Venice in 24 Hours
Venice, or Venezia,
is a city of imagination and dreams. Laced across 117 mini-islands, the paradise that is Venezia is one not to be missed. Literally. Seeing Venice for the first time is a moment pure magic. When I stepped off the water bus in The Grand Canal of San Marco, my jaw dropped. It was everything I imagined it would be, multiplied by 50 and covered in fairy dust. Now, my short time in Venice was not as glamorous as a Vogue Italia cover shoot. It was wet, I was sloppy, I got lost, and I cannot think of my time there without the goofiest smile on my face. And the fact of the matter is, Venice is wet, Venice can be sloppy, and you should ABSOLUTELY get lost in this city. Contrary to popular belief, it is possibly to see Venice in 24 hours. Will you want to stay forever? Yes you will. And, trust me, a piece of your soul will live out an eternity in Venezia. But, here's a guide to make the most of this incredible city in a short amount of time.
HIGH TIDE. The natural phenomenon known as "Acqua Alta" will be so much higher (and exquisitely prettier) than you think it will be. If you plan on visiting Venice from September through December, come prepared! If you don't have room for rain boots in your luggage, fear not. You can buy "temporary rubber boots" from street vendors that go over your shoes and up to your knees, so you can pull a Gene Kelly and dance through Piazza San Marco. Be prepared for large crowds. Everyone in the world wants to see Venice as much as you do. Put down the GPS. You WANT to get lost. Google: Origins of Venice, Doge of Venice, Bridge of Sighs, and Carnevale di Venezia. Eat Seafood, you're in a city that is floating on a lagoon.
8:00 am: Cappuccino
You're in Italy, the land where carbs and calories are the stuff of myths. It's time to grab a pastry and cappuccino.
8:30 am: Tour Doge's Palace
Doge's Palace is not just a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, but also shrine to both Renaissance and Mannerist art. The Palace housed both the Venetian Republic, as well as the personal residence of the Doge. The facade is unmistakable from the Grand Canal with its patterned pink Verona marble, Gothic windows and columns, and the famous Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs). Make sure to walk the facade and take it in as one large piece of art. From inside, you'll stand in awe of artistic masterpieces by Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Pisanello, Bellini, Carpaccio and Tiepolo. You will tour the armory, filled with the most gruesome of Medieval torture devices. And, last but not least, you will be able to cross the Bridge of Signs like an ancient prisoner walking to your fate. (TIP: If you are not an early riser and depending on the season of your visit, you might be able to choose the Museum by Moonlight option that allows you to visit the palace as late as 10 pm)
11:30 am: Tour Basilica San Marco
The shortest tour on your visit to Venice will be the interior of St. Mark's Basilica (the line outside will probably take more time). But, once inside the gold mosaics that adorn the entire basilica will make it all worth your while. (TIP: dress appropriately, use your inside voices, and do NOT take photos or videos) Make sure to stroll St. Mark's Square after your visit for some lovely sights and great photo ops!
12:30 pm: Cicchetti (& Gelato)
Now is the perfect time to try authentic Venetian Cicchetti. Similar to the Spanish version of tapas, cicchetti include tiny sandwiches, plates of olives, small servings of a combination of seafood, meat and veggies atop of a slice of bread, or very small servings of typical full-course plates. After your chow down session, grab a gelato because you're in Italy, duh. Cicchetti Recommendation Close to St. Mark's: Osteria Da Carla
2:30 pm: Gondola Ride
The time is finally here. I know this is what you came for. It's time for that big check you've been wanted to put next to a very important item on your Bucket List. Bloggers will try to advise you against going on a gondola ride. Well, I say, screw those bloggers. It is touristy and absolutely PERFECT. The ride is short, the price is steep, and it is worth every second and Euro. Just west of St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, is the Trinita Water Taxi Pier if you would like to gondola down the Grand Canal for some of the more popular tourist views like the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. For a quieter, more romantic ride down the small canals make your way further from both the Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco to a smaller, more inland pier. ENJOY. EVERY. SECOND. (TIP: Nothing says romance like champagne on your gondola)
4:00 pm: Get Lost
Venice is stunning gorgeous. You have only been to Venice if you've wandered the alleyways and just enjoyed the general splendor of the magnificent city. Stop at local shops and eateries to fully submerge yourself in the submerged city of Venezia.
My Top Suggestions for the Rest of the Day:
For Lovers of Literature: Acqua Alta Library
For Lovers of Art: Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Gallerie dell'Accademia, Scuola Grande di San Rocco
For Lovers of Shopping: Ponte di Rialto
For Lovers of Top Views: Climb the San Marco Campanile
For Lovers of the Ornate: Take a Glassblowing Tour
For Lovers of the Theater: Teatro La Fenice
All photos are owned by Lauren Schnell.