Overall, we had an incredible trip to Venice. Our plan was to fly from Rome to Venice, but we found out the morning of our flight that Alitalia was on strike. This, unknown to us, happens quite frequently in Italy we were told. We spent most of the morning doubling back to Rome to get the train, but it was all worth it when we arrived. As a side note: If you throw one coin into the Trevi fountain that means you will return to Rome--guess we got our wish.
For those who don’t know, Venice is a collection of islands connected by these little bridges. For the most part, people get around by walking, although some use water taxis, vaporetto, and gondolas. Combined, these little islands are considered the main island of Venice; they are definitely the liveliest and the most convenient (as opposed to Lido let’s say). Whether you ride the Grand Canal via water taxi (very expensive and not exactly necessary), by vaporetto (best and cheapest), or gondola, the sights are something not to be missed. So unless you are in a hurry, catch the floating subway, vaporetto! We booked a walking tour and a Grand Canal boat ride tour. Check out this site .
We found our guide to be very informative and very well spoken. The tour itself was great and extremely informative. However, I will tell you that it rained (poured) the day of our tour, and we were not able to get a refund or reschedule. The owner was actually quite a jerk about it. In the end, we walked the tour under an umbrella, and on the boat-ride portion we had to sit inside the water taxi and continually wipe the windows down to see what we were passing while the guide was speaking.
Our hotel offered a free water taxi to the island of Murano, which we took. I found the glass there to be very expensive. I guess it also depends on what you are looking for and how much money you are willing to spend on it. To us, everything was too ornate. But we did get a few great tours, especially of the Gino Cenedese family's location. It is absolutely incredible to see; these artists are so talented. I cannot emphasize enough how great St. Mark's Square was at night. What an experience, and so romantic--just phenomenal. As opposed to other cities we have been to, we found here that it's better to just get out of your hotel and walk than plan ahead. Every night after dinner, we would walk to St. Mark's Square and listen to one of the bands. All you have to do is purchase one cocktail and pay the (for the life of me, I can't remember if it was $5 or $10 per person) cover charge, and you can sit there all night long. The bands are incredible, and it's so overwhelming when you realize where you are and what you are doing--and so casual at the same time. Very surreal.
The gelato... oh my gosh, the gelato!! I would have taken tubs home if that were possible. Everywhere you go there is another gelato stand. Sort of like knock-off pocketbooks and bootlegs CDs in Manhattan.
There is a ton of shopping. I mean a ton, and they have everything from Gucci to Murano glass. Being a U.S. citizen though, it really didn’t pay for us to do much shopping. With the Euro so much stronger than the dollar, it would just be cheaper for us to buy imported items at home, so we window-shopped. My husband loves that, but I hate it. Why look if I’m not going to buy, right?
Just walking along and getting lost in the streets is equally as interesting. Everything is in walking distance or a quick boat ride away. The cheapest way we found to get to and from the airport was via Alilaguna. Check out their site at Alilaguna.
This is definitely a place I would recommend and definitely a place for couples. It is arguably the world's most romantic city.