10.17.13

LAST STOP, VENICE, ITALY

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we took the italia rail from rome (see that post here!) to our last stop, venice. the train took about 3.5 hours and cost us each around $150 for first class. we got to all sit together in seats that faced each other, drink mini champagnes and enjoy the scenery. so relaxing!

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let me start off by saying that venice is definitely one of the most interesting places that i’ve ever traveled to. probably because everything was new and exciting. you load your luggage onto a boat and just take in this magical city. we were all pretty giddy at this point. you don’t really think about until you arrive how there really aren’t roads, just tiny little alleyways that you will get lost in, countless bridges and water around every turn. it was pretty unreal, really. much more of a wander and find a good spot sort of place…

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definitely not the most luggage-friendly destination (lugging our bags over 3 bridges, cobblestone streets and up a flight of stairs.) but our apartment made it worth it. we rented this one from airbnb as well (you can rent it here) the hosts gave us endless recommendations and tips.

talking to a local is so important, so you can get those silly questions out of the way. (what’s the tipping like here at restaurants? what about the public transportation? what time is best for dinner?) so many things are different over there! we stayed only a 5 minute walk from the rialto bridge and i really liked our little area.

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the home of two architects, everything had it’s place. they brought a lot of treasures back from their travels from asia. the kitchen was my favorite part…open, airy, beautiful lights, open shelving, two balconies looking over the canal. it was where we hung out the most.

CLICK BELOW TO READ THE ENTIRE VENICE POST…

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i loved the white beams & floors, of course. and how about those little bells hanging from colored string? a nice touch indeed.

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i spent a lot of time on that balcony. one of my favorite things about venice was ducking into a cicchetti bar around 5pm. (they reminded me of this champagneria in barcelona we went to.) common cicchetti include tiny sandwiches, plates of olives or other vegetables, halved hard boiled eggs, small servings of seafood or meat laid on little slices of bread. they pair perfectly with a “spritz,” which is prepared with prosecco wine, a dash of some bitter liqueur like aperol, and then topped off with sparkling mineral water. take your plate out to the street and share!

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we did make a mistake that had us a little shaken up. in venice they have a waterbus called the vaporetto. it looked simple enough to use, a little expensive but worth it after a long day of walking. we paid for a 36 hour pass and they pointed us on which one we wanted to take. apparently they work more on an honor system of whether you actually paid for your ticket, so you can get a pretty big fine if you get busted for not having one. what they didn’t tell us was that we needed to validate our ticket in this little machine before we got on our first ride. the area was crowded and we just didn’t see it. so when they came around to check tickets, we smiled and handed him ours. he looked at us funny and said “this is not good.” he said we each owed him a 60 euro fine right now because he couldn’t tell if our tickets were old or new. he made us get off at the next stop to pay him. this is when my mind started spinning a little bit “what if this guy is just a random guy who wants to rip us off?” he wasn’t wearing anything that made him look official and his two assistants dressed in normal clothes met us when we got off. pretty confused on whether we should pay this dude…or run (ha) he finally said we only needed to pay only one fine or he would call the police. i didn’t want to mess with all that, we paid it and just decided it wasn’t a big deal if we split it and just moved on from the scenario. so take this lesson, validate your ticket. or it’s annoying. have you heard of this scenario? i wished we had seen that sign!

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anyways, on to better memories. the peggy guggenheim collection was incredible. probably my favorite museum that i’ve ever visited. all of the artwork is hanging on the walls of her former home, so it’s very approachable in size. a great daytime activity looking at beautiful modern art. i liked the garden & cafe here too. peggy was one cool chick, i tell ya.

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the bridge by the peggy museum had a bunch of love locks on it. sure, it’s a little cheesy, but i still think it’s a cute gesture. it was pretty cold when we arrived in venice because of the rain. that place can sure be melancholy…

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we slept in and woke up to the rain quite a bit. our host set us up with bacon, eggs, toast and coffee for our slow starting mornings. victoria taught me how to poach an egg (how did i not realize it was that easy?) one of the nights we were all really exhausted and the girls made a bacon carbonara at home that was excellent. i probably had 3 or 4 servings. the perks of traveling with two good cooks!

