Exit Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia, and, wow! A feeling you will never forget. I’m finally here and it’s magical. Everything from that first moment at the train station to the very last look as you depart for your next destination will stay with you forever. Venice is beautiful in pictures but in person it’s beyond words. Whether you’re there for a quick stop or a long stay, your travels in Venice will take you to one timeless treasure after another. Before leaving Piazza San Marco where you’ll find St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s palace, make a quick stop at Caffe Florian, opened in 1720, considered the oldest coffee house in Europe.
Or if you’d prefer a different afternoon libation, make sure to stop at Harry’s Bar, famous for their iconic peach puree drink, the Bellini. You might get lucky and sit next to Giuseppe Cipriani or sit at Ernest Hemingway’s table. Or hop over to the Giudeca and eat at Harry’s Dolci, with amazing views of San Marco from the terrace.
Don’t forget to walk across the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal, and to check out the morning market there. You can do it with one of our chefs and select ingredients for your Venice cooking class. Another special bridge to make sure you check out is the enclosed white limestone “Bridge of Sighs.” Legend has it that the bridge’s small windows gave prisoners their last glimpse of Venice after being sentenced by the Doge and sent to the dungeons.
You will inevitably get lost in Venice’s maze of narrow alleys, as I did, but will discover the quiet city spaces where locals live and eat. Away from the main piazzas the city still has authentic osterie serving amazing Venetian food and local wines. Don’t forget to experience the “Bacari,” basically the Venetian version of happy hour pubs, for the popular “spritz” or a glass of Prosecco and the tapas-type appetizers known as cicchetti. Art lovers should visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with its modern art or The Gallerie dell’Accademia, the city’s biggest collection of pre-19th-century art.
Finally, make time to see some of the other islands in the Venice lagoon. Murano has been home to Venice’s glass makers for over 700 years! It’s the perfect place to find a beautiful souvenir to remember this incredible city.
If you’d like to experience Venice with TIK we have two amazing options. One is our Insider’s Venice cooking vacation, a short stay on the Lido at a beautiful family-owned B&B, while our Venice Cooking Odyssey combines a Lido stay with a longer sojourn on the main island. Whatever you choose, Venice is sure to delight!
By Darlene Hall
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