Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Venezia: The City of Canals


Sighhhh, Venezia. Absolutely vibrant and full of mystical charm. Truth be told I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. The scent of savory Cicchetti, sweet jasmine flowers draping the alleys, salty ocean water, and the occasional waft of cigarette smoke fill the air as your walk beside the streets of the canals of this old city. It's uniquely beautiful in its own way and I tried to capture its beauty with my photographs but alas, I don't believe it does it justice. 

The colorful buildings and alleys that we got lost in as we walked and walked... every corner with a canal just didn't seem real. People really live here? (Venice is all walking, aside from the gondolas and water taxis). I could almost imagine back in the day the women with their extravagant dresses at the masquerades arm in arm with their masked suitor. You could go on for days exploring Venice, its culture, history, food, etc... here are some of the things we did at our time there.

Attractions

Rialto Bridge: The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice. It connects the the sestieri (regions) of San Marco and San Polo. This bridge is very popular and therefore very crowded. It's beautiful and you can get the optimal shot on the bridge of the busy canals of Venice.

Piazza San Marco: St. Mark's Square features an open area and many restaurants and cute shops.

Libreria Acqua Alta: Cute and unique bookstore featuring many vintage books in boats, gondolas, and resident cats hanging around too. I bought a few cookbooks and trinkets... my favorite part was the back of the bookstore which features a book "staircase" you can climb on and take a few cute photos of, as well as a little gondola in the water that you can climb in and have your picture taken!

Fondaco dei Tedeschi Rooftop Terrace: A historic building on the Grand Canal by the Rialto Bridge, inside is a luxury shopping center. The cool part about this place is the rooftop features a beautiful terrace with an amazing view of the canals and piazzas, bell towers etc,... but you only have free access to it if you reserve tickets in advance. *Tip: They only allow a few people with the reserved slot at a time, so be sure to reserve your tickets online which can be done 21 days prior to your visit!

Gondola Ride: You can't go to Venice and not go on a gondola ride. As "touristy" as it sounds, it honestly was so much fun! Our gondolier told us stories and a little history of Venice as we went for the ride and we got to experience the way the gondoliers speak to one another in singing type voices as we passed others in the canals. You can reserve in advance, but it's actually quite easy to get a ride as you walk around the streets. We just went up to one as we wandered and he was happy to take us for a ride since he didn't have anyone else.

Food & Dining

Gelateria Gallonetto: I can still remember the taste of this gelato... so so smooth, silky and fresh. Definitely one of the best I've tasted the entire trip. A line generally starts to form alongside the store, but it's worth it. You can have your gelato placed in a brioche with some whipped panna and oh my goodness you'll never want to leave!

Osteria alla Staffa: We looked up a few places of where to eat dinner, so we tried this restaurant one night and it is worth mentioning. It was a cute little spot, but the food was really good and the woman that served us was so nice! We wanted to try some authentic Venetian dishes so we tried their seafood appetizer plate, the Papardelle with Duck Rag├╣, and Baked Pasticcio with Scampi Sauce... all very delicious.

Cicchetti: When in Venice you need to try these savory small dishes or little appetizers. You can try them at a bar for a snack, for lunch, or right before dinner. They vary by restaurant, but are typically crusty slices of Italian bread topped with various seafood or mozzarella or meats. 

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