If you had asked me last year which city in my opinion is the most romantic in the world, I’d have probably said Paris, without even giving to it too much of a thought. And then, January 2015, first trip of the year, Venice … it was love at first sight.
Venezia, la Serenissima (for non Italians: the full official name of Venice is Serenissima Republica di Venezia) is a bliss. It’s a magical city where time has stopped and modern times seem to far far away. You can wander around the calle and feel at every corner the enchanting mystery of the XVI and XVII century, when private parties, gambling and romance were at the heart of the daily life of Venice.
Home to Italy’s own Don Juan, Giacomo Casanova and to the most fascinating carnival in the world, Venice has been a major literary inspiration for poets and writers and has delighted the eyes of the famous European Grand Tour back in the XVII century. Every building has its story, legends and scandals (and hidden secret passages) and the atmosphere is simply in one word mesmerizing.
Top 10 things to do in Venice:
1. Walk, walk, walk without looking at the map and get ready to get lost
2. Enjoy a traditional aperitivo Veneziano with cicchetti and Aperol spritz
3. Go to San Marco square early in the morning, when there is almost no one and experience the first ray of lights
4. Buy a mask
5. Dine at the Terrazza Danieli, simply because of this view
6. Walk along riva degli Schiavoni and get a glimpse of Giudecca (and if you are lucky you can spot Elton John’s house!)
7. As cliché as it may sound, a ride on the famous gondola is a must for couples
8. Ever wanted to feel so glamorous as a Hollywood star? Then indulge yourself in a lovely ride on the water taxi
9. Just stop for a minute, switch off your phone, look up, free your mind from everything and relax … you are in the most extraordinary city of the world
10. Walk along the Canal Grande and stop at the Rialto bridge
There are no proper words to describe the feeling that you get when you first visit Venice: it’s amazement,
My tips to enjoy Venice at 360 degrees:
- Venice is a very expensive city in mid- and high season, which is from March until the end of October, and tends to be quite overcrowded over this period. If you want to experience the ‘real’ Venice and don’t really care about the cold temperatures, then go anytime from November until February. That’s when the magic will happen.
- If you want to buy a mask, please go only to a proper mask shop run by Italians and you’ll be sure that you are buying an original mask purely made in Italy, and not made in China.
- Venice is not only San Marco square and it’s not a big city either, which means that even if you have a hotel in Cannaregio area, which is close to the train station, you’ll need only 15 minutes to reach San Marco. Venice is unique because it’s the only walking city in the world and that’s something worth enjoying.
- Make sure to have cash! Credit cards are not accepted everywhere.
- Hotels in Venice are 90% of the time very, extremely traditional in style, but they are all decent (rooms might be quite small, but bare in mind, that all the hotels were houses or palaces back in the day). If you want something more modern and edgy, go for the Centurion Palace or the Ruzzini Palace.
Venice is like a fairytale, like a painting, it seems so perfect and mystic, that at times you think it cannot be real, that you ended up in a dream. But it’s no dream. Everything is authentic and enchanting, waiting to be discovered.