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i loved all of the planters in the windows. and just like rome, the blushy pink buildings were striking. we just wore comfortable slouchy sweaters & beanies everyday…

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our last meal, trattoria all madonna! many people on my instagram told me this was a must-go meal. bellinis to start, delicious crab in the shell,  and squid ink pasta (it sure looks gross, but it was SO good) the environment was lively and hip. you must go right when they open because they get very busy! our waiter was quite sassy and pretty much chose what we were going to eat, but we were okay with that.

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and we ended the trip with a gondola ride (we had to!) with only the lights in the apartment windows, our gondola man sang to us through the small, echoing canals. definitely a memory we will never forget as friends.

i have to take arian back to this beautiful place. and i really would love to visit the amalfi coast next time. have you been to venice? did you love it? i lot of people told me it was very touristy and smelled terrible. i didn’t have that experience. yes, the shopping was not my favorite there (seriously, a mask store on every corner it felt like) but i thought venice was wonderful. very happy we went.

(this post was sponsored by airbnb, all opinions are my own. photos by designlovefest)

54 COMMENTS

Add your own

    Libby says:

    Venice is one of my favorites. It only smells in random corners during the summer when everything heats up. Peggy Guggenheim is by far my favorite museum. Made me see art and its purpose in a new, exciting light. I had a rush of nostalgia and beautiful, forgotten memories of my experiences in Venice. Thanks for sharing Bri!

    i LOVE this post because i was just in venice for the first time two weeks ago. we were a bit apprehensive about it and actually almost cancelled that portion of our trip because we had heard so many negative remarks, however we ended up absolutely loving it! agree with you about the shopping, but it is such a magical place unlike anywhere else in this world.

    and as far as the amalfi coast, YES you must must go. we spent six days there last year {stayed in Positano and took a day trip to Capri} and it was by far one of the best experiences of my entire life. the food, the people, the scenery, the shopping…it is a truly remarkable place.

    Molly {Dreams in HD}
    http://dreamsinhd.blogspot.com/

    Tiffany says:

    I haven’t been to Venice in years…this reminded me of just how much I loved it.

    catherine says:

    Lovely post. I just went to a day trip to Venice but I loved it because it’s like no place else on earth!

    Re: validating tickets, I think it is a standard system in the whole of Italy. When my friend and I took a train from Pisa to Florence, the machine was not obvious and we had no idea about it so did the same as you: smilingly handed over our tickets, completely oblivious. We were two 16 year olds travelling alone together at the time so the shock of an expensive fine nearly had us in tears. The train conductor relented and said we could pay him 10 euros each, which he clearly pocketed for himself!

    the thing about venice is that it gets better every time you go. it takes a bit of time to sort past the mask shops and really dig into the little corners that make it something truly special. glad you enjoyed your trip!

    Rachael says:

    The boat system is the same in most of Europe. I don’t think i’ve ever paid for public transportation in Germany hahaha. In Switzerland, you will get a 100 chf fine but you don’t have to pay it on the spot. I got that one time on the way home from a job interview, but i had just gotten the job so i didn’t care haha

    jaclyn says:

    My first trip abroad with my husband (back when we were college kids) was to Italy.
    We made the mistake of starting in Venice and then going to Rome. I would not recommend that order. After being in Venice and loving the laid back, meandering pace of life, stepping off the train in Rome was like a smack in the face. LOUD!, fast paced, rough and tumble. We were like, “let’s go back to Venice!”

    I had read online about how imperative it is to have your train ticket validated so we pretty much assumed that for all transportation.

