Thursday, January 23

Why We Love Venice (And You Should, Too!)

We visited Venice in May of 2012.  We spent a delicious, rainy, exhausting, exhilarating 2 days in Venice and wished we had more.  With the not-so-friendly Venetians and the way-too-many tourists, it's not a place to which I want to return more than once.  But it's a place I insist everyone must see.

Seven Top Reasons We Love Venice (And You Should, Too!)

1.  Cars aren't allowed in Venice......
  You can park in lots just outside Venice, but the lots are usually full and the attendants, sketchy.  Leave your car at your lodging and take a bus in.  We stayed in Padua and took the bus in.  It was a little inconvenient, but not bad.

2.  Canal side cafe'.  Sure, you'll pay a table fee, but you'll be gazing at the gondolas floating past, resting your feet and deciding what to do next. The cafe' pictured is on St. Mark's Square.  I didn't have a photo of one along the canal.

3.  Gondolas.  Whether you ride one for 100 euros or not, you will love them all the same.  Walking over the bridges and through the alleys, you will drop your jaw every single time you see a gondola passing.  Every. Single. Time.

4.  Piazza San Marco / St. Mark's Square.  Absorb an 11th century piazza with geometric patterns of tile with tourists and pigeons sharing the space.  Pay the fortune to have an espresso by the piano and just sit there to take it all in.

5.  Basilica di San Marco.  832 AD and contains the remains of St. Mark.  Get tickets in advance and check their hours of operation.

6.  Doge's Palace.   Established in the 9th century and rebuilt a few times since then, full of political history, this palace became a museum in the early 20th century and includes the famous Bridge of Sighs.  Walking across the Bridge of Sighs is intense.  Get your tickets in advance and skip the line.  Keep an eye on the hours of operation, including lunch break.  We couldn't get our audio hooked up because they were on lunch break.  They were sitting right in front of us and wouldn't help until their lunch break was over.  (Venetians aren't a friendly lot)

7.  Alleys.  Walking through the alleys and streets around the winding canals is stunning.  Stumbling across ancient churches, squares, palaces and more, looking up at the colorful shutters and window boxes in narrow alleyway homes, it's just extraordinary. Then to have the gondolas float by, some with music and couples in love -- it's just phenomenal.  You must go.

I thrillingly wrote this post in under an hour as part of HubSpot's 30-Day Blog Challenge, using 15 of my 60 minutes digging for the knicked-up external hard drive which contained the photos from my trip and was buried under boxes and files and dust.

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