I’m going to gear this post towards food. There will be things to do and stories, but it’s Italy!
We decided to stay at an Airbnb in Mestre as it was cheaper with the two of us than a hostel individually. We had quite the experience getting there.
The bus stops in Mestre then goes to Tronchetto on the island. We got off at Mestre and asked the transportation desk about getting to our Airbnb. We bought a transport card and loaded it with 5 trips at 1.50 euros each (you just pay for the rides). Then you tap it once on the bus and one ride is about 70 minutes.
The directions to our airbnb weren’t clear and we ended up asking 10 people for directions in English and Italian/Spanish. Our bus driver saw us walk by several times and before he restarted his route, stopped and helped us for 6 minutes.
Once we checked in and had a moment to breathe, we burst out laughing. It was such an experience.
After such an adventure we got a drink in the bar, our airbnb was above a restaurant. Campari is an alcohol from Italy and they use it in Spritz. However, put of the different options, Campari is a very bitter selection. My friend didn’t like it so I had both of ours.
I liked it. But again, it’s bitter.
The next day we planned on meeting friends, T and L from Slovenia post, at the free walking tour called Venice Free Walking Tour. They request you register prior so they can get a head count. They are very precise on how many people go with a guide.
The tour was good, she did her best to inform us through the lens of a local and the 4 of us ended up eating at a place she recommended (near where the tour stops). As mentioned in the Slovenia post, L is vegan and, therefore, got pizza with no cheese, just dough and sauce essentially. I had a piece and it was actually very good. M also got a pizza. The tour guide said fish dishes were more Venice so I went with a salmon gnocchi. Also, very good.
True Napoli pizza is made in a wood burning oven. These are illegal in Venice and, therefore, the pizzas there aren’t true “Italian” ones.
M and I proceeded to have 2 gelatos before the day was finished. So many different flavors! L wanted one, but due to being vegan he didn’t even bother looking. Unfortunately, after the boys left, M and I found a place that made vegan gelato. So for you vegan or lactose intolerant travelers, they exist!
M and I discovered this cool second hand book Shop where they have gondolas filled with books inside. There are also stairs made out of books to see the canal.
Before the 4 of us split ways we went to the roof of the Rialto, a big mall near the gran canal and the big bridge. It’s free to enter, just follow the red escalators all the way up then the stairs one more floor. There might be a line so go earlier or plan accordingly. Also, this mall has free WiFi and free bathrooms. The views are incredible!
Fun fact: Always look at the doors on the canal as those entrances are more fancy than the entrances from the street. This is because back in the day, the rich families would only travel by both versus the servants used the land entrance. The bridges weren’t made til later.
Our guide also showed us the Marco Polo house, which is now a theater, however, most of this true homes were burnt down back in the 1500s.
San Marco square is the main tourist sight and, therefore, should be avoided in terms of getting food. Everything is more expensive and probably not that good.
Any place with pictures, avoid. More touristy and more expensive. And, if you are at a bar or cafe, if you stand and drink your coffee, it’s cheaper than sitting. They have a sitting fee. At restaurants it’s a utensil fee essentially. Normally around 1.50/2 depending on how fancy it is.
We met with some local Venetian through a mutual friend and they took us out for drinks and the Italian version of tapas called cicchetti. I had a similar drink of campari, but with artichoke and M had the sweet version, we liked our drinks. I then had a prosecco, the Italian champagne.
They gave us tips for dinner and breakfast. For dinner, we went to this restaurant called Baba and we had some vegetarian dishes that were delicious. A bit expensive, but worth it. For breakfast, they said Italians normally have a filled croissant, normally with chocolate, and coffee.
When we left Venice we had these cookies with jam and or chocolate fillings that we saw everywhere there.
Our original plan was to do Padua as well, but we ran out of time and didn’t want to run through it. Verona was lovely. We went to Juliet’s house first before the crowds hit and I finally got my picture with her. I came to Italy 9 years prior and someone took my picture, but then something happened to it. I now have many copies of it :) it’s supposed to be good luck, everything is supposed to be good luck haha.
We walked around the Roman arena and then walked along the river. There are two lovely churches. One is free to enter and it’s gorgeous, the other you need to pay. We didn’t go inside.
The Venetian couple told us of this restaurant that serves this special bread and fried dough with a variety of sauces. It was absolutely delicious. We also got house sparkling RED wine. Which was also quite good. One “meal” was enough for both of us. It was called menu della casa, menu of the house.
They also told us of a bakery in Padua, which I will pass on to you as well though we didn’t go:
The restaurant in Verona is called Tigella Verona on Via Sottoriva and the bakery in Padua is Pasticceria Racca.
Our time in Veneto, the state where Venice and Verona are, was short and this was the last place together so it was a sad goodbye between M and I.
Can’t wait to go back to Italy to eat more ;)
A friend from home asked how I managed my money because when she studied abroad in Florence, Italy, she spent so much on food. I can understand why. When everything is delicious, how can you say no?
I wanted to go to Bologna, but didn’t have a chance. If you would like to learn more about the food there, check out this food guide!
Side note: Granted, Italy is one of the more cheaper countries in Europe, for Western Europe, but after 3 months in the Balkans, Italy was very expensive for me.