Last week I gave you the full play-by-play on all our Rome adventures and now I am back to follow up with everything pertaining to the Floating City, otherwise known as Venice… and personally my favorite city in Italy.
In four days, we were able to spend our time walking the city streets, exploring the canals, taking in all the historical sights and museums and then venturing to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano as well. So much charm packed into this precious place and I was SO thrilled that Carson chose it for her 10th birthday… so first up, I am sharing our daily itinerary with some of the must-do’s and then giving a bit more details below as well!
We took the high speed train from Rome to Venice [highly recommend by teh way] and arrived at the Venice, Santa Lucia Train Station early that afternoon. We had arranged a private boat transfer from thee to our hotel, which made it super easy + convenient. Our hotel, the Splendid Venice is where we stayed and it was absolutely perfect… close to various sights + attractions, lots of restaurants + shops, quiet canal with a great on-site restaurant for breakfast + lively rooftop bar for nighttime cocktails. We rented two rooms for the four of us [which had connecting doors for easy access] and it was plenty of space for our family, while Mimi and Pappy were right down the hall in their own room.
That afternoon, our tour guide joined us to escort us to our provate gondola ride tour through the Grand Canal… we chose the 1-hour trip which was AMAZING = we got to experience so much of Venice… both the tourist sights and then quieter canals and bridges as well. Luckily for us, CheyAnne + Doug from L’Amour de Paris arrived from Paris and were able to meet us for some fun candid-style shots of all of us in the gondolas for memorable photos!
That evening, we hopped over to Ristorante Al Barbacani for a casual dinner experience… super tasty and quiet with lots of incredible options to choose from to eat [the mussels + lobster pasta were FAB!] and then we called it an early night after a long day of travel and getting acclimated to everything Venice.
Our first full day in Venice started off with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel [super convenient with lots of options everyone enjoyed] and then we began our private walking tour! We took the first 1/2 of the day to see all the famous hotspots… we toured St. Mark’s Basilica, went through the Doge’s Palace, walked through the market + Rialto Bridge and then spent the afternoon sightseeing on our own [FYI: a 1/2 day tour is the ideal amount of time when visiting museums/historic monuments with kids… longer than that = they lose interest]. From the recommendation of our guide, we hit up 1000 Gourmet for lunch, and it was the tastiest place to try upsale, gourmet style pizzas… family friendly, lively and in the heart of the city… also very good for people watching and drinking an Aperol or two as well 😉
That evening, we wandered back over to St. Mark’s Square for a tasty treat… dessert at Cafe Florian! It’s definitely a must-see bistro packed full of Italian charm… endless treats including Italian-inspired sweet confections, yummy sipping chocolate and a live band for the best music in the most famous square in Venice!
Another jam-packed full-of-fun kind of day started the next morning with an early morning photoshoot with CheyAnne and Doug = I truly cannot believe we got to have them come join us in Italy for a second year of photos together… a moment I’ll never forget with cherished photos and a vintage-style 8mm film we will forever treasure [another entire post coming with that though!!]
After our photos, we got changed and then went mask making… another huge hit for everyone in our crew, I’d 100% recommend this for kids AND big kids alike… such a unique cultural activity with an authentic mask atelier! We selected the mask shapes we wanted, then spent the next hour painting each of our masks and adorning them with all the beads and feathers = they were such great teachers in sharing the background of Venetian masks while we worked away!!
That afternnon, we opted for an outdoor lunch because the weather was just THAT perfect so our amazing tour guide took us to Ombra del Leone… I feel like you know you’re at a local gem when you see hoards of gondoliers eating there and it didn’t disappoint! The best lasagna with picturesque scenery of the Grand Canal and lots of high-end boutiques to shop nearby as well = my kind of vibe!
Some of our crew decided it was high time for an afternoon rest session, so Mimi and I took some time to explore and get souvenirs for the family. That evening, we stumbled upon Suso Gelato and it was hands down the best gelato in Venice… multiple locations for easy access and no, don’t ask how many times we visited = their pistachio was simply the best I’ve ever had!
Our last day in Venice… or so we thought!! How could it be??? But I assure you, we saved the absolute best for last… started off with another gorgeous day of weather and the fact we got to spend it on a boat tour of Murano + Burano was just icing on the cake!
One of the most authentic experiences of the trip was our private tour and meet and greet with the team at Massimilliano Schiavon… a 6th generation glassblower, we got to meet the owner/artist and he was super kind. We toured the glassblowing studios and even the girls got to get in on the action and learned how to blow the glass!! Then we went to the shoppe and I picked out a new vase that came home with us = a truly once in a lifetime visit and absolutely mesmerizing to watch firsthand.
Once we left Murano, we headed to the sister island of Burano, famous for their Italian lace. We walked the streets, taking in all the wonderfully beautiful shops and then made our way to La Perla Gallery… one of the oldest and most respected lace maker families in Burano… something I could waych for hours because it makes you understand just how much time goes into their craft.
That evening, we waltzed over to Antica Poste Vecie to have a belated celebration for Carson’s 10th birthday!! One of the oldest restaurants in Venice. packed with charm + authentic cuisine [lots of seafood + yummy oysters] and a great way to end our incredible trip to Italy.
All good things must come to an end… haha, just kidding! Our departure date got changed as United cancelled our flights merely hours before we were set to leave [again I’ll spare you the details and just say don’t fly with them… like EVER]. We made the best of it and stayed overnight at a local hotel, and then had to revise stops on our journey home, but thank goodness it was at the end of our trip… no worries, we will be back! Ciao for now dear Italy 😉