Get Lost In Venice

From Verona, to Lake Garda and now on to the stunning city of Venice – the last instalment of my recent Italian getaway.

Here’s a round up and photo diary of my 24-hour trip (it’s quite honest in places – blogs and reviews are meant to be honest and unbiased!)…

The train from Verona to Venice took just an hour, and the excitement immediately sets in on the home stretch. From mainland Italy to Venice the train takes you across piercing blue waters!

Leaving the station is overwhelming. There are swarms of people outside – queuing up for different (water) bus stops and (water) taxis and just lots of people hanging around the area. Feeling very far from tranquil Verona, and slightly nervous about my onward journey (I’m not the most confident boat passenger),  I had been assured by friends that one of the best ways to see Venice is by a private water taxi from the train station, which takes you along the Grand Canal and then off to your hotel. So we did.

The price is a little eye watering, but we certainly felt like Brad and Ange or George and Amal or Jennifer and Justin arriving for the Venice Film Festival. It was actually rather glorious! And the sun was beaming – fabulous!

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Spotting the odd gondola ride on the way…

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Suddenly we saw our hotel – standing proud on the Grand Canal – the beautiful and ever-so grand Bauer Palazzo…

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Feeling a little peckish, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at our hotel (delicious fresh spaghetti with tomato and burrata for me – #burrataddict and a veal escalope for him) sitting outside with beautiful views of the Grand Canal and the gorgeous scenes across the way.

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Time to get sight-seeing! After lunch we strolled along the waterfront (as best as we could – there’s no easy waterfront walkway in Venice)…

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And then we headed in to St Mark’s Square, aka Piazza San Marco. The square is beautiful – the Basilica, Doge’s Palace and of course the famous Bell Tower. The architecture and marble on display is stunning and the open space is huge, bigger than I was imaging.

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My advice is to get in to the square early to see it in all of its beauty and glory. It gets extremely crowded and I lost count how many times people walked in to me not watching their step and the constant ducking and diving away from everyone’s (flipping) selfie sticks.

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The issue with any destination that attracts vast levels tourism, is often you lose the authentic and natural offering as you find yourself surrounded by stalls selling souvenirs and swarms of people. It was just a culture shock being amongst a vast crowd, which I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced elsewhere, and especially coming from the calming towns of Verona and Desenzano del Garda.

But don’t let this put you off from visiting this beauty of a city. Just be sure to time your visits to St Mark’s Square – including the Basilica and Doge’s Palace – as early as possible in the day.

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As many people will tell you, when visiting Venice, the best way to see the REAL Venice is to simply get lost amongst all the canal streets until you find yourself strolling peacefully along quaint and narrow streets and beautiful canals, where you can admire (in peace!) the prettiness of this place.

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So pretty…

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Time for some gelato!

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Walking over the Ponte dell’Accademia…

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We then strolled through more backstreets and ended up at the magnificent Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute… it was so bright to get a decent picture!

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An emotional moment. Lighting a candle for a spirit that will never leave my mind or heart… #stillhurts

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Moving on! The outside view looks across to San Marco and to our hotel with the red canopy. To the right is the Bell Tower in St Mark’s Square…

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It would be rude to go to Venice without paying a visit to the legendary Harry’s Bar, where the Bellini cocktail was invented. This was the perfect way to end our day of sightseeing. You may have to wait for a table, and the bar is tiny, but it’s a good one to tick off the list. I’d like a pound for every Bellini I witnessed being served!

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That evening we went for dinner at La Cuisina restaurant, located at the The Westin Europa & Regina hotel – just a short walk from our hotel. Make sure you get a table outside early evening for beautiful views across the Grand Canal.

What a lovely view I had… 😉

 

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The setting is very romantic and I was so impressed with the food. It was delicious and there was something on the menu for everybody.

A complimentary amuse-bouche – cod ball on an asparagus puree…

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A different take on a regular bruschetta – but so yummy! And so pretty!

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I was having too much fun enjoying the cuisine to remember to take a photo of my delicious chicken main dish, but my white chocolate cheesecake inspired dessert was heavenly…

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I don’t tell restaurants when I’m reviewing. I prefer to play a ‘mystery shopper’ so that I can genuinely comment fairly on their service and cuisine – which really was phenomenal. Eating out in Venice isn’t cheap, but if you do want to treat yourself to a lovely experience, I definitely recommend La Cuisina.

The next day we only had a few hours before we needed to head back to the airport. Unfortunately we were struck with a pretty bad rain storm for most of it which was a shame because a) the best way to see Venice is outside either on foot or by boat/gondola and b) I did not check the weather and failed in the “dress appropriately for weather” department.

Before the rain became too bad, we sneaked in a gondola ride. Again, slightly expensive but worth every penny! We started by heading under the Bridge of Sighs (making a wish of course!)…

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It’s a great way to see the real Venice…

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Heading back to base…

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Whilst it was still dry (just about) we decided to say our goodbyes to Venice with a stroll around local area…

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Call the fashion police! This was all I had in my case to keep remotely warm/covered – my Oasis jumpsuit, converse pumps and a Nike hoodie! Far from the Venice style I had hoped to crack out…

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And then the heavens opened, really opened…

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We found a bar and dived in to enjoy a few glasses of Chianti. Finally the rain calmed to a level of drizzle where we were able to bear the 10 minute walk (at a fast pace) back to our hotel.

Time to say goodbye to Venice. The view from my speedboat transfer to the airport really sets the mood of how I felt that my holiday was over… 😦

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I acknowledge that I have barely touched the surface of this beautiful city, but I do feel I had a good taste of what it has to offer. I’d definitely suggest adding this to your #wanderlust hit list – and especially as an add on to another nearby city in the same trip.

XCamilla

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