It is again that time of year when love is all around us – roses, chocolates, everything you come across is heart-shaped. But why not invest in a romantic trip and surprise your partner by visiting the Italian cradle of love – Venice. Venice has something special that cannot be described, it is charming, peaceful, the streets are narrow and full of tiny shops and even though it might seem for you at first like being in a labyrinth, don’t worry – small are chances of getting lost. Venice is also home to one of the best carnival festivals in Europe , known for its distinctive masks. And this is just a small piece of what you can experience in Venice, so let’s see what the ‘Queen of the Adriatic Sea’ has to offer!
09:00 – Wake up! It is time to explore the city, but first you need to get a proper buzz? Go to Pasticceria Tonolo, the authentic bakery popular for more than 40 years. Get yourself delicious frittelle and cappuccino for just 2€. After charging your batteries, your first stop is Piazza San Marco, the main square in Venice. Enjoy the direct view on Canal Grande and if you want the panoramic view from the Bell Tower, you will need to pay 8€. Though pricey, it is worth the money.
11:00 – Next stop is the Bridge of Sighs (or Ponte dei Sospiri), one of the most famous bridges in Venice. The story says that lovers will forever be in love if they kiss under the bridge while on a gondola as the St. Mark’s tower bells toll – how romantic is that ? Now, proceed to ‘waterbus’ stop S. Zaccaria (Jolanda) “D”. From there take the line 4.1 to Giardini della Biennale gardens if you want to save up some time or if not, just keep walking along the coast. The gardens are public so there is no entrance fee (unless you want to see art exhibitions).
13:00 – After exploring the magnificent gardens, on your way back stop to see the monument dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi, famous Italian revolutionist. The monument is located at the end of an alley full of gigantic green trees. Like in a fairytale, right?
13:30 – Now this is probably the best part of the day – venetian lunch! Venetian cuisine has remained the same for centuries and that is what makes it so special. Years pass by, but the taste stays the same. Try popular ‘gnocchi di San Zeno’ with butter and parmesan or risotto with mussels. And for the dessert don’t forget to taste the original tiramisu. None is like the one from Venice – yumm!
15:00 – And we’re back on tour de Venice! Now head to the northern part of San Marco sestiere (one of 6 zones in Venice) and you will get to Rialto Bridge – one of 4 bridges which cross Canal Grande. It is considered to be the central part of Venice. So in case you lose your partner/friends, use it as your meeting point. Once you cross the bridge, on the western part of San Polo sestiere, there is the famous Rialto food market, where you can try cicchetti (something like tapas in Spain), fresh vegetables and seafood, some of which you probably haven’t even heard of.
17:00 – You’ve been walking all day through the streets of Venice and eyeing those long pointy boats. Well, we hate to disappoint you but the ride in gondolas is way too expensive and not really worth the money. Yes, it is once in a lifetime experience, but is it really necessary to pay almost 100€ just to slowly glide through the canals? However, there is an alternative to gondolas – the so-called ‘traghetti’ boats which are slightly bigger, but much cheaper, only 4€. Take a ride from Rialto market to Santa Sofia (right across the Canal Grande) and visit local churches like Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli and Chiesa dei Gesuiti. Or simply wander through the streets, explore and don’t forget to buy a souvenir!
19:30 – Walking through the Cannaregio sestiere in direction of west you will reach Ponte delle Guglie, cross it and proceed to another great bridge of Venice, Scalzi Bridge which roughly translates to ‘bridge of the barefoot’. Although it may not seem as attractive as Bridge of Sighs, it can be a good location for taking a perfect photo.
20:30 – Having dinner in Italy is probably more important than having lunch. It is the time of day when everyone in the family finally finish all the work for the day and sit together to enjoy exquisite dishes. So, don’t even think of skipping it while in Venice. We suggest a romantic outdoor dinner by the Canal Grande – it’s a true movie-like experience.
22:00 – Wondering if a tourist city like Venice has nightclubs, and if yes, where exactly? Although Venice is mostly oriented towards tourism and there’s not much nightlife in terms of wild parties, you still have some pretty good alternatives. Visit Devil’s Forest Pub for a pint of beer after which you can chill at Venice Jazz Club or go wild on the dance floor at Piccolo Mondo Music Dance club.
If you wish to visit Venice, you can reach it by bus from the Marco Polo Airport or if you want to continue your journey outside Venice, check buses from Venice to other cities or look up the possible routes on getbybus.com.