Venice had been on my mind for nearly a decade. I had spent a day there when I studied in Milan and had since longed for a return trip. I remembered a city I described as poetic and out of time.
I hadn’t gone on a proper vacation in years and had forgotten the benefits of exploring. Of traveling to a place that is foreign to yours in terms of aesthetics, language and general culture. Of deciding on a whim to change your program and see what’s at the end of a street at the risk of getting lost. The self confidence and sheer liberty you gain when travelling alone and disconnecting with your daily life.
My trip was late September and I’ve been trying to hold on to it for as long as I can. Not so much by looking at pictures, though I do enjoy that. One of my 2016 resolutions includes exploring more. I realized I spent too many weekends keeping busy in my studio instead of broadening my horizons and visiting places in Paris I barely knew. I have also been turning my phone off much more, forcing myself not to check on social media and favorite websites compulsively.
I spent 3 days in Venice, which was just the right amount of time. I highly recommend the bed and breakfast I stayed in, Gio & Gio. With great value for price, it is ideally located 5 minutes away from Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal. They are listed on Airbnb but I recommend you go through their own website.
To give you an idea of how to plan a long weekend in Venice, here is my itinerary.
I arrived at my hotel at noon and had lunch after check-in on Campo San Stefano. I tried one of the local specialties, squid ink linguine, which I appreciated for the taste but not so much for the black lips it gave me. (It does go off very quickly though.)
I then visited La Fenice and bought tickets at the box office to see an opera that very night. Afterwards, I crossed the Grand Canal to enjoy the modern art masterpieces at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. I enjoyed the Dorsoduro, the part of Venice where the museum is located, as it was less crowded and touristy.
I rested a bit at my hotel before witnessing the doomed romance of Violetta and Alfredo in La Traviata.
I headed to Piazza San Marco to visit the Doge’s Palace. This nearly made my list of things to do and what a mistake it would have been to leave it out. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip. After my visit I watched the gondolas pass under the Bridge of Sighs. I made a small detour to buy tickets for the evening concert of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at La Pieta church, where the composer worked and then went back to Piazza San Marco to visit the Basilica.
In the afternoon, I headed back to the Dorsoduro to visit the spectacular church La Salute. Afterwards I walked along the Zattere, the promenade on the southern shore of the island. There was almost no one in sight with a few art galleries along the way, which was just what I needed after a morning on bustling Piazza San Marco. After I passed the church I Gesuati, I arrived at a gelateria called Nico, on the corner of Fondamenta Zattere Ai Gesuati and Fondamenta Nani. Believe it or not, having Nutella / yoghurt gelato in the sun while listening to the waves crash at my feet with another beautiful island in the distance was a highlight of my trip, and the memory makes me smile whenever I think of it. I enjoyed getting lost along the small canals on the way back to my hotel.
After the Vivaldi concert, I passed by Piazza San Marco and it was quite a different atmosphere there compared to daytime, with the place flooded at parts. Not that it was unsafe (I never felt that during my trip).
I spent the morning exploring the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Back in Venice after a late lunch, I went up to the Rialto Bridge (which was under renovation) and visited the Scuola Grande di San Roco. It is apparently not the most famous monument in Venice but the place literally took my breath away.
Before I left Venice, I went one last time to the Dorsoduro to have ice-cream on the same spot as the day before… because who can resist gelato?! The boat ride to the airport took me through the Grand Canal, leaving me a chance to admire the city one last time.
Cela faisait longtemps que je rêvais de Venise. J’y avais passé une journée lorsque j’étudiais à Milan et en gardais le souvenir d’un endroit hors du temps et poétique. A force de ne plus vraiment voyager, j’en avais oublié les bienfaits. La découverte d’un lieu complètement étranger à celui où on habite. Le sentiment de liberté et de confiance en soi qu’on éprouve à explorer une ville seule au risque de s’y perdre. Mon voyage a eu lieu fin septembre et je m’efforce de continuer à appliquer les leçons que j’en ai tiré. Je m’étais rendue compte que je passais trop de mon temps libre dans mon studio au lieu d’élargir mes horizons et de visiter des coins que je ne connaissais pas à Paris. Aussi depuis ce temps, j’éteins davantage mon téléphone pour vraiment déconnecter. Mon séjour à Venise a duré 3 jours, ce qui était idéal. Je recommande vivement le bed & breakfast Gio & Gio, situé à 5 minutes de la Place Saint-Marc et d’excellent rapport qualité-prix. A bientôt pour quelques autres articles sur cette ville, avec la visite du Palais des Doges, une nuit à l’opéra La Fenice et un tour sur les iles de Burano et Torcello.