1000Fights had a fight about Venice (big surprise). The fight wasn’t while we were there, but if we should go there. Mike said, yes. Luci said, no. Mike won. Luci is glad he did. Venice is one of those locations you can’t miss. It’s on the bucket list. It’s like the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. Once a world super power, now one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, Venice is a perfect place for couples to get lost in its history, ambiance, food, and extravagance. To ensure your trip is fight free and memorable, follow the following 10 tips.
1. Accept Venice for what it is. Venice is trapped in the past. There is no industry there. Some of Europe’s great cities couple history and the present for a modern-day experience. Venice does not. Venice is historical Disneyland. More than 20 million people visit Venice; only 250,000 people actually live there. It’s a tourist trap. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t splendid and worth the visit. Just know when you go that 90 percent of the people you see are just like you, tourists.
2. Stay away from the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal is well, Grand. You’ll see a parade of historical sites, but it’s not the best location to stay. It’s crowded and overpriced. We suggest staying on Isola Della Guidecca. It’s Venice’s southern district and home to several independent B&B’s and the massive Hilton Molino Stucky. By staying on Isola Della Guidecca, you’ll get away from the majority of tourists and wake up overlooking Venice. It’s easy to get there. Take the vaporetto (water bus).
3. Get lost and buy a pop-up map. Remember, Venice is an island. You can walk and walk and you won’t fall off the edge of the earth. Take it in and just walk around. By walking around, we found places we didn’t read about in any travel book or website. See #10. From personal experience, it was hard to find our bearings in Venice. Take our advice, find a good map. It was a life saver. You might be tempted to use your smart phone. Buy the map before you go. On Amazon, it’s only $6.95 and the size of a 3 X 5 card. It also has the vaporetto route. By buying the map, you don’t have to worry about finding Wi-Fi on your phone. Just stuff the map in your back pocket. No fuss and no fight!
4. Kiss at St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco.) Supposedly Napoleon called it the “drawing room of Europe.” The piazza hosts St. Marks Bacillia, the famous Clock Tower, and pigeons of course. But that’s not all; you’ll hear live music in the form of string quartets and grand pianos, and opera singers, serenading the guests of the restaurants that line the square. This is when you know Venice is for lovers!
5. Watch your pocketbook at Murano. It’s easy to go trinket and souvenir shopping in Venice. Glass! Jewelry! Masks! Gondolier shirts! Handbags! There is no shortage of stores wanting your money and that’s appropriate considering Venice’s merchant history. But mind your pennies. One of the easiest ways for your romantic time to crash and burn is fighting over souvenirs. We know; we’ve fought over them a lot. So, decide before you ever set first on the island, develop a budget. Decide how much each of you gets to spend on souvenirs. 1000Fights spent the day in Murano to spend our cash. Murano is a short boat ride away from Venice and it’s where the majority of the glass is made. Buy your glass directly from the factory to avoid buying overpriced Chinese glass. While we are on the topic to price…don’t overpay for a trip to Venice.
6. Swoon over hot gondoliers, but don’t waste your money by riding in a gondola. 1000Fights has an eye for beauty and that includes in the form of hot gondoliers. They are everywhere in Venice. You’d think riding in a gondola would be the ultimate romantic experience. It’s really not. It’s crowded on the canals and riding in a gondola is expensive. Expect to pay at least 75 Euros for a gondola ride. For a better romantic experience, spend your money on going to the opera at the Fenice or a candle light dinner.
7. Be prepared to be seasick. The streets are flooded in Venice. LOL. Seriously, there is only one way to get around the city: by boat. There is a comprehensive waterbus system called vaporetto. But the bus stops float. And rock. And sway. If you get seasick, like the female half of 1000Fights, know that you could get sick riding the vaporetto as well as waiting for them. Take precautions and have sympathy for your queasy stomached spouse. Nothing says I love you more than puking on vacation.
8. Read the book, and then Visit the Fenice. 1000Fights picked up the book, “The City of Falling Angels” by John Berendt on clearance long before they decided to go to Venice. The book details the devastating fire of Venice’s opera house, the Fenice, and its subsequent rebirth. You’ll get a taste of the people of Venice and its historic landmark. The book is fascinating and it makes a visit to the beautiful Fenice even more meaningful.
9. Eat bruschetta and drink wine. The food in Venice is fantastic, if you avoid the typical tourist restaurants. We found a restaurant in Venice on Isola Della Guidecca that we went to twice it was that good! Trattoria al Cacciatori overlooks the canal and the service is terrific. The bruschetta was the best we’d ever eaten. We’d go back to Venice just for the bruschetta. No trip to Italy would be complete without Italian wine. Drink up.
10. Find This Church. When 1000Fights was getting lost, we stumbled upon a church we never read about in any travel book. The Santa Maria Assunta Church or known as Gesuiti I is almost 300 years old. Its outside is ostentatious baroque with statutes, columns, and a gigantic door that would fit the Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. The inside is washed in black and white inlaid marble that is breathtaking. Even the balcony’s draperies are actually marble cut to look like curtains. Do not miss this historic and over the top ornate church.
Venice is the perfect place for a honeymoon or for pretending that you are on one! Take in all the food, the sights, and of course the wonderful experience that is Venice.
We accidentally found the Basilica Santa Maria Assunta too. It has some of the best baroque design in the city & is well worth a visit alone (and great for sheltering from the heat too).
We’ll happily admit that we got lost on the first day too so getting a map wouldn’t be the worst idea for those yet to make the trip.
Also, you can skip across grand canal for less than a €1 if you know how ;)
Great post! Venice is amazing. Looking forward to returning with the other half….We’ve actually both been there, just not together, and it’s been more than a decade for both of us. For me it was just a day so really want to return and soak up the ambiance properly. We might be going this summer so we’ll take some of your tips if we do!
Great tips! I was lucky enough to visit Venice recently and be hosted by my friend, who is Venetian and so I got to see the city through the eyes of a local. You’re so right about Venice being ‘trapped in the past’, but as you rightly mentioned.. it’s still worth the visit. It’s such a beautiful place! I loved it <3
So true. We wish we could have had more time there to really capture the heart of the city.
Isn’t the Basilica wonderful?
Oh I’m swooning over this post. Would love to visit Venice to eat bruschetta and drink red wine. Gutted to hear you weren’t a fan of the gondola ride it’s got to be the most recognisable part of the city. However I suppose most ‘tourist’ activities are over crowded.