Honeymoon Travels – Venice

I just realized yesterday that we’ve been back from our honeymoon for more than a month and I’m STILL going through my honeymoon blog posts. Since I only post once a week and have been trying to alternate my travel posts with beauty posts, it means I haven’t finished with anything honeymoon-related yet. Hopefully I can get the last one up next week, but in the meantime, today’s blog is our penultimate stop on our honeymoon: Venice.

Venice has always been on my bucket list, but at the same time, I went in with low expectations. A few of our friends who have travelled to Venice said they didn’t really enjoy it, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Based on advice we received, we only stayed in Venice for a day. We left Sorrento in the morning to return to Naples, and from there we flew in to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport, arriving at 5pm.

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The view of Venice from the airplane. It’s connected to Mestre by a large highway!

It was very easy to travel to Venice from the airport. There are two buses that go to the Venice area: one going to Mestre, which is the mainland of Venice, and the other to Venice itself. Venice is connected to the mainland by the SR11 highway (seen above), and a lot of people choose to stay in Mestre because the hotels are more more cost effective. Since we were only there for a day and were short on time, we thought it would be more convenient to stay in Venice. We chose the Carnival Palace Hotel, which was a cute boutique hotel with an elegant black and gold Carnival theme. I mentioned in my Amalfi Coast blog that our hotel was a little farther from the town center, and in Venice we were also a bit of a walk from the main tourist hotspot, Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square).

In terms of travelling within Vencie, there are no roads at all, so you have to walk everywhere and won’t be able to take a car or taxi within Venice. Of course, the famous Grand Canal runs right through the center of Venice, so there’s also the option of taking a water taxi. We walked from the bus station to our hotel (17 minutes), and as soon as we checked in and dropped our bags off, we headed off to St. Mark’s Square, which was about a 30 minute walk. The rest of the evening was spent finding a place to eat and enjoying the beautiful views of the square and the canal.

Bright and early the next morning, we headed back to St. Mark’s Square to visit San Marco Basilica, San Marco Campanile (the bell tower), and Palazzo Ducale. Visiting these places was so easy because they all surrounded the square, which meant we didn’t have to dash around from one place to another throughout the day.

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St. Mark’s Campanile

Our first stop was the St. Mark’s Campanile, which had the shortest line at the time. It offers an absolutely breathtaking view of the city. We didn’t know until we were up at the top that all of the Venice rooftops are red!

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We had not intended to visit the basilica, but we found out it was free, so we thought that we might as well take the opportunity to go while we were there. We were a little concerned because Italian churches are very traditional and usually don’t allow visitors to go in with exposed shoulders and knees. Because we hadn’t anticipated on going into a church, I was wearing a tank top and shorts. The line to get in was very long, and we didn’t want to risk waiting in line for an hour only to be turned away at the front. After standing by the front of the line watching security letting in women wearing similar outfits as me, we decided to give it a try.

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St. Mark’s Basilica from the outside

As expected, I got past security, but little did we know that once we were admitted, people who had their shoulders or knees exposed had to buy large pieces of material (similar to gift wrap/tissue paper that you use for gift bags) for 50 cents each to cover those areas (so $1 in total for me since I needed one for my shoulders and one for my knees). I tied one around my shoulders like a country-club lady ties her sweater over her shoulders, and the other piece I tied around my waist like a sarong. It looked ridiculous and I wanted my husband to take a photo of me in it, but unfortunately, guests weren’t allowed to take photographs inside the basilica.

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Palazzo Ducale. Look at that pink exterior!

Our next stop was Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace, which had shorter lines than anticipated. I did a lot of reading up on this place before our trip, although I still wasn’t sure what to expect. It used to be the duke’s residence, and was also used as the seat of government and the palace of justice. A lot of the rooms are beautiful inside – ornate painted ceilings and walls that were restored after a fire. One thing that I really wanted to see was the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the old interrogation room in the palace to the prison. It got its name from the fact that it was a prisoner’s last glance at the outside world before they were locked away.

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The Bridge of Sighs. I just noticed while typing the caption that the people on the gondola are waving! 😜

With a little more time to spare before we had to go back to our hotel to grab our bags and head to the airport, we also did a quick visit to Museo Correr, which was located on another corner of St. Mark’s Square. It was much cooler than we had expected, especially the grand Imperial Rooms where Emperor Ferdinand I had stayed. On our way back to the hotel to grab our bags, we took in our last sights of the beautiful city. I was so flabbergasted that I was in Venice, a city whose canal I’ve seen in pictures my whole life and never thought I would get a chance to see in person.