    Side note: my husband and I don’t usually buy tram tickets in Prague (I know, I know, so bad!) and last year we were pulled off by the transportation authority and they tried to scare us into paying 100 euro each!! Which is actually legal for them to do. I started crying and I think their English skills weren’t very good so they didn’t know how to rectify the situation so they let us go. We will never get on another tram without a paid ticket again!

    Stephanie says:

    Oh, my what a dream. Venice was my favorite stop on our two-week tour of Italy a few years ago. We were only able to spend one day there and I’m dying to get back and explore more of the little nooks and crannies that city has to offer. Looks like you had an awesome trip!

    xo

    Looks like you had a great time! I would love to visit Venice one day, it all just seems so beautiful and dream-like.

    Candice says:

    Bri, I was there at the beginning of October. It rained the entire time, but we still made the best of it. OMG…I hear you on the validating ticket scenario. Thankfully we learned that right at the train terminal that all transportation tix needed to be validated (we were running around like mad women trying to find the darn little validation boxes…lol). Glad you enjoyed your time in Venice. I too, though, thought it was very touristy. Thankfully we were very well versed by friends on how to avoid the ultra touristy traps and ended up at the local-favored spots.I was on a budget so stayed in Veneto just outside of Venice, but man your rental apartment looked amazing!

    stacy says:

    first off, LOVE italy! i’ve been to cinque terre, siena, milan & bergamo and its all lovely. i share your ticket story, though!

    last year i was studying in paris & a friend was studying in milan. i spent a weekend with her there, and my flight home was out of bergamo. we took the train to bergamo, looked for a place to validate our tickets and didn’t see one. so we sat down to enjoy the ride. 15 minutes later we had a very angry italian man yelling at us that we owed 100 euro fine! we definitely couldn’t afford it at the time either…there was a lot of arguing in english & bad italian, but eventually he gave up and let us go. very stressful, but it all worked out fortunately 🙂 apparently the ticket validation machine was back on the train station platform! ugh. but bergamo was a cute little village and we were happy we spent the time in the town.

    your post has made me really want to visit venice now!

    bri says:

    glad we were not the only ones with the ticket situation. we felt so foolish!

    Stormie says:

    this whole post makes me smile 🙂

    Julia says:

    I’m Italian (born Canadian to Italian immigrants) and while I’ve been to Italy many times, i’ve never been north of Rome. So, a couple of years ago my boyfriend planned us a beautiful 14-day trip that began in Rome and took us through Tuscany until we finished in Venice. I’d never seen anything so beautiful – and while I had heard about the smell , too – i didn’t experience it either. Sure it’s very touristy and busy by the corridors surrounding the square, but if you veer of course and allow yourselves to meander through the alleys, it’s the most laid back, wonderful city!

    On the last day of our trip, we wandered the streets of Venice, had many a Spritz, saw an opera at La Fenice, shared a perfect dinner and then, on our way back to our room, my boyfriend got down on one knee in the middle of a beautifully-lit Piazza San Marco and proposed. So, Venice holds a special little spot in my heart.

    bri says:

    what a nice story, julia!

    gracie says:

    That validation thing happened to me in Melbourne! So annoying! He let me off though because a bunch of other commuters were like hey she’s on holiday, leave her alone. I clearly had no clue! I went to Positano, it was a dream. You should go with your boyfriend, definitely a super romantic place. That photo of you and your friend in the door, the b&w one, so so so good!

    ha! clearly the validation system is making them a lot of money. i’m so glad we weren’t the only ones who missed it! such a good time no matter what!! let’s go get in some more trouble! xx

    Anonymous says:

    You know I’ve always wanted you to see Venice. I wish I could have been there to see you experience it. I’ve always told people if you can only go to one place in Europe, make it Venice. Magical and romantic!!! Love, Mommy

    giulia says:

    I’ve been to Venice several times (I am Italian so I just give myself the right to visit often, ha). One time, with my whole family, we rented an apartment by Rialto and spent there two weeks in the winter. It was beautiful! Having an apartment changes your experience completely. Our hosts were a librarian and a painter and they had a child my age (I must have been twelve), so their house was super cozy and perfect!
    Your apartment looks ridiculously gorgeous though! I am so happy for you, it looks like an amazing trip:)

