It seems impossible to believe, but we are already at the end of July! Time passes by quickly when the weather is nicer and the sunlight is more abundant! If you found yourself at the last second without vacations plans or ideas, why not considering a short weekend trip to one of the most beautiful cities in the world? Venice is always breath-taking, heart-warming and a comfort to the soul, in any season or occasion. It could be the perfect solution for your holidays and your desire of adventure!
The city’s multifaceted and multicultural character, the intricacy of its streets, the atypical history and past and its uniqueness make it hard to completely and properly talk about Venice. One can only approach one aspect, element or detail at the time, without being able to grant a holistic and direct picture of the city (and you’ll have a very clear example of this reading the book “The Invisible Cities”, by Italo Calvino) .
Venice is elusive to the word: it is for this reason that one can really appreciate it and understand it visiting it. And since we talked about a weekend getaway, here are some cheap activities and amazing spots you should check out while falling in love with this incredible city!
Libreria Acqua Alta
Address: Calle Longa S. Maria Formosa, 5176/b, 30122 Castello, Venezia VE, Italy
This bookstore is slowly becoming more and more famous among travelers. The reason? Well, it’s a tiny shop that doesn’t just host second hand books, but it displays them in a unique and unusual setting. The books are all over the place: they cover every possible spot: they overflow from the shelfs and they fill up bathtubs and a gondola inside the shop! The name of the shop (Bookstore High Tide) an its structure are ideal to save the books from overflows and high tide, a great and common risk in Venice! The atmosphere is cozy, and invites locals and tourists to spend some time with books. A small garden on the back is -that one too- filled with books, that create a staircase. You can climb on it and observe a canal from the top of the wall, seizing a very typical Venetian landscape.
The bookstore is decorated with funny signs and objects, beautiful chandeliers and curiosities; it’s fun to spend some time observing the organized mess around you, digging for some rare books and chatting with the owner, Luigi Frizzo, an affable man who started the bookstore ten years ago.
Address: Fondamenta Nani, 992, 30123 Dorsoduro, Venezia VE, Italy
Hungry and looking for a cheap, but delicious treat? Forget pizza (you are in Venice, not in Napoli, so focus on the local food, you won’t regret it!) and head to the bacaro Cantine del Vino già Schiavi.
First of all: what’s a “bàcaro”? A bacaro is something in between a pub and a bar; it’s small, usually with little room to sit, a long counter and a big window with the cichèti (something between a snack and tapas) you can get, usually while sipping some wine. People usually get wine or spritz (quite loved beverage in Veneto), some cichèti and they sit outside, chatting and eating together. The number of bacari around Venice is almost endless, and choosing just one is hard (almost all of them will satisfy your culinary desires), but this one is one of the best, to me. They have a good variety of fish, and an awesome variety of cichèti. Try out those with sardines (or shrimps) marinated in onions (sardee in saor). Sounds weird, but the taste is amazing!
Close to the bacaro Cantine del Vino già Schiavi, there is another of my favourite spots in Venice: Toletta bar! The bar has good sandwiches, a friendly staff that often sings along with the radio and heaven on hearth: Tramezzini. Tramezzini, especially those tramezzini, are amazing small sandwiches made with soft bread (no crust!) and stuffed with all the good things life can offer. The price is more than honest (less than 2€ for one), as the quantity and quality: they’re massive and very, very tasty. You can find all the stuffing you may want: from the most traditional tramezzino prosciutto e funghi (ham and mushrooms) to the incredible “ecologico” (rucola, radicchio, olives, stracchino -soft, fresh cheese-, tomatoes, mozzarella and mayo). Yummy!
Campo S. Margherita
In Venice there is only one, true square: Piazza San Marco. The others, the smaller ones, are called campi, since once they were covered in ground (and not cobble stones) and used as common vegetable gardens. Now they are meeting points and a pretty famous one in Campo Santa Margherita. It is populated by locals and students: children meet here to play in the afternoon, adults shop for fish and veggies here in the morning, and students meet at any time for a drink all together. The campo also hosts the old executioner’s house, the only house in Venice that doesn’t share any surface with other houses. It is a nice place to rest a bit and enjoy the Venetian everyday life around you. It is also a good spot for meeting young people and getting a quite cheap drink. Not to miss!
Punta della Dogana
Punta della Dogana is a small, triangular area that divides the Canale della Giudecca with the Canal Grande; it is almost in front of Piazza San Marco. Once the customs building, it is now an art museum and an amazing point of view on the heart of Venice and on the lagoon. It is formed by the customs’ building, created in the 17th century to stock goods, and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, often referred to only as “Salute”. The basilica (of Our Lady of Health) is a stunning church built in the 17th century for an interesting reason: in 1631 an unusually devastating outbreak of the plague was hitting Venice, killing thousands of people. The Republic vowed to build a church in honor of the Virgin Mary if the plague had stopped decimating the population. The style is baroque: the decorations on the outside are fascinating and luxurious, while on the inside, they remind of the Black death. More than a 1,000,000 wooden piles support the platform under the church. This element brought the writer Tiziano Scarpa to imagine, in his book “Venice is a Fish”, that an enormous upside-down forest is supporting the basilica, creating a dreamlike imagine of a parallel world. It is one of my favourite images about Venice, and one of the best spots to observe its beauty.
Address: Dorsoduro, 3136, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
If you’d like to get a taste of what life was like during the golden era of the Republic, stop by at Ca’ Rezzonico, a sumptuous villa on the Grand Canal built in the 18th century. The building, once a private house of the Rezonico family, is now a museum: you can admire the original furniture and decorations, the gorgeous chandeliers made in Murano Island, the statues and details modelled in marble and fascinating paintings by Canaletto, who represented aspects of everyday life in Venice in the 18th century. The architecture of the palace itself is astonishing, but it stands out even more since it’s paired up with incredible works of art. And if after the visit you need to relax a bit, take a look at the original gondola of the family hosted under the porch, or visit the beautiful garden of the villa.
Address: San Polo, 3072, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
The Gothic church that stands out in Campo de’ Frari is the biggest in Venice. It was built in the first half of the 13th century and dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the friars, but it had to be ampliated, later on, to welcome the growing population. The majestic building offers several artistic and architectural examples of the Italian Gothic style, but it also hosts numerous and remarkable works of art. Among those, Canova’s funerary monument, the Pesaro Madonna, and the Assumption of the Virgin, by Titian. Visiting Frari church is a unique opportunity for discovering more about Venice’s history, art and culture in few glances. It is a small journey in the magnificent and dream-like world the city built.
Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, reflected in the nearby canal . . . . . . #venezia #venice #italia #italy #loves_venezia #ig_venezia #ig_venice #igersvenezia #igers_venice #dm_photolife_venice #loves_venice #unlimitedvenice #thisisvenice #veneziaautentica #travel #city #authenticvenice #veneziadavivere #instagood #travel #reflections #church #architecture #architettura #chiesa
Take your time, walk around the allies and appreciate the colors, shades and details of Venice. Merge into the “city of steps” and its unique features: the silence in the small streets, the breath-taking buildings, the opulence and grace of the architecture around you. Don’t follow the maps too much, get lost in this incredible city and get to know some of its secrets!