*That are absolutely in no way good photo opportunities for the gram…
It’s October now, so that makes it winter, right? I mean, officially, winter doesn’t actually start until December 21 (apparently, who knew?) but in terms of temperature, it’s definitely here. I made the mistake of wearing cropped peg trousers to work this week, sans tights, and actually changed at lunchtime because my ankles felt like they were on ice.
So, why visit Venice in winter? There are many reasons. If you’re feeling pragmatic, then the best reasons to visit at this time of year are because 1) it’s actually pretty budget friendly and 2) it’s much, much quieter than during the peak season. Queues are bad enough at the best of time, even for us Brits, but when it’s freezing it is really is a deal breaker.
Aside from all of that, though, and channelling the more subjective side of my brain, is that fact that Venice really suits the winter. The colour palette is gorgeous, all moody blues and greys, and it’s also often shrouded in mist, which just adds to the charm. You might not be able to sit in St Mark’s Square and eat gelato with the sun beating down on your skin, but you can wrap up and walk the length and breadth of the city, stopping off at the occasional pub for fresh pasta and a glass of red to warm up. And we still got gelato, freezing cold or not.
Here’s my list of things to see and do in Venice…
- Walk around. The best thing to do in Venice is just walk around, because it’s so bloody gorgeous without even trying. It’s faded grandeur at its most charming, with flaking paint, tiny alleyways and endlessly beautiful canals.
- Visit the Rialto Bridge, the most well-known bridge in Venice. Take a selfie. Better still, make friends with the other hundred or so tourists there jostling around trying to get a perfect shot minus the double chin/overly prominently nostril/weird not-looking-at-the-camera standard selfie pose, and take photos of each other. Voila!
- Go to the Bridge of Sighs, otherwise known as the second busiest/second most well-known bridge in Venice. Fun fact; the Bridge of Sighs of is so-called because it would be the last part of Venice prisoners would see before they were consigned to their fate in the cells. Now it gets its name because you have to wait for about twenty minutes for all the other tourists to get out the way so you can take a selfie.
- Get flavoured tiramisu from Tre Mercanti. As someone who inhales tiramisu whenever I’m in Italy, it would have been rude not to make a visit to the place that’s rumoured to be the “best tiramisu in Venice’”, wouldn’t it? They serve it in a variety of different flavours which change on a daily basis, so I got an Amaretto flavoured version, and my other half got a chestnut and vanilla version. Both were gorgeous, so nice in fact that I actually really wish we came back for another one…
- Go to the oldest coffee shop in Venice, known as Florian’s. For heaven’s sake, don’t for a moment consider actually ordering food – certainly not an actual meal – because that would obliterate half your spending money.
- No, it’s famous for its traditional hot chocolate, which is thick, molten chocolate in a teacup, and is practically a meal in itself. Don’t put your umbrella on the table, as I did, as this will ruin with the ambience of the experience and will be swiftly moved by the waiter.
- Take the Murano, Burano, Torcello boat trip, where you’ll visit these three beautiful islands in one day. They’re all rather lovely – Murano is famous for its glass-blowing, and Torcello has a lovely Cathedral, as well as a very nice Italian lady selling sandwiches and ice cream outside it. But the stand out island is Burano, which is famous for its gorgeous rainbow coloured fishermen’s houses that look like something out of a dream. No pressure at all to get a great shot for the gram. At. All.
- You might be wondering where the gondola trip is on this list. We didn’t do one, which I’m actually totally fine with. Paying 80 euros to sit in a boat and be sung at in freezing cold November didn’t sound like at that much fun to me, so we swerved it. That left us plenty of time to explore the Jewish Ghetto and the Peggy Guggenheim museum, both of which are definitely worth seeing. I even had spare cash for an Aperol Spritz, winter or not.
So that was what we got up to. What about you? I got the tips about Caffe Florian and the flavoured tirimisu from another blog, so I’d love to hear your your travel tips.