Finally the European country I had been waiting for! I had a little over three weeks planned here and couldn't wait to eat all the pasta and drink all the wine! We are visiting Venice, Florence, Naples, Capri, and Rome. Lots to fit in in three weeks with lots of prepurchased tickets. First up: Venice.
We flew into Treviso airport since it was quite a bit cheaper than flying directly into Venice. While it was much cheaper to fly into Treviso it meant we had a 45 minute bus ride into Venice. Once we arrived to the bus stop we had to take a water taxi (totally cool) to get our Airbnb keys.
The city was beyond interesting. Lots of bridges and waterways. No cars. It felt like you were floating. And gondola's everywhere. While they looked fun, we opted not to spend the money on one. They were $80 a ride. Seemed a little overpriced if you ask me. I am sure it would of been romantic....not my thing.
Our first must see thing was the Rialto Bridge. It was the meeting place to get our Airbnb keys. The bridge is over the Grand Canal and the oldest bridge in Venice that crosses over the canal. This area was full of tourist. We quickly found our contact and made our way through the tiny alleys between the buildings and over bridges. Thank goodness for google maps or I would have never found my way back to the bridge alone.
We spent our first full day in Venice at San Marco Sqaure. As soon as we popped out of an alley we were given this view of St Mark's basilica. So beautiful and intricate. We didn't check out the inside because we had tour tickets next door at the Doge's Palace.
I was also pretty pumped to see the location where The Italian Job filmed a scene. Recognize it?
We booked the Secret Passage Tour of the Doge's Palace a few weeks in advance (book everything early in Europe) and ended up spending most of the day here. The Doge's Palace is a gothic palace where Venetian government took place. This photo is from the upper level looking down into the courtyard. There was no good way to get a picture of how huge this palace was.
Our tour took us behind the scenes, up to the torture rooms, at attic, and below to the many prison cells. This was also the place that Casanova was imprisoned and also escaped from. He was the only person who managed to escape from the terrible prisons. Our tour guide was a fabulous story teller!
We even walked from the court to the prisons through the bridge of sighs. It is said that after the prisoner is sentenced they walk through the bridge to prison and get a very small glimpse of the outside world one last time and sigh.
There was room after room of paintings. Floor to ceiling. Literally every ceiling was covered in paintings.
Even the floors were neat. A few of them were optical illusions.
We spent one day in Venice on the island of Murano. This island is a short water taxi ride from Venice. The island is well known for its glass blowing activities. Most of the businesses offer a glass blowing demonstration before shopping in their store. We started at Vetreria Guarnieri Di Levorato for a demonstration and shopping. We even ended up here as our last stop on the island and made a few more purchases.
It was so hot while we were in Venice. We learned our first lesson on verifying the Airbnb has air conditioning. We also got our first real taste of gelato. My favorite. We made a few stops for gelato to cool down.
One of my other refreshing finds was the Aperol Spritz. Thank you kind lady sitting next to us at the restaurant that actually handed me her glass to taste before I ordered my own.
It was my beverage of choice all through Italy. It is a tangy, refreshing orange drink. Perfect for the extremely hot days!
Here is a recipe to try it yourself.
3 Parts Prosecco
2 Parts Aperol
1 Splash of Soda
So far I am loving Italy. There is so much more to see and do. Next stop is Florence.