In July 2014 we visited Venice, Italy during a four day city trip.
This was the first time I'd been to Italy and what a great introduction. We stayed in a small hotel not far from the Rialto Bridge. Antico Locanda al Gambero is conveniently located in between San Marco Square and Canal Grande which made traveling by foot easy. The hotel itself is great, with a small restaurant to start of the day with a nice breakfast. A small roof terrace gives you a nice view of the city.
Next to the hotel runs one of the small canals Venice is famous for. I could see the gondola passing by below my hotel room window.
DAY ONE : ARRIVAL AND NARROW STREETS OF VENICE
We landed at around noon at Venice Airport and were brought to our hotel by water taxi. These small boats, that usually fit about 9 people, are a very fast way to get around in the small canals of Venice. It's an excellent first introduction to the city.
The central location of our hotel was ideal to reach all major attractions by foot. That is if you don't mind hunting through the narrow streets. Evenings were usually spent near Canal Grande, with it's popular river side restaurants.
Canal Grande is probably best know for its Rialto Bridge. The wide canal is best described as the main high way that provides Venetian shops of their supplies, public transport by ferries, etc.
All over the city you'll run into the typical Gondola that are navigating through the narrow canals. Most of them are decorated with very posh interior seats. Some even bring their own entertainment ;)
DAY TWO : SAN MARCO SQUARE AND LA FENICE
San Marco Square with St Mark's Basilica, the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, is impressive to visit. We did not enter the church however, since queues were very long.
Teatro La Fenice ("The Phoenix") is an opera house located right in the heart of Venice. It's one of the most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of Italian theatre. Especially in the 19th century, La Fenice became the site of many famous operatic premieres at which the works of several of the four major bel canto era composers (Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi) were performed.
The theatre, while being small, never felt claustrophobic. I was particularly impressed with the beautiful and lush interior. The ceiling alone, with it masterful paintings, is worth the visit. Outside of the main theatre room, there are some other rooms, displaying art and whatnot.
At the end of the day we enjoyed a gondola ride through the small canals of Venice. We pre-booked ours, at a discounted price. Unfortunately, this meant we had to share the gondola with 5 other people. Adding the total to 7, there was very little room in the boat left.
DAY THREE : MURANO / BURANO
The island tour Murano / Burano / Torcello was a bit disappointing. There was very little time to browse around. I also felt the group was too big to easily maneuver comfortably through the small alleyways. Never the less, visiting the crystal museum in Murano and seeing the colored houses in Burano made it worthwhile.
Venice compilation video
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