Viva Venice!

The favourite triptych cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice are also the most romantic in the world. After romantic and fulfilling stays in Rome and Florence, it’s time to hop aboard the train and continue your travels to Venice. One of the best things about Italy is that each region is more fascinating than the last. Every Italian city offers a different experience and a glimpse into the life of the locals.

Venice is a city of reflections and mirages, a place of romance and exquisite beauty. You too will find romance here as you spend time in Venice, but your time will also be filled with luxurious amenities and experiences that only this city can offer.

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Florence to Venice by Train

ItaliaRail is the website I use to book my train tickets, and with low fares starting at 32€ per person, you can easily see why this form of transport is so popular. I recommend having your camera ready, as you travel the two hour train journey from Florence to Venice. You will want to capture the valleys, vineyards, and other mesmerizing sights out your window. Of course, you can sleep during the train ride, which will allow you to be wide awake and feel refreshed, but you may miss a great photo opportunity.

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Photography credits Aman

Day 1 | Luxury Venice Accommodation

When you arrive in Venice, everyone who has booked at the luxurious and elegant seven-star hotel, Aman Canal Grande will want to check in immediately. This 16th-century hotel can be found in one of the astonishing eight palazzos located along the Grand Canal. Guests are enthralled by the contemporary design that blends well with the Rococo works of art, as they wander through the lobby and grand halls. 

Now you know the reason why Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney chose this location for their celebrity wedding!  If they loved it that much, there is no reason why you won’t too!

Each of Aman 24 rooms and suites are individually decorated and include a king-bed and sitting area. The two private gardens, one overlooking the Grand Canal are perfect for when you need some downtime or a little romantic interlude. You will be hesitant to leave your room, as the chandeliers, silk wall hangings, and chinoiserie will draw you in and not want to let you go. However, there is an entire city waiting for you to explore!

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Photography credits Aman

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Prison to Palace | Historic Venice

Your first day must include the popular sights within Venice. You can check numerous items off your list immediately, while snapping photos as you get lost in the labyrinth streets. Doge’s Palace was constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries, and while it was where the local government was located, most people are most fascinated by the fact that this building was used as a prison. The prisons didn’t stay at Doge Palace forever though, and a new one was constructed on the other side of the Bridge of Sighs. 

Instagrammable Venice

According to the legend, the bridge earned its name from the prisoners who sighed as they were being transported from the courtroom to their prison cell, where they would stay for the remainder of their life.  Many people are happy admiring the intricate architecture of this bridge from the ground, but if you want picturesque instagrammable views of the surrounding area, you will have no choice but to walk to the middle and look out amongst the crowds. This bridge is one of the many attractions within the city that will instantly turn you into one of the most famous instagrammers in the world. 

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Bridge of Sighs Venice Italy

St. Mark’s Square is only steps away from the Bridge of Sighs. Walk hand in hand, as you cross streets and talk about what you discover along the way. I recommend exploring the Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Cathedral, and the massive bell tower.  Everyone is usually a little intimidated by the long lines that seem to be everywhere in this massive square. You should plan ahead with the Skip the Line Tours or one of Viator’s After Hours Tours.  The latter includes a unique view of the area without the massive crowds and you will get personalized attention from the guide, as only fifteen people are allowed within each group. 

The Most Expensive Café In Venice

Before leaving this square, everyone is tempted to stop at the famous Caffè Florian, which has been in existence since 1720.  Skip the overpriced coffee and instead walk straight to the back where the bar can be found. Grab a velvet covered stool, relax, and watch as the bartender mixes you your first of many Bellini cocktails. 

Venissa Restaurant

If the night is still young, take a water taxi from Venice to the Venissa Restaurant at the wine resort.  Reservations are required for this fine dining experience, so don’t wait too long to schedule this once in a lifetime magical experience.  The seven-course menu will seem like too much at first. But as each bite melts in your mouth, you will discover that there is always room for more of this delectable cuisine.  You’ll begin with mantis shrimp before continuing on with smoked eel and codfish tortellini.  The fermented tamarind tortellini is next, followed by celery roots, quail, and the green sea for dessert. 

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Day Two in Venice | Luxurious Breakfast

Everyone’s second day in Venice always seems to be a little better than the first, but that may be because they now have a general idea of where everything can be found. After a long and luxurious breakfast of coffee and pastries, everyone is normally ready to get back to seeing the sights, or at least wander out to see what adventures the day will bring.

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Venice’s Most Famous Bookstore

Not everyone is a fan of reading, but almost anyone will appreciate the uniqueness of the Libreria Acqua Alta Bookshop near the Piazza San Giovanni e Paolo.  No one really knows exactly how many books are in this extraordinary bookstore, except for maybe the owners…  As soon as you walk in, you may begin to wonder if you travelled back in time, or maybe to the future, because books are everywhere!  You’ll be staring at a stack of books one minute, and then your attention will be captured by the books that are sitting nearby inside a bathtub or a row boat.  One room even has a gondola sitting smack in the middle, and there is nothing but books inside that too! 

Everyone begins their time in this store with their mouths wide open, since they do not understand the significance of the placement of each book.  However, once you realize that this area of Venice always floods, it makes a lot more sense.  After all, books don’t float, but row boats and gondolas do, and well, while bathtubs are designed to keep water in, in this instance they keep water out. 

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Book the Best Museums In Venice

The Peggy Guggenheim Museum should be next on your list, as the namesake of the museum had a fabulous collection of art work.  Her collection had been on display in museums all over the world, until she chose to open her home to the public.  While inside the 17th-century Customs House, you will see Peggy Guggenheim’s personal collection, which includes Picasso, Dalí, Pollock, Mondrian, and many more.  Others have donated art pieces to this museum since Guggenheim’s death, so there are even more works of art for you to admire as you wander through the exhibits. 

