Since returning from Italy I’ve had so little time on my hands that I have almost a million places I’ve visited with no blog posts about them. As I have a gap in my schedule after finishing my first module for my final year I’ve decided to catch up with myself and reminisce on all the amazing times I’ve had over the last year.
I went to Venice for the first time a few days after my Birthday, so back at the end of April/ beginning of May. It was about a 3 hour train journey from Milan to Venice (including delays, it’s Italy after all!) I went with my Mum, as she’d been before it was great to have a tour guide who knew exactly what everything was called and (nearly) knew the way everywhere we wanted to go!
We decided to get a day ticket on the water bus as although it was pretty expensive my mum said that there’s no better way to see Venice than from the water. We started our journey at the train station and caught the bus all the way down the Grand Canal. It really was the best way to possibly see it, and although the bus was pretty busy and pretty expensive it was definitely worth it.
I went to Venice again a couple of weeks later as I felt I couldn’t really do it all in a day, and that way I didn’t feel pressured to cram everything in to one rainy day.
Below you can see my top 5 things to see and do in Venice!
Saint Mark’s Square is the heart of Venice. This is where the boat from the train station first dropped us. It’s absolutely packed with tourists gawping at the beautiful, ancient architecture.
The square itself is the centre of the maze which is Venice. There are what seems to be hundreds of narrow passageways leading towards the square each scattered with unique shops and restaurants. The square is home to the bell tower, cathedral and a host of posh eateries and champagne bars that my purse would never even dream of letting me visit.
Every hour the square fills with people as they wait for the clock tower to chime and the bronze figures on the terrace to strike the bell.
The Rialto Bridge is probably the busiest bridge I think I’ve ever been on. It’s a stone bridge with two rows of built in shops that apparently were once market stalls connecting the two districts of San Marco and San Polo. The bridge itself has stood in place for nearly 500 years so it’s obvious why it’s such a landmark!
The Rialto is made from marble that has worn so beautifully it really is something that has to be appreciated up close.
Going to the top of the bell tower was something I didn’t manage to do on my first trip to Venice, but it really was worth the wait! You get the most spectacular views of the city and really get to marvel at its size. From above, it seems as if Venice is on land and it’s easy to forget that between every couple of buildings there is flowing water.
The bell tower itself stands at 98 metres tall and is over 1000 years old, when you think about that and think that thousands of tourists trek to the top of the tower every year, it makes it even more amazing that the tower still even exists.
The Grand Canal is something that doesn’t really need too much of an explanation. This is one of the things that you don’t need to make too much of an effort to see in Venice. It’s basically the ‘highstreet’ of Venice and is the most important route in the city for getting around, that is unless you want to walk! It’s easy to forget that there are actually no roads in Venice and if you want to get somewhere you either have to walk, or take a boat.
The river’s road system is non existent and there are boats speeding in every direction. It’s mesmerizing to watch especially if you can drown out the sound of chaos with the peaceful lapping of water.
The Cathedral in Venice is something that really shouldn’t be missed. It would be easy to spend hours on end exploring the inside and admiring the extensive work that’s been put in to both its interior and exterior.
It again is hard to believe just how old this building is as construction is said to have started nearly 1000 years ago.
There’s lots to see inside the cathedral and lots of extras that you can pay for, which I’d definitely advise you do! My favourite part of the cathedral was the outside terrace over looking St Mark’s Square, as although you can see this from the top of the bell tower it really doesn’t get boring!
Venice really is now one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited and nothing that I can say would do it justice. If you’ve not been before it’s one of those places that you have to see to believe as you just can’t even begin to understand how easy and how exciting it is to get lost in the maze of seemingly floating buildings and bridges.
It’s a place you’d only imagine in a fairy tale, just with lots of other people there – A place to visit before you die.