** I am finishing this post amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic. As I look back on this part of our vacation, I can only hope that this bizzare time in history will come to a quick end, travel will be a possibility again, and these pictures of Italy we took in 2019 won’t be the last we ever take of this amazing country. At least the waters in the canal are running clear again….
After we departed the Tremiti Islands with my sister’s family and my parents, we all caught an intercity train together from Termoli to Bologna. The girls and their cousins fought over seats and snacks, and the adults worked up a good sweat in a rather hot train car until a very kind train official moved us to a cooler car in another carriage. We said goodbye to each other in Bologna, and my family of 4 then caught a regional train from Bologna to Venice. It was a looooong travel day, but once we stepped out of the train station and watched the girls catch their first glimpse of the canals of Venezia, we forgot all about it.
By the time we checked into our AirBnb, it was late and everyone was hungry. We let the girls pick out a restaurant, and even though they chose a rather touristy spot at the end of our street along a big canal, it turned out great.
Whenever it makes logistical sense, I like to stay in AirBnb apartments when travelling abroad. I’m very particular when choosing them, and so far, we’ve lucked out with excellent spots and friendly hosts. I always look for a place with wifi, air conditioning, a washing machine, very few knick knacks, walkable to restaurants and with a good looking couch. That last criteria may seem odd, but if the couch is old, ugly and worn, then odds are the rest of the apartment is too.
This AirBnb in Venice was located in the Cannaregio neighborhood – within walking distance of the train station, and we loved it.
We only had one full day to spend in Venice, so we started off early pounding the pavement – I mean the cobblestones and bridges. We wanted the girls to see the highlights and take a gondola ride OF COURSE, but we also wanted them to see the uniqueness of this special place.
As soon as we left the apartment, the girls started talking about when we would ride a gondola. Thankfully, we found an official stop nearby in our neighborhood and climbed aboard. The city of Venice sets a standard rate for Gondola rides hailed at official stops throughout the city at 80 euro for 40 min. It was worth every euro cent.
With the gondola ride complete, we continued on to Claire’s most anticipated sight, Acqua Alta Book Shop, catching a quick shot of the Rialto Bridge along the way. The Rialto is always very crowded, and since we didn’t want to end up the other side of the Grand Canal at that point in the day, we chose not to cross over and just admire it from the side.
See that pink bunny in the picture above? Molly spotted these furry backpacks the moment we left the train station the night before. They were sold in all the shops in every imaginable color, and she just HAD to have one as her special Venice souvenir. We purchased it early in the day, and she wore it alllll around Venice. It appears in multiple pictures, and it brought her immense joy that day.
Pink bunny wasn’t touched again for the remainder of our vacation and now hangs on the end of her bed, sad and forgotten.
We really wanted to find a cool place to have cicheti for lunch. Cicheti are the signature small plates, snacks and side dishes sold in Venetian wine bars. I had a bunch of potential spots marked on a map, but we passed them too early before lunch. Thankfully, we found Enoteca Al Volto near the Rialto Bridge, and although I usually try to stay away from restaurants near major attractions, this tiny wine bar was perfect.
After we filled our bellies and quenched our thirst, we made our way to Piazza San Marco. The girls were impressed and recognized the church and clock tower from one of their favorite books, Olivia Goes to Venice.
Refreshed with gelato, we walked all the way home. Midway, we came upon a church with an extensive, hands-on Leondard da Vinci exhibit where we spent some time learning and stepping out of the hot sun for a bit. I should also mention that we endured an extended detour looking for a friend for pink bunny for Claire in the form of a smaller blue bunny on a keychain, but not just any blue, the perfect shade of blue.
During the planning of our trip, the girls had requested that we eat dinner along a canal. Trattoria al Ponte del Megio had a canal AND a bridge, and we were literally about to fall into the canal we were so close. I chose the restaurant for its location, but bonus, the food was also delicious. On our meandering walk home, we saw a huge line coming out of the Magnum Ice Cream Store. As it turns out, you can design your own Magnum Ice Cream Bar. Can you guess whose is whose?
To me, Venice is always worth a visit, even amidst throngs of tourists in 90 degree temps. Despite having visited many times, there’s still so much of the city that I have yet to explore. And while I would have stayed a few more days, we had a rental car to pick up the next day at the airport for the next stop of our trip – Ljubljana, Slovenia.
What We Say About Venice
In Venice, it’s ok to get lost because there is adventure in finding your way againMom
I loved Venice. It was very funBig Sis C
The gondolas are coolLil Sis M
Venice is one of the most unique cities in EuropeDad