"Dishing the Sauce"
Travel Edition: Discover Venezia!
Monday August 7, 2017
When you think of Venice you imagine gondolas, Venetian masks, St. Marks and lights reflecting off the canals at night, creating the perfect ambience. In my opinion, Venice is all that and more! I am going to be breaking everything down on my trip to Italy, city by city. From the glamours moments, to the few not so glamorous ones. I will be filling you in on all the places we stayed, favorite restaurants, and of course ... the vino! Follow me as I adventure through ancient Rome, and get some R&R on coast of Sorrento. We will explore the ruins of Pompeii, and take a gondola ride through Venice. Last but certainly not least, we tour through Tuscany in mini fiats and go wine tasting! Our first stop on this Italian travel blog, Venezia!
When we booked our trip to Rome, we knew we didn’t want to stay in Rome the whole 2 weeks, however it was nice to have a “home base” there considering it's a good central point in Italy. The Loft we rented was only a 7 min walk to the train station, way convenient! We took the Freccia Rossa (train) everywhere. the ride from Rome to Venice was about 3.5 hours and a direct shot.
We arrived right before our 2PM check in at Hotel Papadopoli Venezia by Sofitel, which was conveniently located right across the canal from the train station. That being said, what wasn't so convenient, was that there is no easy way from point A to point B with your luggage because of the bridges and steps. Mixed that with the heat and humidity.... holy sweaty t*ts! The only other option would be getting a water taxi to take you on a one minute ride across the canal, which is pretty pointless. If anyone in charge is reading this *hint hint* it would be awesome if the hotel(s) could hook guests up with a small water shuttle that picked people up as a complimentary service with your stay... just sayin' !
Hotel Papadopoli Venezia .... where should I start?! It was a beautiful, boutique hotel with the perfect location. Aside from being close to the train station, there are also little shops, as well as restaurants within a short walking distance. The interior of the hotel was everything I would expect from a boutique hotel in Venice. It was decorated both very chic and beautiful. The interior was made up of rich, warm Venetian colors. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling, fancy mirrors on the walls, plush fabrics, and the most enchanting dining room, that magically brought the secret garden indoors! Sign me up!!
The hotel rooms were very nice and also clean, which is so important. I have found myself in some hotels (4 or 5 star) wiping down things, which isn’t acceptable in my world of OCD! The rooms had a complementary bottle of water for each of us, some chocolates and a box of biscottis, which I inhaled (sweets don’t last very long around me). My sister, brother in law, and I shared a room. They took the big bed and I slept in almost a “chair bed” which was about the size of a twin. Because I am a pretty petite and resemble a smurf, I didn’t have a problem sleeping in it, but for others it may have been a bit snug. The staff was very nice and accommodating, especially the hot guy who came to our room because he thought we were in need of something. I don’t remember what he mistakenly thought we needed, but in my head I was compiling up a list of things he could do for me like a kid on Christmas! Our room had a balcony which wasn’t huge, but it was a cute little balcony which overlooked the town and canal below.
After we settled at the hotel, ate a late lunch at a place near the hotel. We were convinced our waiter was a hit man straight out of a Jason Statham movie, I really wish we took a picture with him. I kept my meal pretty simple and just ordered a grilled chicken breast with fries. I am one of those people who can't eat anything real heavy in the heat, the fries were actually a bit too much. After lunch we walked around and checked out all the little shops. There is an abundance of both Venetian Masks and Murano glass in pretty much every shop you walk in... I mean every shop. I headed back to the hotel after browsing the shops to cool off, then met up with my sister and brother in law for drinks and dessert across the canal. All the restaurants have cute outside tables so you can sit at and watch the boats go by while you sip some bubbly! As evening approached we went back to the room for a bit and freshened up for an evening walk. Walking at night in Venice is much like walking around a movie set with all the old buildings, bridges, and eerie little pathways. I could envision Jack the Ripper emerging from of one of them, which is creepily why I loved them! The lights reflect off the canals creating a magical night setting.
There were plenty of people out and about drinking and hanging out in the streets. Upon our night stroll, we stumbled upon an old western type saloon bar…which was so completely random, we just had to check it out! I ordered a jack & coke and my sister and brother in law got nachos. I ended up sucking down my drink fairy quickly as they were shutting down, so the walk back was def a tipsy one!
The next and last day we decided to all do a Gondola ride and head to St Mark’s. We decided to grab one on one of the side canals, as opposed to a main one. For 5 people I think the cost was $80 for 40 min. I have to say, I know it’s such a touristy thing to do, but if you go to Venice you HAVE to go on a Gondola ride! It was nice to have a break from walking, and it was really peaceful and relaxing floating down all the little canals. It was also a great opportunity to take photos. The buildings all throughout Venice all have these amazing textures and colors from the natural wear and tear, they are really beautiful. Each building has so much character and history because of it, you can’t help but fall in love!
After the gondola ride we took a water taxi to St Mark’s, because it was a bit of a hike away. The water taxis... not going to lie, aren’t joyous. It’s the equivalent of a crowded city bus, during rush hour. They pack in as many people as they could like a heard of cattle. Mix that with the heat, and things could get a little “too close for comfort”. There are personal taxis, but who know how much those cost considering the regular one wasn’t cheap. The bright side of the water taxi ride is that it took us right there and I did manage to get some nice photos while on it. One of the things I shot while on it was the installation titled “Support” by Lorenzo Quinn, which I specifically wanted to see and photograph while I was there. The piece is of two large hands emerging from the water that seem to be supporting the Ca' Sagredo Hotel. Its a statement about the concerns of climate change and the rising sea levels on the historic city. It is part of Biennale di Venezia 2017, which I would love to attend one year!
When you arrive outside Piazza San Marco, you are welcomed by a bunch of sweet vendors selling art, Venetian masks, Murano glass, and other touristy type trinkets. When you get inside the piazza, the price goes up on everything in the stores, because of the location. The white buildings inside the piazza are very intricate, high detailed and beautiful, especially St. Marks Basilica. There are so many scenes going on within the detailing that you can't spot them all with the naked eye! I didn’t go in because I was wearing shorts and was "boycotting" buying another “cover up” for $1. It's their way of shaming you and making you wear a red letter "A" as a result of wearing shorts in the 100 degree heat haha! Look I know it’s a place of worship… but I personally think it’s just a convenient way for them to make money (and I’m sure they make a ton in the summer). After exploring around the piazza, we decided to hit up one of the restaurants there before heading back to the hotel, which I forgot the name of (go figure). After dinner we headed back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and chill a bit before heading to the train station.
I will conclude this by saying that I really enjoyed Venice, Hotel Pappadopoli, and all the beauty this floating city has to offer. Some of my favorite photos from the trip are the ones from Venice. I could stay there a few days just shooting photos alone. I would love to return, and hope to! It was definitely a place I would recommend to anyone traveling to Italy and will be a memory that I will never forget. Stay tuned for future blogs as we still have many more stops on this Italian adventure.. Ciao!!