Must See Sights
Venice itself is a must-see sight and one of the best ways to soak up everything there is to see is by hopping on a gondola ride along the many canals in the city. Gondola rides have been used in the Lagoon for almost 1,000 years and were the standard mode of transport prior to the invention of motorboats.
Piazza San Marco, or St Mark’s Square to us, is another place that should definitely be on your Venice hit-list. It’s the city’s main public square and contains its most famous buildings such as St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Around the square you’ll find a variety of coffee shops and restaurants where you can perch and enjoy an espresso while watching the world go by.
St Mark’s Square gets even more beautiful at night, and has a much more laid back vibe after dark. In the evenings, the cafes swap caffeine for cocktails and serve up beautifully chilled mixes in elegant glasses. If you’d rather stray from the beaten track, head for the Campo San Margherita in the Dorsoduro District. This long, triangular plaza is really popular with students for its bars, beer gardens and ice-cream shops.
There are two souvenirs that are often found in people’s suitcases when they return from Venice, Murano glass and carnival masks. You can find plenty of cheap knock off versions around the city, but if you’re looking to bag the real deal then you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled and know what you’re looking for.
For authentic glass, the island of Murano is your best bet. This is glassmakers’ territory and most items wear the Vetro Artistico Murano trademark. For masks, the trick is simply to look for quality and a unique design. If there’s a whole display of identical masks, it’s likely they’re straight off a factory production line.
Feasts For All
For us, holidays are all about sampling new cuisines and enjoying the best of what different countries have on offer. Sarde in saor is a sweet-and-sour dish served as an appetiser in authentic Venetian restaurants all over the city. It’s made up of fried sardines marinated in a tangy mixture of vinegar, onions, pine nuts and raisins. Doesn’t sound like your sort of thing? What about cicchetti?
Cicchetti is similar to tapas, bitesized portions of fried food, which are perfect for sharing. It’s popular with locals and tourists alike, especially accompanied by pre-dinner drinks. One of the most common dishes you’ll find on the menu is olive ascolane – green olives stuffed with meat and deep fried.
To wash it all down, we definitely recommend giving a Venetian spritz a try. It’s Venice’s go-to cocktail, so you’ll have no trouble finding it on bar menus. It’s made with a bitter, red Italian liquor like Aperol, prosecco, a splash of soda and an orange garnish.