I took an early train (very early) from La Spezia to Venice. I had a stop in Firenze after 3 hours. The second train by Frecciargento left Firenze at 8.30Am and made it to Venice at almost 11 AM with a delay of 15 minutes.
I found myself in the most unique city of all. The sinking treasure of Italy: Venezia.
When the train is arriving to Santa Lucia it crosses a bridge, and you are already surrounded by water. Yes, you are in Venice.
This unique city is magical. As many other highly touristic cities, people have many different opinions about it. I have heard many bad reviews like “too touristic” “too dirty” … But I can’t see that in Venice. I’m just mesmerized by the amazing display of a city over water. We all get a different experience from every place.
Venice is not a dirty city, and it does not smell bad (at least these days I have been here). I’m here at the beginning of May and I believe is one of the best time to visit. It is not too crowded and weather is perfect. I can imagine that during summer months it gets very hot and there is almost no shade in the city center, except for those alleys full of fresh air.
As you can imagine, in Venice there are no cars but boats. There are many different options if you want to take one. Gondolas cost 80 Euros, and this is regulated by the gondolier association. However, a vaporetto (water bus) costs $7.50 (one way valid for 75 minutes. Attention: only going one way, you can transfer to other vaporetti during those 75 minutes but no come back to the starting station with that same ticket). There are also other fare’ types and tickets.
There is also an option a friend told me about… Here in Venice, the locals sometimes use some boats to cross the Grand Canal, these charge 2 Euros, and it only goes from shore to shore, but you get the experience of crossing The Canal.
Piazza San Marco is obviously the most touristic spot in Venice, but the rest of the city is surprisingly mostly empty and full of beautiful corners and bridges.
I went to San Marco during evening and morning times, and both are so different.
I would recommend to stay near the station if possible, specially if traveling with a big suitcase. There are people with carts that offer to transport your luggage to your hotel, since you have to cross bridges every way you go. They are around the station and the cart has a sign that says “Porter Service”.
Venice is slightly pricey for eating, plates of pasta start at 10 (at the most affordable places) and go up to 20+ euros at the most fancy restaurants by the water. Be aware that of course the more touristic a place look the less quality food (in most cases and the ones I tried). Adventure yourself and go find a hidden trattoria, or a little bar that offers glasses of wine for 0.60 cents and amazingly tasty panino for 1 Euro… You will also find a fantastic experience.
I walked there on my flip flops and this stranger at the bar asked me if he could take a picture of my feet because he never saw “those amazing kind of flip flops”.
In Venice, you never know what you will find around the corner, or at the next bridge.