If you love travelling, you’ll definitely have your bucket list of places you want to go to. Venice was never on mine. Naturally, I heard stories of how romantic it was, and how scenic and unique the city was, but something kept telling me it was all overestimated; I imagined it to be a stage setting for a crowd of street sellers and a touristic honeytrap. I am still not sure whether I would have stuck with this opinion had we come here in summer when the streets are flooded with visitors and it’s almost hard to breathe. Thankfully, we arrived in November and found the city in its quiet, romantic charm, almost empty, to the extent that some streets and plazas looked at times haunted.
And I loved it! I fell in love with Venice the moment we stepped out of the train station and saw our very first canal, crossed our very first bridge. I loved it even more, when we almost got lost in its street labyrinths looking for our hotel. We stayed at the Residence Ca Malipiero, which occupies the main floor of a beautiful 15-century old Venetian palace, located right in the heart of the city. 5 minutes from here, and you’re going to be in a busy San Marco square, but if you look out of your suite window, you’re going to see a much calmer and more local square — Piazza Santa Maria Formosa. The rooms are all decorated in Venetian style, which is too pretentious for my personal taste, but nevertheless, quite impressive: with original 18th-century frescoes, spaciousness and a great view of the city square.
As usual, when we don’t have much time for a city, we set off for a purpose-less stroll, and simply enjoyed whatever came our way. Naturally, it was pizza that we came across first of all, and had a fabulous lunch at Rossopomodoro. Definitely not the most authentic place, and even less so not-touristic, but the pizza and burrata salad were both luscious, and their red wine definitely gave us more powers for the rest of the day ?
We then headed straight to San Marco square, a place that one can never miss in Venice. Beautiful, but quite crowded even in November, it didn’t become synonymous with the city, as it might be for some; it looked more as a theatrical backdrop to me, it lacked actual life. It’s definitely a must-visit though, thanks to outstanding architecture.
After San Marco we were only reassured, that it’s more worth it to simply get voluntarily lost in the streets of this enchanting city, rather than hurrying to catch all the sights in the daylight. After spending some time on the waterfront promenade The Riva Degli Schiavoni, we chose a small quiet street to take us somewhere nice and vivid, we spent almost 3 hours walking around the city. It’s beautiful, inexplicably charming and genuine, — just husk it from ubiquitous tourists and street sellers.
On our way, we found a little studio making Venetian masks called Papier Mache; Their masks have nothing in common with the ones sold at every corner of the city (don’t make a mistake of buying a Chinese mask in Venice :D), theirs are beautiful handmade craftsmanship. Not far from this shop, you’ll find a gorgeous vintage bookshop, Libreria Acqua Alta, and if you are just a teeny-tiny bit bookman, you’ll be stuck in there for quite some time, because their collection of books is fascinating. A very formidable black cat helps run the place as well, but he’s kind enough to let visitors pet him as he’s lying on the book piles.
Our stroll finally took us to The Grand Canal. It was already dark, but it only made the city more romantic, so we sat in one of the cafes we saw, which later turned out to be one of the best osterias and bars in Venice. We saw that beautiful day off with ice-cold Aperol Spritz, and left Venice the next morning, but Venice has never left our hearts.