The magic of Venice will leave you spellbound. It's charm will enthral you with labyrinthine streets and winding canals, full of wisdom and carrying myriad secrets. Walls play host to a history full of life and colour from the home of Commedia dell'arte, and much like the masks of the theatre, Venice has stories untold, hidden in the cracks and crevices that line the facades. Venice is a city that spoke to my soul. It left me reeling and grounded all at once.
The silence of empty alleys give way to nothing but the sound of footfall on cobbled stones. Tones of sienna and ochre bleed from brick-exposed walls, contrasted against weathered green shutters. Venice is the type of place to ditch the map and let your feet guide you. Don't fear getting lost, but rather finding the essence of Venice in all it's dilapidated beauty.
Spend time watching life play out as you float down the canals in a gondola, cool down with a scoop (or three) of gelato and wander away from St. Mark's Square.
Where to stay
We stayed in an AirBnb on the island of Giudecca, which sits just 10 minutes on the vaporetto from St. Mark's Square. Our apartment overlooked a canal, and reflected the life of locals. You can find the listing here.
Gelato, all day, everyday.
Don't be tempted to eat anywhere that waiters try to coax you into the restaurant, we found generally the quality of food in these places wasn't as high as the quieter eateries.
Save yourself some money on lunch, grab a slice of pizza or a panini, fruity granita and find some space to relax in any one of a number of main squares.
What to do?
This will likely be one of the more expensive activities you do in Venice, but it's worth it for an alternate view of the city. Before 7pm, a half hour ride will cost €80, or €100 after that. These are tariff rates set by the city, so don't pay more.
Libreria Acqua Alta
A bookstore brimming with novels, magazines and every kind of book you could otherwise imagine. Don't forget to head out back to check out the staircase of books.
Check out the oldest operating cafe, established in 1720. Probably best to avoid actually having a coffee here, unless you want to pay €12!
Throw away that map and wander aimlessly for hours, you are sure to find something special.