If you follow my social media, you will know that I was bough a trip to Venice by Ric.For ten years, I’ve moaned that despite being married to a half Italian, I’ve never been to Italy! This Christmas, he came through!
We flew at 11:30 on Friday, arriving at 14:30 Venice time. The transfer time from the airport to our dock an San Marco was an hour. Ric hadn’t checked this. It didn’t matter because I enjoyed sitting on the boat and seeing Venice for the first time. That being said, my first tip is check your transfer times! because it meant we arrived at the hotel at 5pm.
On Sunday we went straight to the airport. Here’s a break down of what we managed to do in the short time we were in Venice.
Venice in February
It’s cold in Venice in February. Take your coat, hat, gloves, scarf and after going, I would now advise WELLIES!
Venice is now suffering from “Acqua alta” otherswise known as high water. The high tides are causing flooding. We were greeted with at least 30cm of water, deeper in some places on Saturday morning. It couldn’t believe it and didn’t know it happened so had no appropriate footwear. Luckily the Venetian shops were prepared and sold super sexy boot covers and wellies. The boot covers did the trick for the parts where walking through the water was unavoidable. The Italians are prepared and erect walk ways so that you can get about okay around the main attractions. It only lasts a few hours and by lunch time everything is back to normal. It was an amazing sight and didn’t spoil our holiday at all.
St Mark’s Basilica
Such a stunning place and somewhere you have to visit. As it’s a religious place, clothing has to be appropriate. However, this is only something you need to think about if you visit in the summer. The entrance to the Basilica was underwater as we got there on Saturday morning. The majority of it is raised (clever Venetians) so it didn’t affect our tour. There is a small payment to enter,then (sneakily) they charge for a few other areas which we chose not to do. Something I didn’t realise until I’d took a ton of pictures was that you’re not supposed to film or photograph! After that I heard the security guy saying “No cam-er-a!” in his angry Italian accent. This set Ric and I off chuckling! The rebel in me wanted to try and take pictures without him seeing!
The ceiling is out of this world, the mosaics are so detailed and colourful. I commented that I would never have had the attention span to have that job! 8000 square metres of mosaic cover the walls, vaults and cupolas within the Basilica – crazy. There are also some lovely views over St Mark’s Square from the top.
When I found out we were going to Venice, I had to google things to do. I’m a planner, what can I say. Doge’s Palace was one that stood out to me. I have a fascination with prisons and this had one attached! You can buy a ticket for twenty euros each that cover all four museums in Venice, including Doge’s Palace. It’s great value for money.
Even from the outside it is truly stunning with the Venice Lagoon backdrop and gothic architecture. Inside, each room is breathtaking with overwhelming artwork, painted ceilings, gold, a huge and imposing court room. It was inside Doge’s Palace that I realised I was finally a grown up. Years ago I would have had no interest in the culture and work within these buildings and rooms. Ric and I wandered around, taking it all in and fully being able to appreciate it.
Unfortunately, the part of Doge’s Palace that we really wanted to see, we missed! We thought we had come to the end of it so left. We went to the Gondola’s (more on that later) and for lunch. The gondola guy told us about the prison and Bridge of Sighs so we went back after lunch. Ric explained that we didn’t realise it was attached but they wouldn’t let us back in without paying again! He tried to argue with them, knowing how much I wanted to see it but they weren’t having any of it. One of many reason we’ll have to go back.
St Mark’s Square and the Venecian streets
On the Friday evening, when we first arrived, it was lovely to be greeted by St Mark’s Square. Our hotel (the Antico Panada) was literally a minute walk from the famous landmark. After we’d dropped out bags off and freshened up we just had a wander around the streets. It’s so easy to get lost in Venice. All the streets are winding and similar with restaurants, leather and mask shops etc. With modern technology, you’d think we’d be okay with the use of Google Maps! Venice does not like to conform to maps at all.
Given that we usually have two children in toe, wandering around the streets was really enjoyable for me. Every now and then we’d come around a cute bridge or a pretty fairy light filled back street. It’s easy to see why people say Venice romantic….but I’m not the romantic kind 🙂
We’d had mixed opinions on the Gondola rides. Some people had said that it was really expensive and not worth it. Others advised us to share with others therefore cutting the cost. The odd person just said to miss them out completely. For me, the main thing you think of when you think of Venice is the canals and Gondola’s…closely followed by the guy from the Cornetto advert singing. With this in mind, we had to go on one. It was just over one hundred euros for a 45 minute ride. Those that said it was expensive were totally right but I believe it was worth it, If we go back, we won’t feel the need to go on one again.
Our “Gondola Guy”, as I like to call him, otherwise known as Marco, was great. He guided us around the canals giving interesting bits of information and quietly singing in Italian under his breath. He occasionally shouted loudly, obviously in Italian again, to let other Gondola’s know that we was coming around the corner. It was peaceful, relaxing and a really good way to see Venice. We heard about Marco Polo and Casanova. I learnt that Italy hadn’t been a country for that long and Florence, Venice and other areas of Italy used to be separate and that a lot of Italians are named after the area they are from, like our friend Marco.
For us, the Gondola was a highlight of our trip and worth the expensive to do it once. We’ve done it. We will enjoy other areas and sights of Venice if we are lucky enough to go back.
For me, Venice isn’t a child-friendly. it’s definitely not Roversi child friendly. Our kids wouldn’t be entertained by the culture and architecture the city has to offer. It’s definitely one for a couples only break…or maybe when they’re teenagers. It was lovely to have a couple of days just us. I feel a little sorry for Ric. After all the nagging to go, all it’s done is make me want to see more of Italy.
Have you been to Venice? Can you recommend any places to go if we are lucky enough to go back? Or can you recommend more family friendly places in Italy that we could look at for a summer holiday? Comment below or find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Don’t forget to click like/follow 😉