Venice, Italy - Day 12 & 13
Let me just start this post by saying that Venice is by far the most favorite part of our trip. We are extremely glad we had the opportunity to explore everything that Venice has to offer and we can't wait to get back there and explore the additional islands in the area. Upon disembarking our cruise ship in Civitavecchia we all jumped into our transfer for the hour and a half ride to our hotel next to the Fiumicino airport. After we got all checked in we made our way to the train terminal for the five-hour train ride to Venice. As I covered in a previous post the high-speed train is an awesome way to get around Italy. We arrived at the Venezia Santa Lucia Station at 7:30 PM just in time to catch a vaporetto and cruise the grand canal at sunset.
One of the many things that is unique about Venice is there is only two ways to get around on foot or by boat. There are no cars, buses, or mopeds. So, upon walking out of the train station you walk out directly to the grand canal that is full of boats and vaporettos (water buses).
Our first stop was the San Marco stop where we made our way to the Rosa Salva Hotel where we were staying for the night. After checking in and dropping off our luggage we then ventured back out to island hop and take in as much of the Venice nightlife that we possibly could. One thing to note about getting around Venice is that it is very easy to get lost, but also very easy to navigate. We made our way to an island over to San Marco to see St. Mark's Square where the St. Mark's Basilica, Campanile, and Doge's Palace is. The piazza is absolutely gorgeous and full of life. Here's one of my most favorite pictures of that night where I captured St. Mark's Basilica in the reflection of a huge puddle.
It was getting pretty late and we were extremely hungry. After walking around a bit and looking over Yelp to see what was good in the area we ran across a little place called Rossopomodoro which was packed with people and highly recommended. We waited patiently and got seated. We both had a hankering for pizza after being in Naples the day before and not getting any. I had this amazing pizza with a very unique beer dough, prosciutto, and pistachios. #Delicious
We spent the rest of the night wandering around Venice until almost 1 AM before returning to our hotel to turn in for the night. The next morning we were up early and ready for our tour of St. Mark's Basilica and the Campanile. The Basilica is beautiful and enchanting.
The Campanile is the highest point in all of Venice and the view is absolutely breathtaking. You can see up and down the grand canal and all the way out to Murano and the other islands in the area.
We made our way over to the Santa Maria della Salute, but unfortunately it wasn't open to the public that day for some reason. The facade is gorgeous and you have a great view to St. Mark's Square.
After visiting the Salute Megan and I made our way over to the Bridge of Sighs and up to a church she wanted to visit that completely got us lost for about a half an hour, but was worth it when we arrived.
Now, I know what you are asking yourself... What trip to Venice isn't complete without a ride in a gondola right? Well... We did that too. After an amazing lunch at Rossopomodoro (Yes, it is that good!) with our friends that flew in for the day we all met up with Alex Hai to cruise the canals for an hour before making our way back to the train station to head back to Rome.
Our time in Venice was not long enough. Like I said at the beginning we want to get back to Venice very soon. It is just a magical place that doesn't move very fast and is so drastically different than anything you'll ever experience in the states. Also, I wanted to address a question we are asked quite a bit around the friendliness of the Italians. In our experience the majority of Italy has accepted American culture, but they really appreciate it when you make an attempt to assimilate with their culture. I would encourage anyone to learn a little Italian before visiting as it will only enhance your trip. We used Dulingo and Babble to learn some key words and phrases, but you can also leverage posts like this here.