How I wish we stayed a little longer to take in the splendor of Venice! Two days were just not enough. This historical city built on 118 small islands seems to float on the waters of the lagoon. It is decaying but its charm remains intact. Again, as with other cities in Italy it was very very crowded in July. The main attractions were packed. Not that it took away too much from the experience for me!
One morning I was so excited I could not sleep. It was 5am, and the husband was fast asleep like most normal people. I took my map and camera and headed out by myself. Venice looked most gorgeous in those couple of hours. There was hardly anyone outside and the sun was just rising. I walked to Rialto bridge and to St Marks square. I took the ferry back to the hotel. I am known to have bad direction sense and the husband was surprised that I made it back in time to catch our train to Rome:)
We stayed at San Polo. It it just a 10 minute walk from the very touristy San Marco area. It was much quieter and we liked that. I suggest getting the Vaporetto ( water taxi) pass. They sell it for a few hours or days as well. It lets you hop on and off, and you will need it as there is no other means of transportation in Venice. We stayed at Palazzetto Madonna. It is a boutique hotel that just opened a couple of months ago. We were a little apprehensive about booking a place that had less than 10 reviews on TripAdvisor. However, all reviewers raved about the hotel and the pictures on the website were incredible. We just loved the place when we got there. It had all the modern amenities with the tradition touch of a Venetian palace. The hotel staff was incredibly helpful and had great recommendations that helped plan out our day.
We went to Murano one afternoon. The hotel manager called a glass factory that sent a boat to the hotel to pick us up. The glass factories do not let people walk in, so if interested ask your hotel to call them and make a reservation. It was really nice to see how they make the beautiful Murano glass decorations. We got tons of souvenirs from here. It was really nice to walk around Murano as it was less crowded than Venice. We went to a church on the island.
From Murano we headed to a nearby island of Burano. This island is famous for its lacework and brightly colored homes. Our hotel manager suggested that we have lunch in Burano as it has some amazing seafood restaurants. We had lunch at Al Vecio Pipa and it is the best meal we had around Venice. The fish was really fresh and I finished my risotto in 10 minutes flat!
Venice looks beautiful just before sunset and we walked around a bit. St Marks square was completely lit at night. We had dinner at Ristorante Carpaccio with some friends who happened to be vising Venice at the same time. The food was nice but we did not like the service too much. It was almost closing time and we felt a little rushed. All other restaurants we went to in Italy had impeccable service.
Another restaurant that deserves a mention is Osteria Del Cason just next to our hotel. The appetizers - Caprese salad and Eggplant Parmesan were delicious. We both had spaghetti pasta - I had it with seafood and pesto and the husband had it with marinara sauce. It was great!