Following a wonderful 4 days in Paris, we made the easy journey by plane from France to Italy where we enjoyed a memorable 3 days in Venice. The (ATVO) bus ride to Piazzale Roma on the island of Venice from Marco Polo airport was only about 20 minutes, so shortly after our arrival, we we ready to explore one of Italy’s most romantic cities!
During our 3 days in Venice, we stayed at Hotel Arlecchino. It was literally a two minute walk from Piazzale Roma, which was super convenient because of our heavy suitcases. We only had to cross one little bridge to get to the hotel.
Room #809 was HUGE in comparison to many hotel rooms we’ve encountered in much of Europe. There was also a sofa in the room and a decent sized bathroom.
We paid a little extra to stay in a room overlooking the canal. Near the hotel was a café called Grecia & Oriente. It was also along a canal, providing us with a great breeze, which was nice, as Venice is marshy and can be a little humid and hot in the summer months.
Things To Do When You Have 3 Days In Venice
Getting lost in Venice is not very hard to do; it’s like a giant maze. We had no idea where we were headed or even what we were looking for. We passed tons of cafés, gelato shops, tacky souvenir kiosks and shops.
We started along the Grand Canal and ended up walking down side alleys and other small canals. We passed through a few plazas and stopped to watch the gondolas go by through the back canals. The heat was intense.
Can you believe that the first time we tried gelato (ever) was in Venice?! It was beyond yummy! Sam ordered a combo of creamy caramel, strawberry and chocolate mint. I ordered creamy caramel. Before we were even done with our cones, we were already thinking about when we could get some more gelato!
We started off in search of adventure again, passing more glass, shoe, and leather stores. We somehow managed to find the Rialto Bridge.
We kept walking and eventually saw some dome roof tops in the distance. We assumed we were headed toward St. Mark’s Square, but as we got closer we saw it was just another church and it turns out we were on the complete opposite side of the canal of where St. Mark’s actually is. Oops!
We didn’t want to get too far from our hotel, so we decided to start walking back. We were now on the hunt for a specific church – Campo Saint Barnaba, where in Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade, Indy popped up from underground and said, “Ah, Venice”.
After finding our destination, we made our way back toward our hotel and ate dinner at a restaurant right under our hotel. We were craving pizza, a must do while in Italy, right?!
In Italy, each person gets their own pizza (which Sam is usually more happy about than in the photo above…it had already been a long and super hot day!). Fortunately they were thin crust. After letting our food settle, we went out for a second helping of gelato!
Day two in Venice was really our only full day, so we woke up a little early to get in a nice full day (and, of course, leave in time to come back to the hotel midday to rest and escape the heat).
First stop was the Piazzale Roma water taxi stop. We purchased a 12-hour travel card for €18/per person because just one trip costs €7 (for one way!).
Our first destination on the vaporetti was Murano, the nearby island known for glass blown products.
Murano is only about a 10 to 15 minute ride from the mainland. Note: There are two stops on Murano. The second takes you straight to the glassblowing museum. We got off at the first stop and enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the waterways, looking into the stores filled with intricate glass designs, jewelry, trinkets and some elaborate glass chandeliers.
We found our way to the glassblowing museum, which was included in the Venice Museum Pass we purchased for €18 prior to our trip. The museum was neat, but only had displays of early Murano glass products. We were hoping for a little glassblowing demonstration, but the displays were still fascinating.
We enjoyed the 20 minute vaporetti ride back to the island of Venice to the St. Mark’s stop. This was a whole new world compared to the opposite side of the island where we were staying. There were so many people!
Everyone was crowded on a bridge that crossed over a canal on the way to Doge’s Palace. Turns out this is where you can see gondolas pass under the famous ‘Bridge of Sighs’ (Ponte dei Sospiri). We quickly had our picture taken and moved on.
There weren’t as many pigeons as we thought there would be in the square, based on the travel shows we had watched prior to our trip, but it was just as well; I’m not a big fan of birds.
We left the square and decided we’d come back later when hopefully it would be a little less crowded. We wandered through town looking for Murano glass souvenirs, but they were few and far between, not what we wanted, and were actually more expensive than on Murano itself. (We were advised NOT to buy anything on the island of Murano, as items would be much cheaper in Venice… bad advice!)
After shopping, we hopped on a water taxi back toward St. Mark’s and unfortunately arrived to Doge’s Palace two minutes after they let the last people in. (They stop admitting people an hour before they actually close.)
Instead we walked around the square and found three-museums-in-one that were included in our museum pass and that were actually open. We strolled through the Correr Museum, the National Archaeological Museum and the Grand Chambers of the Marciana National Library and gazed upon statues, artifacts and old books.
We were planning to go on a gondola ride on our last day, but we decided we’d rather save our money for a souvenir we could take home with us. The experience seemed overrated and overpriced, so we decided to skip it. We took plenty of pictures of gondoliers and lived vicariously through the hundreds of others who packed the small boats and cruised the busy canals.
Day Three: Don’t Wanna Leave!
On our last day in Venice, we decided to go out for a nice dinner. We saw a few places earlier, by the Rialto Bridge, that we wanted to check out, but we didn’t make it past the first restaurant we came to! Those Italians can be pushy and persuasive!
However, the menu looked good and they had a table right along the Grand Canal, so we figured we’d give it a try! We wanted to try Spritz(er), the local drink – white wine with a splash of liquor (bitter Aperol or Select) and a shot of mineral water. It was much too bitter, but we drank it anyway.
I had the mushroom ravioli and Sam ordered lasagna. Although my ravioli was a little undercooked, both meals were relatively good. The restaurant was called Riva Del Vin and it made for a lovely last meal in the city of romance!
Following our lovely 3 days in Venice, it was time to hop aboard the Norwegian Spirit for a Mediterranean cruise. You can also check out the other Mediterranean cruise ports we visited on our 12 day adventure!
Want to experience Venice like a local?
Consider staying with or dining with locals for a truly memorable experience!
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