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Venice, Italy!

First stop...Venice, Italy!  This was my first trip in years - 6 years to be specific - that wasn't tailored around the beach and sun!  So to say that I truly learned the difference between traveling (history, sight-seeing, walking around until your feet feel like they're on fire) & vacationing (lying on the beach, drinking, tanning) would be an understatement!  I'm not complaining by any means, just stating that they're two very different things!

This city marked my first time in Italy and OH. EM. GEE. am I in love!  The people, the food, the sights, the history, the culture...everything about it, I fell in love with!  Jamie and I were lucky enough to visit Venice, Rome, Florence - all "traveling" cities - and Positano - our "vacation" city!  I'm going to break down each city in its own separate blog post and vlog so be patient with me!

We got so many wonderful recommendations & Jamie being, well, Jamie, did a lot of Yelp/Trip Advisor research so I'm going to break down everything we did, saw, ate and drank for you!  Make sure to comment below any recommendations you may have that I haven't listed or covered - I want this post (and the ones to follow) to help anyone who is considering going to Italy or is planning their Italian getaway as they read this!

Venice is exactly how you would imagine it - the colorful buildings floating on water, the grand canal, the bridges, the architecture...  It really is a majestic city and made for lovers (more so than Paris if you ask me).

Jamie and I spent 3 nights - but only 2 fulls days - in Venice and it was perfect.  It was enough time to see all of Venice, eat our faces off, drink by the water, get caught in the craziest rain storm (make sure to check it out my IG highlights - I saved it under "Travel" - because its just that crazy and hilarious), and ride a gondola! 

Everyone advised us to spend only one or two days in Venice, and I'm glad I listened.  We probably could have squeezed everything in in one day, but I'm glad we didn't!  Yes, Venice is just that tiny but you can wander around and get lost in its tiny intertwined streets, which I highly recommend.

Oh and FYI - one thing no one warned me about is that there are a lot of mosquitoes.  I guess I should have figured this out considering the city sits on water but it didn't cross my mind until I got attacked by mosquitoes night 1!!  And the bites these Italian mosquitoes left were not anything I've ever experienced - bigger, more painful, itchier...so just beware and pack repellent and an anti-itch cream!

Scroll through the pictures & below them you'll find everything from our hotel to everything we did and every where we ate!                                                                      

My Venice Itinerary:

Hotel: We stayed at Ca' San Giorgio - Relais & Suites.  The hotel was situated perfectly - right in the middle of Venice.  We were close enough to walk into the main city and close enough to walk to the other side of Venice and visit the Jewish Ghetto.  Plus the hotel was a boutique hotel so there weren't many rooms and the staff was so nice and helpful!  I think the hotel was relatively inexpensive as well - under $200 a night, if I'm not mistaken. Luckily I was warned about this before leaving for Italy so I'm going to warn you as well just in case you haven't been yet - the hotels are small and somewhat outdated.  Now that doesn't ugly or dirty - just think quaint and cozy!

Travel: We traveled from LAX to Paris and from Paris to Venice.  Once we landed in Venice we took a water taxi to our hotel, well near our hotel, and walked on over to the hotel (probably a 5 min walk if not less).  Once we were in Venice though we walked everywhere!

Day 1:

First meal in Italy: Osteria Mocenigo da Guido e Luca. No picture. No sign stating name. Just a hole in the wall with handwritten menus, delicious food and an amazing staff!  This restaurant was recommended by a local.  I highly recommend you get the avocado and shrimp app if you go here!!

After lunch we walk around and explored the main city area.  We spent the first day just walking and seeing the sites and getting lost in the streets of Venice - no real plan, just exploring!

At one point we decided to stop and have drinks at Gelateria Al Todara facing the water.  It was beautiful and refreshing.  It was a little expensive compared to the other places in Venice but comparable to LA drink prices.  But still worth the view, plus our feet were starting to hurt at this point and we needed to sit LOL. 

After drinks we walked around the shopping area - i.e., Chanel, Saint Laurent, etc. and went into their "mall."

Once we got hungry again we went to Nevodi - another restaurant recommendation from a local - and had some amazing white wine and their daily special for the risotto (they are known for their risotto and have a different special everyday).  The street the restaurant was on was beyond picturesque.  Looked like it was right out of the movie.  It reminded me a lot of the Venetian hotel in Vegas but more rustic & beautiful, obviously

After dinner we walked back to our hotel and got caught in the most insane and epic rain storm of all time.  It really came out of nowhere and we got drenched but it made for some of my favorite memories of the trip.  It's still saved to my Travel Highlights on my IG if you want to laugh!

Day 2:

Jamie and I knew we wanted to visit the Jewish Ghetto while in Venice so we woke up, got ready and headed straight there.  The Jewish Ghetto was located on the opposite side  of Venice than where the main city and the Grand Canal is so it was nice to see a completely different area of Venice.  We walked to the Jewish Quarters and sight saw on our way there.  We explored the Jewish Quarters and went to the Jewish Museum.  It was emotional and beautiful.   

After that we walked along the canal heading back to the main city area because I just had to take a gondola ride while in Venice - obviously, right?!  But as always we got hungry and decided to stop at Trattoria Misericordia.  We ordered the caprese salad and the prosciutto plate for our appetizer (which, fyi, was the first time I've ever tried pork/ham in my life) & both were divine.  Also keep in mind that I’ve been dairy free since New Years so the caprese salad was that much better!  For lunch we both ordered a pasta - I got the tortellini with parmesan cheese and mushrooms and Jamie got the tagolitini pasta with shrimp and mushrooms.  Both pastas were delicious but Jamie’s pasta - the tagolitini - was better than mine if you’re debating between the two.

After lunch we got back to the main city and got onto a gondola near the grand canal!  You don't need to book these ahead of time.  Gondolas in Venice are like Starbucks in LA - theres one everywhere you look!  The gondola ride is expensive - I think about 80 euros or so for about a 20/30 minute ride, but it was worth every penny if you ask me!  I don't think you can go to Venice and not experience this!

After the gondola ride and a little bit of shopping, we went back to the hotel and passed out for 2 hours (the jet lag finally caught up with us).  I woke up starving so I made Jamie get up - we freshened up and changed and went out to find a place to eat.  We were actually heading to a different restaurant when we found the cutest pizzeria - Pizzeria All’ Anfora - and decided to eat here instead.  They had over 50 pizza options!  Definitely eat here.  And definitely eat outside in the garden.  The pizza was to die for! 

* Stay tuned for my Venice vlog - coming Monday - and for next week's blog post on Rome!  Can't wait to relive my Italy trip and to take you all along with me!

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