Italy has always been my favorite country but it was not until 2 months ago did I really have time to make a trip there. I only got 3 days off so I decided to travel to just one city in Italy and do my best to enjoy it to the fullest. After doing a lot of research, I picked Venice – one of the most popular cities in Italy (and also because I am a big fan of the movie Chasing Liberty!). I knew it would not fail to live up to my expectations, and it did not! I had my best vacation ever in Venice and I am seriously thinking about moving there!
I went to check out the Grand Canal right after I threw off my backpack in my room at the hotel. To see it with my own eyes was always a dream. I had heard about it so many times, had seen a lot of pictures but I was still amazed by what it actually looked like. Lovely, romantic, charming – It is everything you think it would be, just better! I took a gondola at sunset and had such a great evening. The boatman was superb! Such a jolly and kind man! He told me stories about Venice and its history while riding gently and even showed me a good restaurant to have dinner afterwards! 80$ for about 40 minutes – was quite expensive but worth every single euro!
Note: Make sure you tell the gondolier where you want to go or you will end up paying a lot of money.
Musica A Palazzo
My favorite activity in Venice was going to Musica A Palazzo for operas. I spent 2 nights out of my 3 nights there and would have come back for the third if I had had time. It took me quite a while to find the spot as there were not many signs on the way but at the moment I saw the palace, I had a feeling that it was going to be a great night. Palazzo, as they called it, was gorgeous and simply perfect for an opera to take place. I bought a booklet of the performance at the entrance but was amazed by how comprehensive it actually was. The singers were brilliant and acted so well that they made the stories very easy to follow (I talked to some other people who also didn’t know much Italian and we all agreed on this). There were a lot of interactions to audience, which made the show really unique and create an intimate atmosphere. The music was beautiful and very well played. Seriously I had nothing to complaint about this amazing attraction! Highly recommended!
Note: Try to go there early to get good seats; otherwise, there will be inconvenience during your enjoyment.
Acquolina Cooking Class
I joined a cooking class with Marika in her lovely house on Lido Island (which is also worth being checked out) and had such a wonderful time. Marika could not have been more accommodating! There were 7 members (can be up to 8 maximum) in my group and though our cooking levels were different, she made sure everyone go through all the steps properly and encouraged us to be confident about our cooking. Marika has such a humorous and warm way of teaching that she makes the class very enjoyable and intimate. We learned how to make a lot of dishes including ravioli within 4 hours and enjoyed every minute of the processes! If you are keen on cooking and looking forward to understand more about the art of making Italian food, do not hesitate to contact Marika! She is the BEST!
Venice Jazz Club
I’m a big fan of jazz so of course I did not forget to check out this sort of bars in Venice. The fee is quite reasonable – 20$/1 person for a 2 hour concert and a drink (your choice of juices or cocktails) and continual bowls of snacks. The drinks are not that great but the bar deserves a big 10 for the music (The night I went there they were playing my favorite Miles Davies! Awesome!). The band is very talented and accessible if you want to talk to them about music. The atmosphere is also very intimate and relaxing. Venice Jazz Club has everything a jazz club should have, and as a jazz-lover I found it perfect since what could be more fun than listening to some smooth tunes and chilling out in such a city like Venice?
St. Mark’s Square
You are not to visit Venice without visiting St. Mark’s Square. It is like Bangkok (Thailand) or Paris (France) – a great place to get lost in! I tried the map but it turned out that it did not work out for me so I just sort of grabbed a drink and walked around listening to orchestras at the restaurants. The square itself is gorgeous with beautiful colors and nice architecture – such a fantastic spot to film or photograph. I read quite a bit about the history so it was also very interesting to see it in real life.
A lot of people would not take St. Mark’s Square as their favorite place in Venice as it is touristy, crowded and quite expensive. Personally I would say just give it a go (as it is definitely worth a visit!) then when you are fed up, take a break by going up the Campanile di San Marco.
Campanile di San Marco
I got to chat to some travelers at Venice Jazz Club and they told me about Campanile di San Marco. I went up there the next morning and I was like, ‘Wow!’ – I had an amazing view of the whole city and even saw the surrounding islands! It was quite nice to look down the busy St. Mark’s Square from the top and enjoy the peace. It cost me 9 Euros and quite a while standing in the line waiting for the elevator which was kind of frustrating but in the end it was fine as the view was breathtaking. I took a lot of pictures but still felt like those were not enough.
Note: You can stay at the rooftops as long as you like but be aware that it can get a little chilly even in hot days. Also, make it as early as you can to avoid the queues. And watch out for the bells! They ring very loudly up there!
Venice is well worth its reputation for fascination and romance. To be honest, it is one of most wonderful places I have ever been to! 3 days in Venice was like 3 days living in a dream for me. I fell so in love with Italian food, amazing operas, wonderful architecture and the gorgeous Grand Canal. Now moving to Venice to live for a while at some point in the future is my next goal. Why? There is something about Venice that makes people get addicted! Don’t believe me? Come to Venice!
P.s I made ravioli for my family when I went back home and, Marika’s recipes worked – they loved it! Bravo Marika!