Venice is unlike any other city in Italy, or the world for that matter. From its never-ending canals, bridges, and narrow winding walkways, this city is beyond unique!
Upon arrival, you will find yourself transported to a completely different world compared to other European cities. No cars whizzing by, no scooters beeping at you to move!
You can walk along the canals admiring the main modes of transportation–walking and boating. At times, the streets can be so narrow that you’re required to walk in a single file direction. Small bridges stretch the span of the water allowing pedestrians to cross.
And the biggest canal of them all, The Grand Canal, runs in an S-shape throughout the city, nearly splitting it in two. This canal is considered Venice’s most important waterway.
What’s great about Venice? You don’t have to hurry or feel the need to run and see anything. The goal here is to take in the environment, experiencing something completely different from what any other city provides.
Each time you visit, you will have a different outlook. You’ll be amazed at how you always discover something new when you return.
What To Do When You Visit Venice
A trip to Venice includes two on-the-water must do’s. First, you’ll want to ride on the Vaporetto, Venice’s water bus service. Using the Vaporetto will keep you from having to walk across the island. Or you can use it to travel to another island, for example, Murano.
The Vaporetto operates like a bus service with regular stops. It regularly stops to pick up and drop off tourists and Venetians alike.
It’s an interesting sight watching people use the system to get to and from work. When we went with our kids, we used this option to get from our hotel to St. Mark’s Square. The kids love being on the water bus and it is always a highlight of our trips.
Secondly, most tourists will want to take a gondola ride. Along the canals you will see gondoliers standing by their gondolas waiting to take you on a relaxing ride.
Don’t worry if you’re traveling as a family! This activity is not just for a romantic couples. I’ve gone with my kids, parents, friends, and husband. You will enjoy the experience, no matter who you’re traveling with!
You don’t need to buy the gondola in advance as it’s done on a whim. All you have to do is pay the gondolier’s fee (80 euros during the day, 100 at night) and off you go! They will take you down the small canals and under stone bridges, while passing hotels and old buildings. Each ride lasts approximately 20 minutes.
Many of gondoliers will share the historical significance of the buildings you pass. Details include legends about the bridges as you travel underneath and exclusive tidbits about the city. It’s a charming ride that everyone will enjoy.
St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco)
Piazza San Marco is Venice’s largest and most important piazza. It is an absolute must when you visit Venice.
In the 12th century square, you will see beautiful galleries surrounding the the area. Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Bell Tower reside on one end. This is a place to stroll and take in the beauty of the architecture around you. Tour the interior of the Basilica to see impressive mosaic craftsmanship, shimmering with gold from all angles.
Afterwards, take the elevator to the top of the iconic Bell Tower (Campanile) to get beautiful 360-degree views of the city. This is probably the only tower in Italy that you don’t have to physically climb! The panoramic vistas are worth the (usually short) wait for the lift.
The Different Islands of Venice
Did you know that Venice is made up of over 100 islands? While there is no need to visit anywhere close to this amount a few are worth noting, namely Murano, Burano, and Torcello.
On one trip, we took the day to visit Murano. Its inhabitants are known for their exquisite blown Venetian glass and we wanted to learn more about it.
Stepping off the boat in Murano was a completely different experience from Venice. It was much quieter and more laid back. The island has beautiful glass shops and intimate sidewalk cafes.
Each shop after the next was filled with intricate, exquisite glass pieces that illuminated with the store. We had to learn how these pieces were made!
Luckily, we were able to step inside a factory for a tour and glass blowing demonstration. It is pretty impressive what the glass blowers are able to make.
Strolling and Shopping
One of the highlights of Venice is strolling the streets and checking out the different neighborhoods. Each one has its own special appeal.
We stop numerous times for gelato to carry with us. We are also always in and out of small shops. Some can be hard to get out of… there are so many cool things to buy! From Venetian masks to glass jewelry, you will have no trouble bringing back souvenirs for your friends and family back home.
Whether you spend time getting lost in the maze of narrow streets and bridges, shopping in the fabulous small stores, finding transportation on the numerous waterways, or a combination of all of the above, you will no doubt have a vacation that you will always remember!
For more of our travels, you might enjoy the following:
- 9 Things to Do In London (On Your First Visit)
- Disney Wish Review (Halloween on the High Seas Cruise)
- Is Adventures by Disney Worth It?
- 7 Tips for Traveling with Toddlers to Walt Disney World
Are your ready to visit Venice? Contact Cheryl today to help you plan an unforgettable Firefly Travels vacation.
Venice is a place unlike any other. It’s a fantastic city to visit with family, a couple, friends, or solo! And now you know what to do when you get there!