Venice: Real World Disney Land
The first birthdays my husband and I celebrated together we agreed that instead of buying presents for one another we would gift each other trips! It is one of my favorite traditions!! It is not just a present I love receiving, but also one I spend almost the whole year excited to plan for Lorenzo.
For my last birthday, Lorenzo surprised me with a trip to Venice. Although, it is almost three years that I have been in Italy, for some reason I had still not made it to this historic and very popular city. So, despite his hesitation to go to Venice, Lorenzo booked two train tickets and an airbnb located right next to Rialto!
My birthday falls in October and therefore we were both busy with work and our trip was just a 24 hour weekend get-away. It proved to be enough time to see many sites and not get too overwhelmed by all of the tourists we had joined.
When I had mentioned wanting to go to Venice other times, Lorenzo had tried to talk me out of it, complaining that there are far too many tourists and that it is an expensive city in respect to the rest of Italy. Of course, as an American, I had an amazing dream of how romantic this city would be to visit together. I had imagined wandering hand-in-hand through the colorful streets filled with accordion music and taking rides in the gondolas (we ended up not doing this because it was quite chilly on the water and extremely expensive). Unfortunately, I have to say, Lorenzo was right about Venice. Although it is an unbelievably beautiful city with a rich history, I had not taken into account that my romantic strolls would have a rather foul odor, or how touristic Venice has become. It reminded me of Disney World’s Epcot theme park more than of an Italian city.
Stepping out of the main station we walked into a huge crowd, there were people from all over the world bustling around, snapping photos every two seconds, and holding up maps and guide books. Apparently, October is one of the least busy months for Venice, so I can only dare to imagine what it would be like during the peak of tourist season.
- Once we had arrived, and made it past the crowds near the station, we wandered for about 30 minutes through the twisting streets and over the charming bridges, until we eventually reached Rialto, where we met the owner of our airbnb, and saw our lovely apartment with such a great central location. To check out where we stayed click here! Rialto was a bit like Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, due to the fact that there were so many people it was difficult to make it across the bridge. We ducked down less populated roads and walked along the canals until dinner time when we stopped at an outdoor restaurant, and ordered a couple Spritz and sat and relaxed, and enjoyed being in one of art history’s most beloved cities.
Venice itself is breathtaking. The architecture is so intriguing and beautiful, and then when I begin to think of the era that the many iconic buildings and churches were built (i.e. Saint Mark’s Basilica dating back to 925 AD), it truly blows my mind.
Sunday morning we decided to wake up early, partially because we hadn’t been sleeping well due to all the noise that night. Being so close to a tourist attraction can have its downside; at 4:00 am there were some very loud Americans on the bridge, although I did point out to Lorenzo that Italians had been yelling along the streets early as he often claims Americans are so loud. Overall it was not the most relaxing night of sleep. Around 7:00am we got up and walked to see Piazza San Marco and Saint Mark’s Basilica. This was one of my favorite things we did. It had been rainy all night but by the time we went out it had stopped. Most of the city was still asleep, and although, there were a few tourists setting up elaborate photo shoots, we were free to walk through the streets without bumping into any large crowds.
The city is quite unique and it holds some of history’s treasures. However, it didn’t quite feel like the Italy I know and love, it has become a bit too commercialized. To all my friends and family who want the real Italian experience, I wouldn’t recommend going to Venice. There were very few Italians compared to the number of foreigners as well as the fact that meals and places to stay all cost more than many other parts of Italy. Of course, if you have the budget and time, or if you are a lover of art and history, like I am, then it is well worth the trip. I am so grateful for all the traveling I’ve done. Getting to see as much of the world as possible with my best friend and partner is absolutely wonderful, and the very best present I could receive!
Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment and tell us what you think of Venice!