Hello and welcome to my first travel blog!
I traveled to Italy from May-June 2016 as part of a study abroad program. I went to many places in Italy and will be covering each city with full details in separate posts 🙂
Oh Venice, it’s as beautiful as you imagine it. The scenery is the first thing that hits you when you step out of the train station. First all you see are hundreds of people, but then you look up and see these mesmerizing and extravagant buildings welcoming you to one and only city on water….
My friends and I took a day trip to Venice via the Trenitalia Regionale. It was about a 2.5 hour train ride from Reggio Emilia with a train change in Bologna. Rather than bore you with the details of my visit, I would like to describe what I enjoyed and what I did not enjoy about Venice. I hope that after reading this post, you will have gained more insight about Venice before you plan a trip there yourself!
What I loved:
- Gondola rides – Well…duh! I mean, it wasn’t a romantic gondola ride into the sunset with my boyfriend but it was still a heck load of fun! 1 gondola, holding up to six people, costs about 80 euros for roughly 30 minutes. Luckily the four of us met another tourist couple who was willing to ride with us and split the cost. Our gondolier was Fabio (I know right?! *insert heart emoji*) offered us a new deal once we got on: 6 people, $20 each for a 45 minute ride through the small canals where we can see the local parts of town. We took the deal and it was honestly the best decision ever. Not only did he take us through the smaller canals so we could see schools and homes, but we also got to enjoy more time on the gondola to take awesome photos.
Scenery – The view of Venice will forever be etched in my mind. How a city can be built on water and last as long as it has absolutely astounds me. I don’t even know how to describe it so I will just insert a few photos….
What I did not enjoy:
- Too many tourists – Being such a famous city, of course there will be many tourists! That means you can expect to bump into a lot of people, hold onto your purses and bags a little tighter, and wait a little longer for restaurants or other touristy attractions. It was hard to enjoy soaking in the scenery when there are people constantly bumping into you, photobombing your pictures, and sometimes walking way too slow! With that said, my suggestion to avoid becoming annoyed and overwhelmed is to get away from the crowd as soon as possible. Get a map and then make your way into the less crowded streets as you navigate. This way you can take your time examining the map while walking to your destination. Being in a crowded place is fun and all, but sometimes you just need some space!
- The city may feel a little dirty and smelly – This is a city on water, what do you expect?! I was actually prepared for this because I was informed by a professor about this. I think being aware of this before going to Venice helps to lower your expectations and avoid any surprises when you get there.
- Bring a hat and wear sunscreen – it will get HOT and you’ll be in the sun especially for that gondola ride.
- Bargain for your stuff – most likely the vendors will refuse at first but eventually give in since they really want to sell their stuff. There will be LOTS of vendors aimed at tourists. Look around first to make sure you’re getting good deals! Some vendors will be cheaper than others. Just make sure you bargain reasonably and not get too carried away!
- Hold on tight to your bags – more tourists = more pickpockets
Over all, I think Venice was a great experience for our day trip. With that said, you should plan all the things you want to do in Venice beforehand. My friends and I did not know what we wanted to do and where we should go so we ended up missing out on visiting St. Mark’s Basilica which I deeply regret. Venice is great, but just make sure you are prepared in order to avoid getting overwhelmed and wasting time. If I could go back, I definitely want to stay in Venice at night to watch the sunset and see what the nightlife is like. Since our program was strict and only allowed for day trips to surrounding cities, I am happy to say that I was very satisfied with my trip to Venice. It was short, but it was full of great memories.
Happy and safe travels everyone! Leave a comment or send me a message if you have particular questions you’d like me to answer.