This post was most recently updated on February 24th, 2020
A day in Venice is magical! I’d always wanted to go to Venice. Ever since I was young, I had dreamt of wandering through a city with streets of water and sleek gondolas for transportation. A centuries-old city founded on the sheer grit of its inhabitants. The more I learned about Venice, the more I wanted to see it for myself.
A Day in Venice Finally Comes
My opportunity came in 2014 when my daughter and son-in-law invited my husband and I to accompany them on a two-week tour of northern Italy. We would have a day in Venice! Part of the adventure was trying to cut costs where we could. When we learned my husband had hotel points we could use in Padova (Padua), Italy, just outside of Venice, we opted to stay there and “commute” to Venice. Looking back, I wish we’d used those points somewhere else and actually spent the night in Venice. I would have loved to see the city lit up at night. However, the bus stop was just across the street from our hotel, and it was very convenient to use the bus (and only 5 euros).
Getting Lost in Venice
We left our hotel (AC Padova) early, caught the bus, and arrived in Venice before 8:30 am. We stopped quickly at a bakery to eat breakfast and use their free wifi, then rushed off to begin exploring Venice. The advice we’d been given: “Get lost!”. So that’s exactly what we aimed to do.
The only thing on our agenda with a set time was visiting St. Mark’s Basilica with special skip-the-line tickets we had purchased online for only 2 euros — worth their weight in gold! (The free line to enter the basilica can be a thousand people long.) You can buy the tickets here.
Otherwise, we had until 8:00 pm (the last return bus to Padova) to wander around Venice. The skies were overcast when we arrived, and we did have several periods of drizzling and even pouring rain. But we made the best of it, and only gave up when our feet had had enough!
As we headed out, we noticed many themes in Venice. Masks and lace, alleys and bridges, beautiful ironwork and balconies, unique mailboxes and doorbells, glass and leather, tourists vs locals, and lots of little surprises to delight the eye. I’d love to share them with you!
(click on any photo to see full-size)
1. Shopping in Venice
2. Venice Locals
3. The Tourists
4. Beautiful Details
5. Alleys and Bridges
6. My Favorites During a Day in Venice
I loved my day in Venice! It was so magical. If I had to choose my favorite day in Italy, I think it was this one. But then, I probably said that about Cinque Terre and Lake Como too! Our lunch was delicious margherita pizzas, sitting at a tiny counter out of the rain. We shopped for lace bookmarks, leather handbags, and fringed scarves, sampled tomatoes and fruit from the farmers’ market, enjoyed gelato, and took tons of photos (can’t you tell?). Our tour of the gorgeous St. Mark’s Basilica was amazing, even though we had to walk raised wooden walkways to avoid the flooding water. (A lot of buildings in Venice are slowly sinking). We were so sad we couldn’t take photos inside! But I did find this photo on Wikipedia, taken by Ricardo André Frantz:
We walked down alleys only 3 feet wide and ducked under arches too short for my 6’4″ tall husband. There was always a canal or bridge within sight! At one point we came to a building with three windows on an upper floor, each with a songbird in a cage. My son-in-law began whistling, and the birds mimicked his tune!
We opted not to ride in a gondola (mostly because of the rain), but we did ride on the vaporetto after our feet wore out. We headed back to Padova to search out a restaurant where we could sit and rest for the evening.
My day in Venice was absolutely wonderful! If you’ve been to Venice, what did you like best? And if you haven’t been, what do you dream about doing?
Want to read about all of our adventures in Italy?
Only Three Days in Rome? Look at all You Can Do!
Cinque Terre – the Italian Riviera
I LOVED exploring Venice! I think the best part about the whole day was that we basically had no set plans and thus were able to just get lost in the culture of the city. I remember when we found a local elderly man and Matthew talked to him about how it is living in Venice–the man asked Matthew where in Italy he was from! (I guess Matthew sounds like a native! ) 🙂 that was a fun memory.
Venice was great indeed! At the end of the day I reviewed our wanderings to find that we confirmed studies that show it is common to go in circles in cloudy or otherwise darker conditions. Our ‘circle’ was oddly shaped with all the criss-crossing waterways 🙂
Haha! I guess we didn’t get as lost as I thought!
So nice! Really nice write-up too..Omgosh that FOOD! We are very Caribbean/North American type of travelers…But this was pretty inspirational to maybe give a little more thought into the European culture. It sounds and looks like you had a wonderful time 🙂
Thank you! Yes, the food was amazing. And I’m not too much into exotic foods or flavors.
We spent four glorious days in Venice a few years ago. My favorite part was wandering through the tiny back alleys and canals. Your photos take me back and leave me sighing. Ahhhh Venice!
Four days? Ah, that would be wonderful!
Venice really is magical and you’ve captured it so well. Looks like you really did “get lost” which is really the only way to see Venice
What a fantastic trip, especially when you can share it with your family. I need to go back to Venice. I don’t think I experienced it the way you did. I think it was too hot outside to love it.
I would love to travel here. It always looks so gorgeous and I know my hubby and I would have so much fun together.
Start saving now and make it a goal; you WOULD really enjoy it, and it would give you memories to last a lifetime!
Gorgeous photographs, I love the tiled mosaics you’ve displayed them in too. Venice is wonderful, the only downside is that so many other people think so too and the crowds really can gather!
Thanks! We were lucky enough to avoid most of the crowds in April.
This is so gorgeous, thank you for sharing your trip with us.
Beautiful photos! I visited Venice on my honeymoon and thought it was magical. Getting lost is such a great piece of advice – we did just that and found so many picturesque little canals and bridges away from the hundreds of tourists around St. Mark’s Square.
You’ve done a good work!
Sometimes a day is enough.. Venice isn’t that big 🙂
It’s a pity you didn’t see Venice by night but that’s a good reason to turn back to Italy sometime 🙂
Ooh just looking at the pasta is making me hungry! It looks like you had a wonderful day even if you didn’t get to see it lit up at night. Would you go back again?
Pingback: Cinque Terre - the Italian Riviera - Postcards & Passports
Pingback: Only three days in Rome? Look at all you can do! - Postcards & Passports
Pingback: Sweet Side Trip to Sirmione - Postcards & Passports
It is on my list “to make it” to for sure! I need a month just to do Italy.
Yes, there’s so much to do in Italy, a month would be very nice!