Interrailing: Venice (Top 10)

I’m in love with Italy.

I think I have been for a while now although the first time I went to Italy was earlier this summer. I love the food, the people, the climate, the buildings and after this trip, I really love the ease of a country being in the euro!
I’m amazed we’ve survived Venice on such little sleep! We woke up on the 10th at 4am. Considering we’d been up drinking on my birthday the day before, it was a pretty horrendous wake up! At 4.45 we got a taxi to the bus station and got the 5.15 bus to Rovinj to get the only boat of the day from there to Venice. Amazingly, as a person who very very rarely sleeps sitting up, I slept for an hour an a half! Not even dosing- I was properly asleep! We arrived in sunny Venice late morning and after a water bus and a lot of faff we eventually found our b&b. It’s called Ca Querini and the lady that owns it is sooo cute!
Like my Berlin blog, I’m going to write about my top 10 from Venice. We only spent two days here so we didn’t do absolutely everything but I feel like we’ve definitely seen a good amount of the city.
10. The history. 
Yeah I know, sounds kinda lame but if you are in Venice, you’ll see history all around you as there is nothing new! Most of the houses are around little courtyards called ‘campos’. Campo is Italian for field because that’s what they used to be and in the centre of each is a well. Venice has around 7,000 wells that were opened up twice a day for the common people to wash themselves in. Most of them also have a little bowl built in that was to give water to the cats. This started in the 16th century when they needed the cats to kill the mice that were spreading the plague.
9. Jewish Ghetto.

We’ve seen a few Jewish quarters on this trip but this one was by far the smallest! The Jewish ghetto is the oldest in Europe. Most of them came from Spain and Portugal in the 16th century and would pay to be protected.  The only job the Christians would let them have was money lenders so they owned all the banks including Banco Rosso, Italy’s oldest bank. One thing that’s special about the ghetto is that some of the buildings have 7 storeys whereas the rest of Venice follows a rule that you’re not allowed more than 4 (although I saw quite a few with 5…)

8. St. Marco’s Square. 

I mentioned earlier that all the houses are around courtyards called ‘campos’. The reason they are not called squares is because there is only one square in Venice; San Marco. Around the square there are many buildings such as the palace, cathedral, watch tower, museums and more. If you’ve got money to splash then I’d recommend eating in one of the restaurants in the square as you can eat your yummy Italian food whilst being serenaded by a string quartet! 

7. Astrological Clock. 

This is one of the buildings situated in San Marco’s Square and is quite pretty. From bottom to top you will see; an astrological clock, a normal clock (which looks like a digital clock but with Roman numerals) and on the top there are two moors that rotate to ring a bell every hour. The term ‘moors’ refers to people from Greece, Turkey and North Africa who were Venice’s closest partners in trade. The statues are of one old moor and one young moor to represent the past and future of Venice’s relationship with the moors. 

6. Boats. 

Quite simple but I really like boats. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up regularly visiting my Grandparents who live along the Thames and I’ve been on a boat there quite a few times. It took me a while to realise that the Venetian people don’t own cars, in fact, can’t own cars! People have private boats, boat taxis, boat buses, and obviously there are gondolas. The boat bus costs 7.50€ no matter how far you’re going but it’s quite slow so you can really soak up the view! (We found that out this morning when we missed our train to Florence!). Gondolas cost 80€ for half an hour so you would probably only do this if you’re a baller and/or on a romantic getaway. HOWEVER, There are three points along the grand canal where you can pay just 2€ to cross the river in one. Still a rip off but it’s probably worth it for the selfie! 

Water bus;
5. Grand Canal. 
As you can guess, it is just a big canal that goes straight through the city. Most of the water busses go through here, water taxis, gondolas and also MASSIVE cruise ships! It’s quite impressive how they manage to organise it all and people don’t crash!
4. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection. 

Apparently the number one thing to do in Venice, but I don’t understand art so it’s been bumped down to 4th. It costs 15€ for an adult or 9€ for a concession. After losing her father on the Titanic, The heiress became one of the great collectors of the 20th century. She was a Jewish American so she fled Paris just two days before the Nazis took over and in 1948 settled in Venice. Her house is now the location of the museum and amongst all the artwork there are pictures of what each room used to look like, furnished with all the surrealist, futurist and abstract expressionist art. Amongst the art there is Max Ernst (her ex-husband), Jackson Pollock (one of her many rumoured lovers), Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. There is also a temporary exhibition too.  That probably made me sound quite art savvy but really I had no idea what was going on. I don’t understand how someone can paint a red square on a green canvas and call it art. However, this is a picture of The Poet which I had actually heard of!

3. Rialto Bridge and Academia Bridge. 

These are two of the very few bridges that cross the Grand Canal. Rialto Bridge is the more famous one as it is the true centre of Venice. It took around 700 years to build out of stone (was originally wood) and has small shops on it which are good for souvenirs. Sadly, when we went there was a lot of scaffolding both on and around the bridge so we didn’t get many nice pictures.

The best place to get good pictures of the canal is from Academia Bridge. It crosses from the centre to where the art galleries are and while the bridge is alright to look at, the views either side are amazing!


2. The food. 

Pizza, pasta, risotto, gelato….. My list could go on for a very long time! I love Italian food a lot and I can eat a lot of it in one go! Glass of prosecco to wash it down and I am a very happy girl!

1. St. Marco’s Cathedral. 

Although it seems to have a constant queue outside of it, it only lasts 5-10 minutes and is totally worth it! It’s free to enter and you have to be absolutely silent and you can’t take pictures. (Although people broke these rules which annoyed me – I think it’s a bit of a pet hate now!) As you can imagine, it’s a very large cathedral but what you may not be able to imagine is the entire ceiling covered in golden mosaic with religious figures and scenes from the bible. If I ever went to a service there I would probably spend the whole time staring upwards! One thing to be careful about though, outside there are signs saying that you can’t take in bags if they’re any bigger than a small handbag and they mean it. Annoyingly, I (after queuing) had to walk down a small road 100m from the cathedral to leave my rucksack in a free locker.

Extra facts

  • Country: Italy
  • Country Population: 60 million 
  • Spoken language: Italian 
  • Unit of currency: Euro (€)
  • Time zone: GMT +1
Food rating: 10/10 
Tackiest gift: There are loads of shops selling things made of glass. However, I don’t know why anyone would like a big, colourful glass weiner….
What I would do different:  Id have liked to have done a day trip to Verona but obviously didn’t have time! 
I can’t believe we only have 3 nights left!! My next blog post will be Florence and Pisa and then I’ll be home!! Time flies eh…
Annalise x