 

As expected, Venice is very commercialized and caters largely to tourists – we noticed that the closer you get to San Marco Square, there were fewer mom and pop stores and more luxury brands. I had visions of us taking a romantic gondola ride down the Grand Canal, but it was expensive and not something we wanted to pay an arm and a leg for. However, I still really loved the vibe of the city – it was different from any other place we’ve been, although my husband joked that he’s been spoiled by the Venetian in Vegas, which has a fake sky indoors and a “canal” running through the mall where you can also take a gondola ride 😝 (to which I answered that there’s also the Eiffel Tower, the New York skyline, and a Roman forum all within blocks of each other in Vegas, so we might as well only go to Vegas and still say we travelled the world…but I digress)

Because of the Carnival festival hosted in Venice each year, the city has many stores selling the Carnival masks. I’ve always wanted one (you never know when you’re going to go to a masquerade ball, am I right?) and really wanted to bring one home since they were quite affordable, but knew there was no room in my backpack. Perhaps I should have worn it onto the plane? 😝 The city also has many shops selling glass sculptures due to its proximity to Murano, which is known for its glass-making. I really wanted to bring some home for my mother-in-law, who loves blown glass, but we were afraid it would break during transport.

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One of the many stores selling these beautiful Carnival masks!

A lot of people said we only needed a day in Venice, and we were there for 23 hours. The both of us really thought that we could have used another half a day to have a more relaxing visit of the city, and it also would have been nice to visit the neighbouring Murano and Burano. With all of the sights we took in, we headed back to the hotel to grab our bags and head back to the airport for our final leg of the trip, Rome.

12 thoughts on “Honeymoon Travels – Venice

  1. Aaw I love your posts! I still haven’t got up my birthday gift post from August! We nearly booked Venice a couple of years back and then again this May. But we decided to do a couple of places in Italy, so Milan and Lake Comp worked better. What was your fave place you visited on honeymoon? Xx

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  2. That’s so cool that there are no roads in Venice! I think walking around the city probably allows you to take it all in much better!

    Your trip sounds really wonderful! I would have wanted to buy one of those masquerade masks as well!

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    • It IS cool that they have no roads, isn’t it? There probably isn’t very many cities out there that have that.

      They were SO inexpensive and so many to choose from – sad I didn’t end up getting one!

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  3. I had no idea about the dress attire inside Italian churches! We went inside as well and it never crossed my mind, although I am not usually walking around in a bikini like you are! 😆 Plus, when we visited, it was during the Fall time frame.
    I really loved visiting Palazzo Ducale. I had no clue about Bridge of Sighs until my SO told me about it as we went through – very neat!
    Did you take any of the water taxis to get around? We did take a couple of them and it was a really neat experience, and we got good views of the waterfront. Of course, we were headed to the cruise when we visited Venice so we got some good vantage points from the water.

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    • You’re lucky you didn’t have to think about it! When we were at the Vatican, I dreaded putting on long pants for the day cause it was so freaking hot out. My usual outfits are usually so “scandalous”, LOL!
      I came across that interesting bit of info about the Bridge of Sighs when I was researching Doge’s Palace. I find it interesting how they used that place as the seat of government AND a prison.
      We didn’t take any water taxis, although in hindsight we should have since our hotel was farther away! I guess in a way you get the experience of being on the canal without having to pay for a gondola ride, haha.

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  4. Eeek I was looking forward to this post – I LOVED Venice. I think because it’s just so different than any place I’d ever been – the fact that there are no roads and you have to take water taxis or walk everywhere was just so cool to me. Plus I loved getting lost amongst the streets there. And we had the best food there. I’d love to go back!
    I totally wanted one of those masquarade masks too but I knew there was no way it would survive our trip; instead I got myself a blown glass heart on a keychain at the airport and it broke within a few weeks of using it. So sad!

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    • I really loved the whole Venice vibe too. It’s unfortunate that there’s no way for us to transport fragile purchases safely back home (unless you get it shipped, I guess?) There were so many interesting trinkets to buy in Venice. So sad to hear that your blown glass key chain broke!

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  5. I’ve always wanted to go Venice. It’s still on my bucket list :), but I’ll wait for my children to grow a bit so they could join us. It will be more fun with them around (or maybe not😅).

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