A MASTERPIECE BUILT ON WATER
3 days in Venice: the quick guide
There is no other place in the world like Venice. This sentence might sound like an overstatement or cliche but I am almost certain that any of you who have visited this unique city will agree. For the ones that are yet to make the pleasure of its acquaintance, let me tell you why I believe Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Venice's history is as unique as the city itself. Born as a refuge for the sacred men, who were escaping the attacks and devastations by the barbarians on the mainland dating back to 421 AD. The first men who arrived in the lagoons were able to make of this inhospitable and malaria-ridden waters, firstly a home and with time, a jewel of architecture. They used the resources available on the land to survive. Fish and salt to trade and buy what they did not possess and without looking back they created a prosperous empire.
It seems impossible that such a grand city is built on such a precarious environment. So how was Venice built, you ask? As crazy as it sounds, the foundation of Venice consists of thousands of wooden piles that have been pounded into the mud so close together that are touching, creating platforms to hosts the houses on top. Venice is called the ‘floating city’ for this reason! The famous Russian writer, Alexander Herzen said: “To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius.”
'Venice is not only a city of fantasy and freedom. It is also a city of joy and pleasurE'
Where to sleep in Venice
The boutique B&B Cimarosa is a lovely space of tranquillity and beauty in Santa Croce district. Set in a 15th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal, it offers 6 classic-contemporary rooms that express the elegance of Venice in every detail.
Once you open the wooden gate entrance and step into the small private courtyard, it feels like stepping back in time. The details of the courtyard exude an old timed elegance. An ancient dwelling, small statues made of smooth white marble, delicate white and pink roses adorn the raw brick walls.
From the private jetty opening on the Grand Canal, you can observe the gondolas and water taxis pass by and imagine how the everyday Venetian life must be.
The common area feels like home. Wooden furniture, comfortable couches, an open plan kitchen where breakfast is served every morning with a view of the Canal. The lovely Valentina, manager of Cimarosa, will welcome you at your arrival and help you shape your daily activities to make the most of the city.
The rooms are decorated with a delicate class, mixing antique pieces with modern furniture in a sophisticated Venetian style. The soft pastel tones reflect the lagoon colours and give a sense of tranquillity and relaxation. Tea and coffee are always available in the common area for the ultimate home feeling.
Our favourite moment at Cimarosa was coming back at night and peaking out of our bedroom window. The moonlight glistening on the water, only the sounds of the lagoon in the background. It felt like dreaming with our eyes wide open.
Where to eat in Venice
Eat like a local for Lunch
For lunch, we recommend experiencing eating like a local. In Venice, you will find small bars called ‘bacaro’. A bacaro is a simple type of Venetian tavern where there is a wide selection of wines in the glass (ómbre or bianchetti) and small foods and snacks (cichéti), characterized by few seats and a long counter in which the products are displayed. You will eat typical, delicious snacks for a very small price (most cichéti are between 1 and 3 euros). Some famous bacari are Bacareto da Lele, Osteria alla Ciurma, Cantina Do Spade.
Dinner at Osteria La Zucca
Osteria La Zucca offers typical regional dishes made with fresh and unique ingredients. The small restaurant feels intimate and authentic and in the summer gives the opportunity to dine under the stars. It is highly recommended to book several days in advance.
Pizza at Pizzeria Ae Oche
If you are looking for a good Italian pizza, Pizzeria Ae Oche is the perfect place. Thin base crispy pizza, with all the typical Italian ingredient combinations in a simple, welcoming neighbourhood restaurant.
'Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go'.
Top 5 things to do in Venice
A whole year would not be enough to discover all the wonders, big and small, famous and secret, of this fascinating city. Here are our own personal favourite things to do while in Venice (in no particular order!)
Piazza San Marco
A masterpiece like no other. A place that will make you gasp in disbelief at what human creativity and craft can create. Without a doubt at the top of our favourite squares in the world. Piazza San Marco is a jewel of Venetian architecture built in the 17th century. Being one of the most beautiful parts of Venice, it is also flooded by tourists, so to be able to admire it in tranquillity make sure to visit early in the morning.
Peggy Guggenheim Museum
One of our favourite museums in Venice, for its location, history and modern art collection. Once the home of the homonyms heiress who in 1951 opened her wide and unique private collection to the public. In between the spacious rooms opening on the Gran Canal you will find artworks from Picasso, Duchamp, Magritte and more.
Galleria Tre Oci
Set in a beautiful early 20th-century palazzo, with an orange facade adorned with intricate details, Galleria Tre Oci is a photographer’s dream. Last time we visited we had the pleasure to see a retrospective on Helmut Newton, his best photography adorning the white walls and through the windows views of the lagoon floating by.
Murano and Burano day trip
Venice is not the only gem built in the lagoon. Other smaller towns are definitely worth a visit: Murano, famous for its colourful glass and Burano for its colourful houses and intricate lace. Villages of artisans, Murano and Burano are reachable with the local ferry, making it the perfect day trip from Venice. In these small towns, time feels as if it stopped a couple of centuries ago. Life is simple and to be happy you just need a gelato and a walk along the colourful streets.
Rent a boat
Seeing Venice from the water gives a whole new perspective of the city. It is a real taste of what the everyday Venetian life is all about. If you want to spend a relaxing afternoon gliding through the canals, you can either rent a boat with a driver who will take you around a specific route and give you a guided tour, or drive yourself.