Venice is one of my favourite European destinations. Everything is so unique about this enchanting Italian city. Getting wonderfully lost in the labyrinth of canals, watching the world go by with an Aperol Spritz in St. Marks Square, eating delicious Italian food and enjoying a cannoli or two as you go in search of the next picturesque spot. When I saw that I had a 24 hour layover here I knew there was no one I’d rather take on this mini Italian adventure other than Freddie.
In recent weeks we’ve fallen more in love with Europe [see why here] and have made a promise that with any opportunity we get we’ll jet off on a short flight to unexplored European destinations. With Freddie having never been to Venice I decided to book his flight and surprise him the day we flew.
The main intention for our one day in Venice was to eat. Anything and everything we possibly could. We had an ambitious list of food and drinks we wanted to sample here from coffee to cannoli, Bellinis to burrata and pasta to pizza.
We wasted no time starting out as the sun was still rising we were enjoying our morning coffee and pastries at Cafe del Doge. Freddie went for a rich chocolate pastry whilst I sampled the savoury option of spinach and cheese. Washed down with freshly squeezed orange juice and Americano coffees. The coffee served here is a DIY strength, served up as an espresso with hot water on the side. As strong coffee lovers this was perfect to ensure we could enjoy a much needed hit first thing in the morning.
Fuelled up we began wandering the alleyways, getting lost is one of my favourite things to do in Venice because you’ll always end up somewhere beautiful. Our first stroll through the maze took us to Railto Bridge. It was fun visiting in the morning when the market was bustling with vendors deliveries arriving by boat. Very much a working dock before the tourists arrive for those infamous snaps.
Our morning wander then took us to Piazza di San Marco. Too early for an Aperol spritz we settled on coffee and our first cannoli – lemon for me and hazelnut for Freddie. These little treats pack a real punch. The biggest dilemma of our day was deciding whether we buy a dozen more here or keep wandering sampling other bakeries delicious mini cannoli. The pact was made there and then that obligatory cannoli stops were made every time we saw another bakery. It’s surprising how many cannoli one can eat in day – I highly recommend. Our favourite types were the Sicilian cannoli and has since spurned on planning a holiday to Sicily for part two of our Italian eating fest.
By lunchtime we decided to continue working through our extensive list of recommendations and next up was real local Venetian restaurant off the beaten tourist track yet squarely on the locals radar Cà D’Oro alla Vedova.
Recommended by a fellow cabin crew colleague from Venice we were told to try “their specialty” the crispy coated medium rare meatballs. Venetian tapas at it’s finest. My no beef rule was overlooked for a brief moment for fear of suffering FOMO after seeing the enjoyment on Freddie’s face after devouring his portion. Followed by anchovy and parsley spaghetti, seafood pasta and a beautiful local octopus with polenta dish. We joined an older Italian couple at their table for lunch, language barrier wasn’t an issue when our new friends happily cheered when they realised we’d ordered exactly the same as them. A nod to knowing how to order like the locals.
Post lunch strolls took us to the ferry terminal. Fondamente Nove jetty 12 will take you straight to Burano. Make sure you sit outside for the leisurely 40 minute ferry journey getting views of Venice and Murano. Unless you have a restaurant in mind to dine at – Trattoria Al Gatto Nero was ours yet much to our disappointment it was closed on Mondays – there’s not much to do in Burano apart from enjoying the brightly coloured buildings and shop for lace. We grabbed a gelato and sat by the waters edge watching the gentle waters lap the fishing boats in the harbour.
Back to the Venetian mainland we headed straight for pizza and a glass of red at Rossopomodoro. You can watch the doughy yet airy pizza bases being flame cooked in the open kitchen from your table – a sure sign they really are as fresh as they taste. I went for one that had Salina capers and black olives, Freddie opted for the sausage and broccoli.
Time for one last cannoli before bed and an early flight back to London.
Venice is doable in 24 hours however if you have more time 48 hours is more sufficient to really explore in less of a hurry.
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