Venice is one of those rare places that actually lives up to the glorious photos. Stepping into Venice is as magical and beautiful as you imagine.
We arrived on a rainy day one year ago for an overnight stay during a Mediterranean Cruise. We got off the ship and nearly immediately got lost in the winding streets. And not in the romantic “we’re lost on a rainy Venice day” sense of lost, but more like an “are we going to find our way back to the ship before nightfall or end up sleeping in a Venetian alley” type lost.
That said, we learned our lesson quickly and once we got our bearings and learned to pay close attention to where were headed, we didn’t have too much trouble exploring the city on our own. We used the Vaporetto, Venice’s waterbus system, to get around. It was easy for even a directionally-challenged person like me to figure out. Plus, it’s a great way to cruise down the Grand Canal, at a fraction of the cost of a gondola. We bought our tickets in advance online at http://www.veniceconnected.com. (We chose a 24 hours pass for 20 euros.) Then we just picked them up from a kiosk at a Vaporetto station and hopped on a boat.
In the two days we were there, we hit the essentials like the Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Square, and a tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. We lined up early at the Basilica before the line got too crazy. We downloaded Rick Steve’s free Venice audio tours to our iPhones and they were nice to have when we wanted more info on something as we walked around.
Early September seemed to be a good time to be in Venice—we did get a little rain, but the temperature was pleasant and there was none of that stinky water smell that happens in the really hot weather, which I’d been warned about by several people in advance.
One of the neatest places we went to in Venice was a tiny little wine bar called Do Mori. It has been in Venice since 1462—before Columbus discovered America! It took us a little hunting to find it, but it was worth it.
I’m already dreaming of going back to Venice one day!