When my brother and I were planning our trip to Italy earlier this year, Venice wasn't even on our list of cities to visit. It was an afterthought once we decided to to leave a few days earlier and I'm so glad we added it to our itinerary. Venice is a must when visiting Italy. Even if you only have one day, it's worth it. The main sights can all be seen in that time frame. If you have more time, you can visit many of Venice's museums or the neighboring islands. I look forward to returning in the future and exploring the colorful buildings of Burano and the glass factories of Murano.
After an almost 24-hour travel day we arrived at Venice's Marco Polo airport which is located on the mainland. We were quickly able to locate the Alilaguna ticket kiosk and leave the airport thanks to packing only a carry-on. After my trip to Europe last year, I vowed to never travel overseas with checked luggage. Lugging around a huge suitcase on uneven cobblestone city streets is not fun at all. What's worse is having to lug it up and down multiple staircases in airports, metro stations and hotels, so I cannot stress enough how important it is to pack light.
The Alilaguna is the cheapest form of water travel from the airport to the city center. The bus is the cheapest option, but to experience the magic of Venice, I suggest arriving by boat. The 45 minute boat ride is a tour in itself. The day we arrived was cold and overcast. The hazy view of the city in the distance added to the magic.
Of all the places we stayed in Italy, our room at Ca'dell'Arte was the most enjoyable. The hotel is located in the west end of San Marco. It's in a quiet location within easy walking distance to Piazza San Marco and the neighborhood of Dorsoduro, for the most amazing cichetti. Don't worry, I'll get to that in a few! The hotel is designed in traditional Venetian decor. Our room was located on the top floor next to the breakfast room. Complimentary breakfast is served every morning. They offer a delicious assortment of pastries, cheese, cold cuts and plenty of coffee. They also had a great selection of juices which included, pear, orange, and blood orange. Having free breakfast is always a plus while traveling but once we figured out how cheap an "Italian breakfast" is, it didn't matter that breakfast wasn't going to be included in the hotels following Venice.
The majority of reading I did while planning this trip was all food related. To me, food is the most exciting part of the travel experience. Venice is said to be one of the most expensive, with the quality lower than what is expected while eating in Italy. I have to disagree with this. You just have to know where to eat. My brother Alex and I ate exceptionally well and inexpensively during our stay. Check out these places during your visit to Venice. They will not disappoint.
Osteria Al Squero When you research eating in Venice, cichetti will most likely come up in your search. Cichetti are usually served in a bar or osterie. These small snacks consist of thin slices of bread with various fish, cheese or meat toppings. Order an assortment, because you have to try them all and pair it with an Aperol or Campari spritz. Cichetti can easily make for a light and inexpensive dinner. Sit inside if you can find a spot or take your food outside to sit along the canal.
Bacareto da Lele The little sandwiches at Bacareto da Lele are 1 euro each and a glass of wine to pair with your meal is 2 euro. This hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop is top notch and you can tell by the line out the door. Order a few different sandwiches and share with your travel companion. There isn't any seating so plan to stand or walk over to the steps past the shop and have a seat.
I Tre Mercanti I came across this shop during an Instagram search for eats in Venice. Instagram is by far my favorite way to search food because you get to see all the amazing photos! This shop specializes in different flavors of tiramisu. They also have French macarons which were pretty delicious.
Cantine del Vino Gia Schiavi This is another cichetti place located inside a wine bar. We planned on going back to Al Squero for dinner on our second night in town but sadly they were closed. Cantine del Vino Gia Schiavi is just down the street from Al Squero and the cichetti is just as good.
Dal Moro's Another Instagram find. Dal Moro's offers freshly made pasta in a fast-food setting. Order the Nero Di Seppia. Your mouth will turn black as you are eating the black ink of the cuttlefish but your tastebuds and stomach will love it!