Every time Mark joins me to visit my family in France, I always try to add a little romantic escape to our itinerary. I mean my family is great and all but I’m pretty sure that any man’s version of a ‘dream holiday’ doesn’t include spending 100% of his time with his in-laws ;)
I had originally had my heart set on visiting Istanbul (which has long been on my travel bucket list) but unfortunately the timing of the plane tickets available just wasn’t right. However, whilst searching for cheap deals online I came across some great Easy Jet tickets for Venice so we decided to go there instead. I’d already visited Venice once before but it was a place I was very happy to re-visit!
I took quite a lot of photos during our stay so I decided to break this Venice trip into two posts (+ an outfit post). Let’s get into it!
Fun fact: the only way to get from the airport to the center of Venice is by boat (well, technically, you can take a bus or a land taxi to the edge of the city but as there are no cars allowed in the historic center, the journey to your hotel will most likely involve transferring to a boat afterwards – so you might as well embrace this fun mode of transport from the start!)
After weighing up our various boat options we decided to book a shared water taxi which worked out really well for us. It was more expensive than than the public water bus (which usually takes an hour and a bit) but it was much faster and still half the price of a private water taxi. It was also great to be dropped off just around the corner from our hotel (finding a hotel in Venice can be quite the headache as the city is basically one giant maze).
We stayed at the Hotel Violino D’Oro which was really lovely (all those hours spent looking up reviews on Trip Advisor really paid off :) and conveniently located near all of the city’s main attractions. Our little room even looked over a canal so we could watch the gondoliers row and sing past our window!
After dropping off our bags at the hotel, we headed to St Mark’s square and since there were no lines decided to visit the nearby Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s palace) at the same time.
The Doge’s palace is one of Venice most iconic landmarks as it used to be the center of the old Venetian republic.
As well as being charged with history, the palace is also incredibly beautiful and filled with many paintings, artifacts and frescoes. I mean – the courtyard alone is magnificent!
Once inside, I was blown away by the amount of detailing present in each room; from the ornate ceilings to the gorgeous light fixtures, paintings and even door handles.
My favorite room was probably the Chamber of Council. I honestly could have spent hours looking through those amazing frescoes, daydreaming away.
A part where I would been have happy to spend less time however, is the prison side of the palace, where Venetian prisoners used to purge their sentence and well…die. Walking by the grim cells and imagining all those people stuck in there for years was enough to give me chills…
The bridge of sighs (apparently called that because prisoners used to look out its windows on the way to their cells and let out a sigh – because they knew it would probably be the last time they’d ever see Venice)
After the Doge’s palace we walked along the waterfront and stopped at a little bar for a much needed Aperol Spritz (my favorite!). It was a great spot to enjoy the sunshine and watch the world go by for a while.We still couldn’t believe we were in Venice really.
By the time we finished our aperitivo, it was time to return to our hotel to get ready for dinner!
Sadly, I forgot my camera back at the hotel so I couldn’t take photos of our beautiful meal at Da Mamo that night. Part of me is glad that I wasn’t distracted during my romantic dinner with Mark but then again, part of me wishes that I had ‘immortalized’ my beautiful gnocchi dish. (Seriously, it was that good). No matter, those beautiful little pillows of pasta and their delectable mushroom sauce is forever imprinted in my mind…
The following day, we decided to just walk around the streets to soak in all of the Venetian atmosphere. The best part about visiting Venice in the wintertime is that it isn’t as packed with as many tourists as during the rest of the year. Sure, there are still plenty of people around the main landmarks but if you venture out a little bit you can still find almost empty streets and more authentic areas where the locals hang out (such as the Castello, Dorsoduro and Cannaregio districts).
Our favorite area was Cannaregio so this is probably where we’d stay if (fingers crossed) we came back to Venice one day. Also, the Moretto coffee I had at ‘Torrefazione Cannaregio’ was pretty much the bomb.
For dinner we just stopped by a little hole-in-the-wall pizzeria on our way home called ‘Antico Forno’ and stuffed ourselves silly with pizza and Italian beer. The perfect end to a perfect day :)
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing an outfit post I shot whilst in Venice and next week I’ll show you some photos I took on the last day of our stay when we visited the ah-ma-zing Peggy Guggenheim museum. Stay tuned!
Hotel Violino D’oro: San Marco 2091 (near Campo San Moise and Piazza San Marco)
Da Mamo restaurant: Calle dei Stagner 5251 (near Rialto bridge)
Torrefazione Cannaregio: Sestiere Cannaregio 1337
Antico Forno Pizzeria: Ruga Vecchia San Giovanni (Ruga Rialto) -970. (Between the Rialto Bridge and Campo San Polo.)