny and we did spot couple of rats. However, Venice is so unique and beautiful in its own way that I’m glad that we had a chance to experience it ourselves.
My tips on enjoying Venice
- Expect to get lost, because you will 🙂 Even having a GPS was pretty much useless in Venice.
- Give yourself more time getting to/from places
- Expect to pay more. On average, everything was lot more expensive in Venice.
- Save your money on lunches (and spend it in other cities in Italy for far more delicious and cheaper food) You can do so by visiting local markets.
- When booking an accommodation (and if you have heavy luggage) – find out how many bridges you need to cross from the closest Vaporetto stop, as it can end up being a lot of heavy lifting up and down the stairs as you cross each of the bridges.
- I really enjoyed Bruno Island. However, I realized that there isn’t much to do.
- We’ve stayed in a hotel near San Marco. Location was great but everything else was below average for a price we paid. We did book our trip last minute and many were booked out. I would recommend looking at apartment/ air bnb or looking at accommodation options in quieter areas.