    Katie says:

    Venice is my favorite in Italy. The first time I visited, I was 16 and I remember so vividly stepping off the train and feeling that sense of wonder. That city is so magically beautiful 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    I went to Venice when I was 18 with a group of my best friends and we had an amazing time there. We got horribly lost, haha, but also saw amazing things we would have never had the opportunity to see. While we were lost, we actually each bought a mask to cheer ourselves up, and a group of elderly italian women ended up clapping and chanting ‘Maskalinas, Maskalinas!’ at us as we roamed. Such a magical place. My husband has never been and I would love to take him someday…

    Anneli says:

    Oh my goodness these pictures! They are amazing! You make me want to pack my bags right away 🙂

    Elcin says:

    Great adventure in Venice! It must be a dreamland ❤️

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    Cassie says:

    Copenhagen has an honor system with their metro bus and train system as well! Beautiful city, but very important to know 🙂 even my grandma got fined for forgetting to check one time!

    Emily says:

    Isn’t Venice magical?! Ahh, you’ve left me wanting to go back!:) You clearly had a dreamy time, but I hope you might find a few of my tips helpful for when you do return: http://offtheshelftheblog.com/culture/travel/travel-mondays-postcards-from-venice/!

    Emily says:

    P.S. The same thing (ticket invalidation) happened to me in Nice, France! So annoying! My situation was very similar–just didn’t see the ticket validation machine. Another reason why it never hurts to ask a local.:)

    Sarah says:

    I lived in Italy for a semester (studying art in Florence). I loved Venice and you HAVE to visit the Amalfi Coast– so gorgeous!

    Kati says:

    The Amalfi coast is absolutely stunning! I took a drive along the coast and the views took my breath away. There are tons of cute pottery shops in the little town, along with some of the biggest lemons I’ve ever seen. If you go, please please please buy some local lemoncello!

    jing says:

    really love the color tone of each photo, mind to do a tutorial? 🙂

    Carrie says:

    Well, I see there’s no longer any need to offer comfort about the fines for unvalidating tickets! Sorry about that, though. it’s an unfortunate rite of passage for traveling in Italy. I agree on Venice entirely… it’s a fantastic place and entirely unique. I live a couple of hours away by train. Some years I’m there just a few times and others it seems I’m there once a month… and it’s magic EVERY TIME.

    Marjory says:

    Beautiful photos. Magical moments in a dreamy city.

    Stacia says:

    These pictures are so lovely. I want to visit this city so badly!

    Absolutely stunning! Venice AND you ladies. 😉

    Elina says:

    I read your story with tickets and remembered mine. It also was in Italy, only it was with train tickets. We knew that we need to validate them in some kind of machine before we get on train. But we somehow couldn’t find this machine in the train station. So we got on our train with unvalidated tickets. In our train wagon air was hot like a hell, there was something wrong with air condition. At first we thought that it is really bad, but… it wasn’t bad! That was good because none ticket controller want to come in our wagon. They only controlled tickets in the wagons with good air condition. 😀 Lucky we! 🙂

    Sette Design says:

    My Grandmother was friends with Peggy Guggenheim, the story goes that when she came to visit, she took over the whole house. I often wondered if my Grandmother ever visited her in that house in Venice, man is it gorgeous. I am living in Italy for ten years and I’ll tell you everyone gets busted for that validation thing, that is true everywhere and on trains too. I think it is a racket and not a nice welcome to this amazing country.
    Cheers
    natalie

    Elena says:

    Loved your post and you made me miss Venice so much! I am originally from a small town close to it and did my architecture degree in the city. To me, there’s nothing like it in the world: I hope you had a great great time.

    i dunno why, but i just started tearing up looking at this post again. such a fun trip and such fond memories. 🙂

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    Louise says:

    Where did you stay? Could you recommend a place?

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