Ciao, Jetlag Junkies!
A trip to Venice is basically the travel equivalent of Valentine’s Day: it’s cliché, over-commercialized, and prone to spontaneous waterworks. But it’s also heart-warming, romantic, surprising, and likely to lead to some nookie! Venice is precious, and only cynical fuddy-duddies feel the need to bad mouth it. You should go. You should take someone you love (romantically or otherwise), and you should definitely do these ten things on your first trip to Venice:
- Tour St. Mark’s Basilica with an expert local guide. There are precisely two sights in Venice whose significance in the canon of European tourist sights cannot be overstated. St. Mark’s is one…
- Tour the Doge’s Palace with an expert local guide. ...And the Doge’s Palace is the other.
- Visit the Rialto Bridge (but save your money at the nearby market—it’s full of tourist traps).
4. Take in the impressive art collections at the Accademia, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and Frari Church.
5. Go to an opera! There are dozens of tiny opera houses hidden in Venice’s back alleys, and they are often quite inexpensive.
6. Visit the bacari and sample the cicchetti. In other words: Go to bars. Drink wine. Eat snacks. Preferably with a cute local who can show you where the tourist places aren’t.
7. Go shopping! Pick out exquisite souvenirs (and support local artisans). Head to neighboring island, Murano, for blown glass (it really is incredible to watch a demonstration), and Burano for lace. My favorite Venetian souvenir is a hand-painted mask - thoughtfully purchased for me at local shop Tragicomica by precious clients who visited during Carnival.
8. Sip cappuccino and watch the world go by. Forget about all the silly coffee-related rules. Pay an extra couple of euro for some Illy and a table on St. Mark’s Square and watch the people and the pigeons all afternoon.
9. Take comfortable footwear and appropriate clothing. This may sound like a cop out, but it isn’t. Without those two things, you’ll have a very difficult time doing anything else on this list. Remember, just about every religious site in Italy requires both men and women to cover their shoulders and knees.
10. Get lost. Roll your eyes if you want, but you don’t have much of a choice. Getting lost in Venice isn’t simply a “must do”—it’s a “you ain’t got no choice” kind of activity. If you visit Venice and you don’t get lost, you’re doing something wrong and I have no words for you. Lean in to it. Embrace it. You won’t have any clue where you are until you find yourself in the best place you’ve ever been.
Author’s note: before anyone comes after me about not having “gondala ride” on the list, just chill. I already know that you’re going to get into a gondola, so why put it on the list and rob you of the value of a different selection? Give me a little credit ;).
Ciao for now, bella!