Venice, Venice, Venice -where to begin? It really is a magical city that no picture can ever truly capture. For as long as I can remember, Venice has always been one of those places that I’ve always looked at and thought “Wow, I need to go there sometime”, so one night after looking at one too many Italian- related instagrams, I thought that sometime needed to become soon so I sent out a group text to some of my favourite ladies and the rest was history.
Before I go anywhere, I like to research where I’m going – where’s the nicest area to stay, where do the locals like to eat, where’s best for a nice glass of wine etc, so none of the five women I was travelling with were surprised when we arrived at the airport and I produced my very own itinerary! Now I like to think I’m not strict and annoying with my itinerary but more so that it’s a handy “how – to” guide, I hope so anyways!
We really struck gold on our accommodation – we stayed in an amazing apartment in the lovely area of Cannaregio. I couldn’t believe our luck it when I found it on Airbnb. The apartment itself was so beautiful. It was modern and bright but had beautiful periodic features from as far back as 1400. It was two small canals off one of the big squares so it was central but at the same time wasn’t too busy or loud. I couldn’t recommend staying here enough if you were ever to visit Venice. The more you wander around the narrow, winding streets the more you realise that the best way to get to really see the beautiful city is by getting lost in it. On our last evening, we managed to get split into two groups (one group had wandering eyes for an armchair in a store window, naturally enough) and both groups then managed to also get completely lost but we ended up seeing all of these amazing, beautiful buildings and streets that we would have missed otherwise..plus it made for a hilarious story to look back on!
We spent our first day exploring the district we were staying in and getting to know the area. The following day was Saturday so we rose nice and early and set off to the first stop on my list which, with us all being foodies, was of course the food market located at the Rialto Bridge. Here we found stalls upon stalls of fresh, local produce where all of the local restaurants source their delicious food.
After the market, we took a vaporetto down The Grand Canal towards St. Marks Square. A single vaporetto ride will set you back €7.50 but if you are staying for a few days then I would definitely recommend getting a 72 hour ticket as this will give you unlimited travel for only €40 or €28 if you’re under the age of 29! It’s so handy as this will literally bring you anywhere in Venice. St. Marks Square is made up of the Basilica, the Campanile which is the clock tower and Doge’s Palace which is commonly known as the political hub. You will instantly notice that the crowds seem to multiply when you arrive at St. Marks as it is seen as the main attraction in Venice. The buildings are breath-taking and the whole square is very grand. If you are visiting Venice, it’s definitely a must-see.
Life goals anyone?
While we were there, we were lucky enough to be able to experience the Venice Carnival which was truly magical. The Carnival is a festival held for the two weeks before Lent and is seen as a celebration of the history and culture of the Venician people. There are many events held in the honour of this celebration such as The Masquerade Ball but you do not need to attend such events to experience the Carnival as the festivities can be seen all over the streets. People wearing head to toe old, Venician dress and especially masks can be found at every turn. Many even simply wear modern-day, fancy dress to join in on the fun. Even the dogs get involved!
When we weren’t exploring, we were eating (and drinking). We were in Italy after all? Venice is famous for it’s many Cicchetti bars which are dotted all over the city. Here they serve wine and tapas- style cuisine, the perfect place to eat cheese to your hearts content! Alongside the Cicchetti bars are the many delicious restaurants whose speciality is of course, pizza & pasta. As you can imagine, I was in my element!
This attentive chef asked if I wanted to get a picture of our fish.. he seemed to get a little embarrassed when I said I would prefer just a photo of him (much to the mortification of my mum). Oops!?
On the Saturday evening we stumbled across the brilliant Cafe Filermo. This bar may be small in size but what it lacks in size it makes up for in character and hospitality. The owner Rafael and his team were so welcoming and they kept us entertained the entire time we were there. They referred to us as the Irish and kept us well supplied with food and wine despite only ordering the wine. Being Irish we couldn’t see the food go to waste now could we? From here we were able to watch the parade unfold outside alongside the other Carnival madness. We would have stayed here all night was it not for the fact we needed a “proper” feed!!
I think its safe to say I fell head over heels in love with Venice and their way of life. From their lifestyle to the architecture to the food and lets not forget the wine, it’s definitely somewhere I can see myself hopefully returning to in the future. As amazing and beautiful as the city is, it was definitely the friends I travelled with that really made the experience all that it was. We ate good food, drank good wine, wandered together, got lost together, danced together in the Jewish Ghetto and laughed until it hurt. With all that in mind, I better get organising the next trip! Where to next girls? If anyone is thinking of travelling to Venice and has any questions feel free to snap me at @adashoflime or tweet me at @adashoflimeblog and I’ll be sure to answer to the best of my ability!