Venice is one of the most incredible, unique, and vibrant cities in the world. The best way to see this car-free city is to just start walking and get lost in the twists and turns of the ancient cobblestone alleys.
The Venice portion of our trip was the most stressful one. Looking back at it, Maple’s ear infections were probably flaring up but we didn’t know that at the time. (She has never had symptoms other than crankiness.) As a result, the days there are a bit of a blur. I’ve scrapped the chronological reporting and am sharing my favorite photos along with anecdotes from the adventures. BTW, I’m linking to locations on Google Maps.
Each day we crossed the city on foot to have our most favorite gelato at Venchi.
Venchi is a very gourmet chocolatier and gelateria chain in Italy, and their gelato is the kind I dream about (literally) when I’m home in the US. Each time we got to Venchi, which was a 30 min walk from our apartment in the Castello district, Maple had a meltdown. The good news is that I figured out how to wear her and nurse her while walking and eating my gelato all at the same time.
There’s an abundance of street art and graffiti in Venice, both good and bad. These two caught my eye. The left is fairly accurate but shocking social commentary on many of the tourists who swarm the city in the summer. It’s sad to see how many of the old buildings around St. Mark’s Square have been overtaken by commercialized, designer shopping. It’s actually driving out many of the locals whose small businesses can no longer keep up with the soaring costs of rent. Many have converted their stores to junk souvenir shops just to stay afloat.
When in Venice, you must cross the Accademia Bridge to see this view of the canal. The Grand Canal is even more beautiful and majestic in real life than when you see photos or hear it depicted in books. It’s incredible. The canal is alive with traffic of boats, and is flanked on either side by palazzos, the centuries-old palaces.
As noted in my favorite book about the history of the Veneto, people are often surprised that the palaces are crammed in together. But a palazzo is not defined by the space around it, rather it’s the style of architecture and the grandeur of the space – especially the interior.
There are some locks on the Accademia Bridge. I loved this view.
I first had French style Macarons during our previous trip to Venice, at the pastry shop Fuori Menu. They are delicious. I was excited to return and buy a ridiculous number of them to eat once again. The women working at the bakery are friendly and somewhat versed in English, though they patiently let me order in my broken Italian.
We wandered south and west through the Dorsoduro neighborhood and stumbled upon this Gondola Workshop of Squero di San Trovaso where gondoliers were restoring some boats. It was awesome to see!
I loved this view of Ristorante da Raffaele, though I have no idea if the restaurant is any good. The location is between San Marco and Accademia:
One overcast afternoon we wandered the back streets of our neighborhood, the Castello. It’s one of the few areas where locals are still living and working. It backs up to the Giardini where the Biennale takes place. The large gardens are beautifully landscaped, even on a rainy and cold day. Here’s the approximate location of this view:
We discovered Paradiso, a pretty indoor/outdoor cafe and bar when wandering the Giardini. It was really empty and didn’t get great reviews, but on a warmer and drier day we would have been happy to stop there for an average drink so that we could relax while Maple ran around!
On the western side of the Castello district we found the most adorable toy store – Ponte Dei Sogni. The women working there were awesome and we couldn’t help getting a few treats for Maple. 🙂
And we can’t forget the obligatory family photos! Next up, a beautiful, sunny day adventure to the most colorful island. See you there!