There are hundreds of blog posts, travel articles and even travel programs that have had their focus on the bucket list worthy, floating city of Venice. It is so incredibly famed that it gets a whopping 20 million tourist visits a year! And it is no wonder why, seeing as it is one of the most enchanting places that Darren and I have ever been together.
Luckily for us we traveled to Venice when it was Winter, meaning less maddening crowds and more secluded spots to take in all of the historic sites. Which we don’t regret one bit as the entire Venetian area has some type of unspoken magic when its temperature is in the single digits, and it will keep you returning time and time again.
Venice is incredibly special and in saying so has a very special place in both mine and Darren’s hearts. We had such a wonderful time in the 4 days that we had there and these are some of our highlights.
The Best Pasta In The World
When one thinks of Venice it is hard not to think of gondolas, St Marks and small waterways – the last thing you would think of is freshly prepared pasta served in Chinese-like cartons. This is what can be expected at Dal Moro’s and their pasta will undoubtedly change your life! Although it is extremely hard to find, our Google Maps took us around in circles until we finally found this tiny eatery. This place is perfect for a quick bite that is as delicious as it is affordable. Not only is the freshly made pasta out of this world, the witty and irresistible charm of the servers will have you wanting to return every day of your stay in Venice.
An Unforgettable Gondola Ride
Yes, we took a gondola ride along the twisting and winding canals and yes, it was amazing! Seeing Venice from the water really is a must, you get a much better sense of the city this way. It is quite pricey – 80 Euros is the standard but it all varies based upon the time of day that you head out, a beautiful sunset ride is going to cost you! The (water taxis) are the most affordable way to get around Venice – if not for your own two feet – but one gondola trip is definitely worth the extra cost.
Layering Is A Must
One thing you have to take into consideration when traveling to Italy in Winter – it is only cold if you dress like an idiot. Yes I said that and yes that idiot was me! The one day that we decided to visit the islands off the coast of Venice, there are three: Murano, Burano and Torcello, I didn’t think it was that cold when we set out but a few hours later I was colder than an ice block. Luckily for me my partner is pretty special and chivalrously handed me over his jacket when he could see I was lying through my teeth that I wasn’t cold.
The Quaint Island Of Torcello
Of the three islands that you can visit from Venice, Torcello was our choice as it is said to be the parent island of Venice and would have been the Venice we know today if it wasn’t for a break out of Malaria that diminished its inhabitants from around 20 000 to just 75 that are there today. On a ten-minute stroll to the main piazza of Torcello you will find one of the most beautiful but lesser known bridges in the world – “Ponte del Diavolo” or “The Devil’s Bridge” with a legend surrounding it as foreboding as its name.
As legend has it, it all started with a boy and girl who were in love but as fate would have it, her family did not approve of the courtship and had the boy killed. The heartbroken girl begged a local witch to bring her lost love back to her and in turn a deal was made with the devil. In order to bring him back the witch had to provide the devil with seven souls of local children. The witch died before she could repay her debt with the devil and now it is said that the devil patiently waits, every night, on the other side of the bridge for his seven promised souls.
There is more to this tiny island than legend and folklore – one of the best restaurants in Venice is found in this marshy Venetian landscape. Locanda Cipriani, firstly made famous by Hemingway then by Princess Diana who raved about it, is reason enough to pay a visit to this little gem that has a stunning view overlooking the town’s church. The food is even more reason to visit, with the best risotto and house wine that is even cheaper than bottled water – need I say more.
A Fine Dining Restaurant With Italian Heart
One of our most special nights has to be the one that we spent at the Riviera restaurant, situated on a waterside terrace overlooking the Giudecca Canal. As we were there in Winter we dined inside which made for a cozy night filled with the most delicious Venetian dishes (and wine) – think cured fish, warm home-made bread and the creamiest panacotta. It was also our most expensive dining out experience – for our entire Europe trip – suffice it to say it was well worth every cent! With a personal greeting from the charming owner setting the mood for the entire night, we felt like absolute royalty dining at this eatery and will forever hold the best memories of the night that we spent there.
Just walking through the small alleyways, feeling the magical atmosphere that Venice exudes in the wintry season is reason enough for us to return and all of these other experiences are most definitely the cherry on top.
Have you been to Venice and have any personal experiences you would like to share? Tell us about them in the comments!