Posted - 14th August 2018
During our road trip in Italy, our first stop was beautiful Venice. If you’d like to read about our whole road trip, please read our A Week in: Italy blog. Now I’ll just share with you our one day (well.. more like a 24 hour) itinerary in Venice.
Day 1 – The first 12 hours of our stay
As we were flying with Ryanair, we arrived in the Venice Treviso airport, which is quite far away from the city. Thankfully, the airport and the Venice Central station are very well connected with a bus, which is really easy to find at the entrance to the airport, and it only takes about 45 minutes.
The bus goes over a really long bridge over water, which is quite cool, because you slowly start to see Venice islands in the background. After this bridge, cars and buses are not allowed to drive anymore, so the only bus stop is at the train station. Once we got off the bus, we were free to roam around, and the first bridge we crossed to start our adventure was the Constitution Bridge. And that was the first of MANY bridges we would cross that day.
Fun fact: Did you know that there are over 400 bridges in Venice? We couldn’t believe that before we went, but once we saw Venice with our own eyes, and walked the streets, it made complete sense!
We decided to just wander around and let the little streets and alleyways take us wherever. It was just fun to follow them. There were lots of hidden tunnels and little walkways, felt like a bit of a maze!
Our first stop was Basilica dei Frari and it’s square. We didn’t go into the church, but we were just in time to hear the bells ringing from the church tower.
We then decided to stop faffing around by randomly walking around the canals, and found our windy way to St. Mark’s Square.
To reach St. Mark’s Square, we actually had to get over to the San Marco district across the Grand Canal from San Polo where we were, and the closest way for us to do that, was either to take a water taxi, or cross the famous Rialto Bridge. We decided to spare our pennies at this time, and chose the bridge route.
The Rialto Bridge is actually the oldest of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal in Venice, and it’s packed with tourists! There are a few ways you can cross it, walking on the inside of the bridge, where you can find all the souvenir shops, or you can cross on each side of the bridge, where you get the view of the canal.
St. Mark’s Square is really beautiful, and the most impressive building on the square is Saint Mark’s Basilica.
Next to it, stands St. Mark’s Clocktower, with its beautiful mechanical clock.
We wanted to go inside the Basilica, so we queued for ages, got inside the entrance hall, which was stunningly gold plated and decorated. We then had to wait for another hour before we could actually go inside the Basilica. The problem is though, both Sam and I are impatient… Which meant that we didn’t wait and we didn’t go inside unfortunately!
Another thing that Sam and I dislike, is going around museums! We much prefer walking around the city and seeing how people actually live. Plus, the weather was way too nice to spend the day indoors! If you do love museums though, Venice is amazing for it, and you can actually spend days just visiting all of them.
Now, our most favourite thing to do is to see a city from the highest point we can find, to get a beautiful bird’s eye view of all the buildings around. So we headed towards the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore tower, for those amazing views. For this, we had to actually get a water taxi over to the San Giorgio Maggiore island.
The water taxi is super easy to take, they are very frequent (every 10 minutes) and they are the most simple way to travel around Venice. On our way to take the Number 2 line water taxi, we actually stumbled upon the Bridge of Sighs. It was a surprise to us, as we didn’t expect it to be there at all.
The Bridge of Sighs actually connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace, and that is where it gets it’s name from. The prisoners would sigh as they crossed the bridge to known their fate in the interrogation rooms.
Once we crossed over to San Giorgio Maggiore, the first thing we did was go straight up the tower to get that panoramic view we were looking for, and it was stunning, see for yourself:
We stayed for a while, trying to snap up the best photos from every side of the tower.
The gardens around the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore were beautifully kept as well, and there was a maze that we could follow, that had LOADS of lizards, and Sam LOVES lizards. So he spent some time chasing them around the maze.
After our visit, we headed back to the main island. Our next mission was to find this cool sculpture that I actually saw in a James Bond movie, where two hands are holding up a building. It was really hard to find on the map, but luckily we did, it was right by Ca’ da Mosto, right on the Grand Canal, and right across from the Venice Fruit & Veg Market.
It was convenient that it was right by the Venice Fruit & Veg Market because Sam and I could grab something to eat, we grabbed some Bellinis (one of my favourite cocktails in Italy), and we sat by a tiny part of the canal and just watched the gondolas go by. It was a stunning little location.
We could sit there for hours! Some of the Gondolas had musicians on them, playing the most romantic Italian songs.
After a long break, we went to grab some real food in a restaurant. Going out for dinner in central Venice was quite pricey, so we stuck to the basic pastas (which were ridiculously delicious anyways). They also have a cover charge for sitting at a restaurant table, so don’t be surprised when you see that on your bill at the end!
After dinner, we walked around a little more, and then slowly made our way back to the hotel.
Day 2 – The last 12 hours of our stay
Even after one day of being around the touristy bits of Venice, we decided we wanted to venture out of the most packed places in Venice, and walked all the way north of the San Polo district.
We walked over many more bridges, and visited the Jewish Quarter of Venice. It just felt so peaceful and felt good to be away from the hustle and bustle of town centre.
We stumbled upon many little churches, schools and bridges. I would say we crossed over 50 bridges during our stay!
Once we reached the end of the island, we could see the Cimitero di San Michele in Isola in the distance. This is the local cemetery, and the only way to reach it is by boat. That was really special and we’ve never seen anything like it before.
We then walked towards Campo San Giovanni e Paolo where we saw the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. There were lots of cafes in that area, so we decided to stop over for a cup of coffee and a rest.
Next on our mission was to find the Acqua Alta Library. We read online that this library was stunning, it had a gondola inside of it, the books were all over the place and it had the best view from the back garden. And when we saw it, we loved it!
In the back garden, you can climb the books to get the best view of the canals in the back. Was a fun experience.
Once we were done, we decided to walk through St Mark’s Square again, we wanted to see the Bridge of Sighs again from the other side, and slowly wandered back to the central station, where we were going to take the train from Venice to Verona – our next stop in our road trip! If you’d like to read more about Verona, check out our A day in: Verona blog.
Hope you enjoyed reading about our 24 hours in Venice. We wish we had more time on this island, as there was lots more to discover, such as the Muran and Burano islands and the Castello district. But we’re determined that we will make it back to this amazing city some time soon… We hope…
Xoxo Ani and Sam