Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Take Me There: Venice

I've wanted to go to Venice, Italy, really badly ever since I read "The City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt (which is a fantastic book, bee tee dubs). And while I would actually like to stay there for longer than a normal vacation and experience the culture like the author did, I will take what I can get.

Ride in a gondola/traghetto/vaporetto.
I originally wanted to ride a gondola just like every other American tourist ever. But I started reading about the downsides of gondola rides (they're expensive! you don't cover a lot of ground! the canals are smelly!), and I've decided that as long as I get to travel by water, I don't necessarily mind if it's not in a gondola. Besides, we're not romantical-types anyway. We don't need our own personal Italian singer. Apparently traghettos and vaporettos are much more common for getting around.

See a performance at Teatro La Fenice.
"The City of Falling Angels" was set in 1996, and centered around when this opera house burned down for the second time. The book created in me this fascination with the building and its history. The famous, majestic opera house has since been re-built (again), and I think it would be so cool to experience an performance — be it an opera, a ballet, or a concert — there. (Though to be honest, I'd prefer to see an opera. In Italian.)

Eat at Antica Adelaide.
My family has always been big on trying local cuisines and restaurants, and even when we're home, we rarely eat at chains. So the same holds true for me when I go on vacation — I want to eat what the locals are eating, and experience how they do things. Antica Adelaide is an authentic Venetian restaurant that doesn't seem like they cater much to tourists: the restaurant is kind of tucked away off a canal, the meals are meant for two, they change the menu depending on the seasonal availability of ingredients (love that!) and are highly rated by locals. Of course there's fresh pasta on their menu, though I would be open to other foods and experiences!

Go on the Venice Ghost Walking Tour.
Sometimes I'm a fan of tours and sometimes I'm not. In the past, I've done tours that haven't been worth the time, and I've also done tours that totally made the trip. So if I'm going to go on a tour, I want it to be something that I wouldn't get a chance to experience if I simply read guidebooks or websites. I think this ghost-walking tour fits the bill — a chance to hear some local ghost stories, as well as a reason to get off the beaten path? Sign me up!

Order amaretto gelato at Gelateria Nico.
Because no trip to Italy would be complete without gelato! This place is supposedly the best in Venice. Amaretto gelato would be ideal, but really ... I just love ice cream, so any flavor is acceptable! They sell big sundaes as well as individual scoops, and based on the picture below, I'd probably stick to just a scoop, or else Matt would be rolling me out the door!

Have you been to Venice? What would you love to do if you went?


  1. Brian's been to Venice, I'm still waiting for him to take me there, it looks amazing :)

  2. I have been to Venice and I oved it! I didn't love all the tourists, but I did love our ride on the vaporetto. It was sporty and fast. I felt quite chic, even though there were quite a few people on it. I did the canal, too, but we were in a group and spilt the cost. My favorite cathedral is San Marco, but I don't think it would have been if we hadn't seen it at the perfect time of having all the lights begin turning on, which highlighted every section of the mosaics. I love mosaics! Our favorite part of the day was when we got lost in an uncrowded section of Venice and hardly heard anyone. We had such a good time there, even though we did some touristy things.

    1. I also want to see some of the cathedrals, but I was trying to limit myself to top 5. :) Otherwise I could have made this post days long! I love this comment though, you've made me even MORE excited about wanting to go!

  3. Okay, I'm going to be 100% honest - I backpacked all around Italy, and Venice was my least favorite place. It was packed with tourists (really it was hard to find an Italian!) and on every corner, someone was peddling souvenirs or trying to persuade you to take an expensive gondola ride. It was also pretty dirty. I do find the canals super romantic - but you can actually have a similar canal experience in Brugges, Belgium - or in many small cities in Holland, without the swarms of tourists and with much much cleaner streets :) If you guys ever make it to Italy let me know, I can give you the 411 on all sorts of Italian places. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Italian architecture, cathedrals, art museums, food, etc. - but I think you'll find the real deal in other places off the beaten path. But you know, everyone has a different experience - some people love Venice even more than Rome, Florence, and other Italian cities. BUt there are some really really amazing small cities like Siena, Bologna, Modena, and Parma, that everyone seems to miss - just my two cents!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Liz! I'll have to look up some of those other cities. I'd definitely love to be able to explore more than just the one city!