Venice was the last stop on our BMW European Delivery adventure in September 2015.
Since we had our car, we chose to stay in Marghera at Casa Villa Gardenia, a couple of blocks from the Venezia Mestre train station.
The train ride from Marghera to Venezia is a short 4 minutes.
Knowing what I know now, I would more than likely choose to stay outside of the city even if we didn’t have a car.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all of the tourists searching for their hotel while lugging their suitcases up and down countless stairs and through unfamiliar narrow alleyways.
Our good friends visited Venice a week before we did and they said that’s exactly what happened to them.
Don’t get me wrong, Venice is a city you want to get lost in, but it’s a lot more fun without your luggage.
This was my first trip to Venice and I was overly excited to see the beauty of the city I’ve always heard about.
And it is indeed a gorgeous city.
But it’s also extremely touristy and crowded.
Right about now some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking here is a tourist complaining about tourists.
But here’s the thing: Venice is about 3 miles by 2 miles with 56,000 inhabitants. Throw in the 20 million tourists who visit every year and you’ve got an incredibly crowded small space.
I simply wasn’t prepared.
For example, I was looking forward to seeing the iconic Piazza San Marco:
But there were so many people pushing and shoving and selfie sticking, that it was difficult to enjoy the beauty of the square.
I took a couple of photos and then we got the heck out of there.
Ahh . . . much better.
Same thing for the Rialto Bridge. It was nothing like the image I had in my mind, and I couldn’t wait to get far, far away from the tacky shops and pushy tourists.
Once we realized where to go in order to avoid the chaos, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Venice.
Dorsoduro is one of the six sestieri (districts) of Venice and without a doubt, my favorite.
Dorsoduro has charming back streets, a tranquil atmosphere during the day, interesting sights, and laid-back bars and restaurants with a local vibe.
If I ever chose to stay in Venice, I’d stay in this neighborhood.
We found some great restaurants in the Dorsoduro area as well.
Ristorante La Piscina has a beautiful terrace on the Giudecca Canal.
They serve traditional Venetian and Mediterranean dishes.
Osteria Enoteca ai Artisti was by far our favorite meal in Venice.
There aren’t many tables so you’ll want to make reservations ahead of time. We sat outside at one of the three tables along the water.
Unfortunately I do not have any good food photos from our meal, but I do have this photo of the menu.
Definitely eat here when your travels take you to Venice.
Another one of our favorite restaurants was Trattoria da Alvise located in Sestiere Cannaregio.
I really enjoyed their pizza:
And John loved their lasagna.
It took a little reading and research ahead of time, but I feel like we found some quality restaurants in Venice.
We chose not to go on a gondola ride.
I know people say it is the number one must-do experience in Venice, but again, the image in my head seemed way more romantic.
So we chose to take our cash to Estro, a fun wine bar located in Dorsoduro.
I’m glad we were able to stop in Venice for a couple of days while we were in Italy.
I had to laugh when I recently read someone describe the city “as frustrating as it is fascinating”.
I feel like that perfectly describes how I feel about Venice.
Once we escaped the chaotic crowds and tacky shops, the vibe of the city quickly transformed from theme-park-like to delightfully charming.
Click HERE to read more about places we have been in Italy.