A Long Weekend in Venice
Ah, Italy… a close second on my list of favorite places second only behind Scotland (though Ally would probably tout Italy as her favorite!).
This is the first of a three part series outlining our two-week, three-City Italian family vacation. We begin with a long weekend in Venice *heart eyes*.
We flew from Houston to Venice, with a layover in Frankfurt, Germany. Our flight departed at 6:10pm CST and landed at 11:40pm (4:30 AM CST) in Frankfurt.
We had about an hour in the Frankfurt International Airport to grab a coffee and a pastry before hopping over to the City of Islands! We landed in Venice’s Marco Polo Airport where we had a water taxi waiting for us. Our Water Taxi took us directly to our hotel… it was amazing and felt very James Bond Esc.
We stayed at the JW Marriott where the hotel pretty much comprises it’s own Island and you must use a Water Taxi to get to and from the main part of Venice. When we checked into the hotel, the first thing on the list was to head to the rooftop pool for some R&R (and… maybe a nap or two to fight the jet lag!). The pool was gorgeous and the temperature was a little cool, but definitely warm enough to swim when the sun was shining! The rest of our Sunday afternoon was spent poolside, munchin’ on fruit and sippin’ on mimosas!
On our first night, we had reservations at the restaurant on the roof terrace of the JW Marriott Hotel. This was done on purpose because it meant that we were able to leisurely wander up to the hotel restaurant and that those of us who were tired after dinner could easily return to their rooms while we adjusted to the European time zone. This restaurant was so beautiful and had panoramic views of Venice!
On day two, we woke up bright and early and headed over to the main city of Venice with no plan other than to get lost in the little streets (our favorite way to explore a new city). We were heading to Rome next, and had a pretty packed schedule with some sight-seeing tours, so in Venice we decided to just wander and “explore” – this turned out to be the best option for us – we had sooo much fun. We didn’t have any lunch plans booked for this day until we stumbled upon a gorgeous little lunch place in the middle of a beautiful square and sat down for some pizza and wine! As we were eating, a little band started to play… it was all very italian 😉
We had gelato at least once a day! Around 3PM, when we had walked for hours and seen tons of Venice, we decided to head back to our hotel, before coming back over to the San Marcos square for dinner.
This night, we had dinner plans at the Hotel Monaco which overlooks the Grand Canal! It is super highly rated and apparently the food is delicious. Buuuut… when we got there, we realized that there was a dress code (long pants for men) which we had not anticipated. It ended up being a good thing for us though, because we just wandered again and found a super cute hole in the wall restaurant (it didn’t even have a name). This one was about a 25 min walk from the main city center and was definitely a family owned, local hub! When we wrapped up dinner, around 10PM we decided to hop on a gondola to see some of the City at night. Our gondola driver told us that this was the best time to see Venice as the “locals” do (another one of my favorite things to do) because most of the tourists have gone back to their hotels for the night. It was so quiet that we could hear the conversations people were having inside their houses as we floated by!
Our third and final day in Venice was much the same… we slept in and had breakfast by the pool (overlooking Venice – amazing) and then headed back to the San Marcus Square area for some more exploring and to get some dinner. Again, we didn’t have reservations and we ate at a restaurant right in the San Marcus square and had the yummiest bread and pasta! After dinner we strolled down the Grand Canal and stopped for an espresso before heading back to the hotel!
The next day, we were off to Rome! (The Rome blog for our trip is coming soon!)
If you’re flying into a European city that requires a layover for your flight (like Houston-Venice), I have to recommend splitting your trip into one long flight and a shorter one (instead of flying via New York or Chicago where your “Atlantic leg” will be shorter). A ten hour flight like this one gives you more of a chance to sleep and to combat jet-lag on the other end!
*When you book a water taxi, your driver (Captain?/Sailor?) will welcome you at the baggage claim and customs area, holding a sign with your name and the company logo.
*if you’re staying in the JW Marriot, there is a water taxi at the hotel which is free and ferries people back and forth to the main Island every 30 minutes – many of the other hotels in Venice have a similar service.