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Rise of the Phoenix | Teatro la Fenice

The perfect ending to a day in Venice is watching a performance at the Teatro la Fenice. This opera house was constructed between 1790 and 1792, after the original Teatro San Benedetto burned to the ground.  Of course, the curse of the theatre was still present, and fire would destroy the new theatre in 1836 and 1996.  The newest theatre was designed to mimic the construction from the 19th century and you won’t even realize that this building is not from that period of time. 

Prior to watching the performance on stage, I encourage you to really look around and admire the intricate details of this massive historical structure.  Chandeliers hang everywhere, but they contain crystal drops and beads instead of the usual glass, so a zoom lens is a must to capture the shimmering pieces from afar.  Most people miss the clock that can be found incorporated into the space above the stage, but everyone seems to spot the cherubs that have been placed on each of the boxes. 

Hotel Danieli Rooftop Bar

After the opera, it is time for a nightcap over at the Hotel Danieli rooftop bar.  On clear nights, stars will fill the night time sky, creating a masterpiece for your eyes.  Grab a table and order a cocktail or a little champagne before marvelling in the lit up streets of the city and the darkness of the lagoon.  This elegant bar is at the top of many people’s list, so no one ever knows who they may see or meet while they are there.  Therefore, keep your eyes open and try not to miss the famous people who may want a drink at the same bar as you!  

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Day Three in Venice | Island Hopping | Glass Blowing

The islands around Venice form part of the itinerary for day three, with Murano, Torcello, and Burano topping the list. Take the three island Venice boat tour to discover the hidden gems. Murano is where all the glassblowing shops can be found, and while there are plenty to choose from, stop into the ones that are less touristy than the rest. Glassblowing has been done on this island since 1291, so there is no way anyone will be surprised at what can be made from glass. Glass beads and paperweights are plentiful, but you will fall in love with the lampshades, chandeliers, and even the faucets made completely from glass.

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Devil’s Bridge Legend

The city of Venice may be old, but the island of Torcello is even older, as it was founded during the 5th century.  The highlight of everyone’s time on this island is the mosaics within the Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’Assunta.  Of course, visitors should also explore the Church of Santa Fosca, the Torcello Museum, and the Casa Museo Andrich.  A magnificent photo opportunity awaits you on Torcello Island as well, so make sure that you take the time to stumble upon Devil’s Bridge. 

According to an eerie legend, this stone bridge is where an Austrian soldier met his death at the hands of his lover’s family.  The girl was so distraught that she contacted a witch who was known to communicate with the devil himself.  The witch promised to give the devil the soul of a deceased child every year for seven years on Christmas Eve.  With that promise, the devil brought the soldier back to life and he lived happily ever after with the love of his life. The witch was unable to keep her promise. She was met with her untimely death, and the devil now arrives at this bridge on Christmas Eve as a black cat, so he can collect the souls of the children that he was promised.

Burano Island | Colourful Houses | Lace Making

No one ever spends a lot of time on Torcello, probably due to the above scary legend. When it is time for you to leave, you can simply hop onto a boat for the short ride to Burano Island.  This island is much more beautiful than the other two islands, due to the colourful houses that line the streets.  Visitors are always impressed with the ambiance on Burano, as they stroll along the walkways looking at the brightly painted houses and businesses. 

Make sure that you appear friendly and interested in everything that you see, as you will have a better chance at being invited into numerous shops to watch Burano lacemaking in progress.  It is even recommended that you spend some time in the Lace Museum, so that you can learn the history of this process before you watch it being completed in the shops. 

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Burano Island Venice

Have your camera ready when you are on all the islands, but make sure that it is fully charged and ready to use as you are exploring Burano. This island has a plethora of photographic opportunities and it can be easy to miss many of them if your not ready to push the button at anytime.

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Arva Fine Dining | Aman Hotel Venice

As this is your last night in Venice, it is understandable if you want to stick near your hotel for the evening. Arva is a restaurant at your hotel and no one is ever disappointed by the cuisine created from fresh local ingredients.

Many people begin their meal at Arva with the fassona beef with parmesan Reggiano cheese, but you may prefer the white crab meat served with pickled radish and white cucumber or the potato dough focaccia with San Daniele ham. Amazing main courses include bigoli with clams and red chili, cannellini bean soup with fresh verbena, and venison filet with white polenta and chanterelles. A nice baby spinach salad with a ginger and lemon dressing will accompany any main dish nicely.

No one can leave without dessert and the delectable millefeuelle with pear and a Porto wine reduction will tantalize your taste buds further than you can ever imagine! No matter what is on the Arva menu, this is a fine dining experience you don’t what to miss. 

You should wander out to the bar and the breathtaking hotel garden afterwards, to enjoy a nightcap under the evening sky. This is going to be your last chance to see such beauty and tranquillity in the middle of any city, and you will want to cherish every moment that you can.

Venice Grand Canal

Grab one last photo, wander along the Grand Canal one last time, or dash into the local souvenir shops for that last perfect memory. No matter what you choose to do on this night of your stay in Venice, make it something that you will remember forever.

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Italy Blog Series

Italy has captured the hearts of travellers for centuries. It is a country that you will want to visit again and again. You will adore the history, architecture, food and its people. Our Italy blog series will help you to discover the best of Italy, fall in love with all things Italian and enhance your stay in this magnificent country. Ciao!

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