Ahhhh, Venice. There is so much written about this exquisite water city audaciously perched in the middle of a lagoon in the Veneto region of northern Italy, and rightly so. The beauty, the food, the light and the architecture make it one of Italy’s, and indeed the world’s, must-visit destinations. From cobbled laneways to crumbling bridges, gondolas to Venetian masks, every single thing about Venice lives up to its reputation. You can be forgiven at times for thinking you have landed on an elaborate film set, created almost like a sophisticated European Disneyland.
There are of course some sites you should plan to see – St Marks Basilica, the Grand Canal, Doge’s Palace and the famous 1930s establishment Harry’s Bar, however our favourite thing to do is to get hopelessly lost in the back streets and laneways (trust us not even google maps will help you here!) and stumble across a more authentic Venice away from the ever-present hoards of tourists. Head in to the back streets and find the local restaurants and bars serving up classic Venetian fare such as Rise e Bisi (rice and peas), fresh seafood, local Prosecco and cicchetti – small Venetian-style tapas.
Arriving in to Venice in a glamorous water taxi is expensive but oh so worth it – nothing beats seeing the city from the water on a sparkling, sunny, blue-skied day. We stayed at the luxurious Hotel Daneli, which has been featured in Hollywood films and has a beautiful terrace restaurant which is perfect for long lunches overlooking the canal. While the building itself is exquisite and the location perfect, at times the service can be little impersonal – no doubt due to the sheer volume of guests passing through its doors each day.
If time permits the perfect day trip from Venice is to Burano, a 45 minute ferry ride away, this colourful gem of an island must be seen to be believed.
We would love to visit Venice next in the winter, when the crowds have dispersed, the misty fog has rolled in and the romance of this beautiful city can be more fully appreciated.
ELE top tip – take some comfortable shoes, you will do a lot of walking and there are plenty of steps to navigate as you make your way around the city.