A morning stroll in my new favorite city // Venice, Italy

A morning stroll in my new favorite city // Venice, Italy

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I love Italy. It really, truly is the best country in Europe. “Va bene!” the locals often say, it’ll be alright. Unlike their rigid European counterparts to the North, driving is lacks rules and organization. Va bene! We eat pizza, drink wine, and do nothing but relax for hours – and it’s perfect and expected.

In February Dan and I spent a weekend in Italy’s tourist mecca, Venice (Venezia). My previous experience hadn’t been a great one. On a college graduation trip I joined 30 other Hokies for a month-long tour of Europe. Our stop in Venice coincided with the peak-of-peak tourist season (end of June) and insufferable heat. I wasn’t impressed and wanted out. Perhaps my expectations were low, however with all my recent travels around Europe I wouldn’t say that I had lowered the bar, only elevated it.

On Saturday morning we rose early to catch the free walking tour and explore the city. It was February at the time so there was a tranquility in the air as the sleepy city came to life. Just outside our window I could see the gondoliers strolling to work, chatting loudly over espressos as they began their day. I smiled to myself at the thought that this was everyday life here. How charming.

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We landed absolutely incredible rates by visiting in February, which is still off season. Our stay at Foscari Palace typically would have been at least triple the price. With a solid breakfast and stunning views of the Grand Canal, I was extremely pleased with our stay.

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In all honesty, the walking tour wasn’t my favorite – too many people (and this was low season) and a quiet-talking guide. She did however take us through the back streets of Venice that were truly stunning. With every turn I mumbled a quiet “wowww” and snapped away more pictures. I couldn’t have been more wrong about Venice. This place is remarkable. The architecture is one thing, the food another, the waterways that nose their way through it all yet another.

For those toying with the idea of a visit, pretty-please try your best to go in the low season. If not, perhaps going mid-week will improve your experience. Or, at least just in with the mindset that it will be crowded, maybe that was my problem initially. ALSO, Venice is laid out in a spaghetti-inspired grid. I downloaded a Venice Map App called “Ulmon” that allowed me to access maps offline AND (most importantly) GPS, so I could see exactly where I was currently located.

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Strolling back to the hotel after the tour, we both had cheesy, happy grins. What a place!

More Venezia to come!

  • So gorgeous!

  • I’m going gaga over all of your photos!

  • Hey Margo! I found your blog after your reply to my comment on The Londoner. Your photos are really beautiful! Agree with the above ^, I love the little everyday moments you captured. Looking forward to following your Euro adventures! 🙂

  • Margo your pictures makes me want to return to Venice again! We went a few years back in peak summer though still a beautiful city it was way too hot and too many people. Maybe we should go in Feb like you did.

  • Beautiful photos! I love all of the ones of the Gondolas and the one of the lady hanging her laundry. It’s a great reminder that the places we love to visit are actually people’s homes 🙂

  • WOW! lovely photos my friend! The bad news – now I wanna go there and right now I can’t! hahaha. that’s why I love blogging though, because you can experience a little bit of life everywhere without having to be, everywhere. ha.

  • Oh man, these photos are DELICIOUS! So beautiful! I’ve only been to Italy briefly but I’m saving it as THE TRIP. I want to do it when I’ve got a lot of money — I don’t want to do it as a backpacker (that was how I previously toured Europe). There’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t want to feel like I have to pick and choose when I am there. I want to eat where I want to eat, see all the sights I want to see, and just bask in its awesomeness. But I will keep this “low season” stuff in mind because you’re right — crowds can really have a negative impact on a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • I went to Venice while I was in college but I also went at a crowded time. These photos are convincing me that I need to make it back during a low time! I love the photo of the gondolas through the open door. I would have totally stopped to snap photos of the lady hanging her laundry too : )

  • Gorgeous photos!!!! I hear such mixed reviews of Venice and I think you’re right, it really depends on time of year that you go. It’s high on my list!

  • As always gorgeous pictures! I’m really hoping Italy is our next European trip, I’ve never been and really want to do Rome, Venice, and Florence. I like CityMaps2Go as a mapping app that you can use offline, and you download the city you want.

  • All these pictures are fabulous and I cannot agree more about most places really shining during the off season.

  • just beautiful! i loved Venice, it was like a different world and I felt like I was floating somehow. you captured it so well – can’t wait for more of your Italian adventures! x

  • I love your photos! They are all so beautiful!! I was in Italy in 2009 and it is truly the best country in Europe! I didn’t make it to Venice though, but I hope to visit someday soon.

  • Your photos are so gorgeous! Venice looks UNREAL. And the laundry pictures! I’m sure it’s not a fun chore, but to me it looks quaint and cute :). thank you so much for sharing! I’m happy to have found your blog through Travel Tuesday and look forward to exploring more!

  • Swoooooon! My favorite photo is the one with the two foxxy old ladies in their fur coats by the canal 😀 So lovely. Well, you sure did it – you sold me on Venice in low-season. Maybe I’ll get to go sometime in the next year when I’m back on European soil 🙂 Here’s hoping!

  • Gorgeous photos! I love all of the different colours. Venice is definitely on my must see list.

  • I agree. Italy is by far my favorite country we’ve been to in the world. I frickin love it man. and Venice, ay yi yi. we went in November…so, off season…and still – crowds of people! I can understand why people hate it and then find out they went during peak season. that shot of the ladies in fur!!

  • Your photos are absolutely fabulous! I cannot wait to visit Venice….I may have to wait until after summer though seeing as though I may have missed the low season boat!

  • MARGO! These photos are truly breathtaking! Each one was better than the last! What an unbelievable trip – you definitely captured the city’s essence! xoxo

  • That looks so lovely. I have only been to Rome in Italy but I really wish to see more 🙂

  • Thanks Anda! Venice really is lovely – hope you get a chance to make it there one day too. Rome is a great start though!

  • Thanks so much peanut! It’s easy to take pretty pictures of a pretty place. 🙂

  • Thanks, Jamie! If it’s not obvious, I had a lot of fun strolling around taking pictures. Everything there is scenic. I’ve heard that the Fall is a great time to visit, y’all should go!

  • Oh my goodness! This is SO gorgeous. I’ve been seeing so many images lately of Venice in the off season. It’s really convinced me to go soon, but I’m not looking forward to the prices!

  • Gorgeous photos!! Venice was my dream city as a middle schooler. I was so happy to visit!! That was years ago now, but now they are sweet memories!

  • Adelina, you are SO sweet. Thanks for the nice compliment on my pictures! I do hope you can make it to Venice soon AND land a great deal on a hotel like I did! 🙂

  • I agree, Tina – I feel like Venice is just one of those places that creeps on to everyone’s list at some point, especially with how romanticized it’s become. It really is such a special place, I’m happy you were able to see it in person! 🙂

  • Yes! If you can catch a visit to a beautiful place during good weather in the off season then it’s like landing on a gold mine. I can’t say that I loved Brussels during my visit last November but I’m 100% sure that the dreary late-Fall weather was to blame.

  • Noted! I download city maps nearly every time I go somewhere so I’ll be on the lookout for CityMaps2Go. That trio of Rome, Venice and Florence sounds pretty spectacular, I say you do it AND let me come along too!

  • I contributed to those mixed reviews of Venice. During my prior visit I had a miserable time and proceeded to tell everyone that Venice was overrated. Now I’m eating my words. On behalf of the Venice naysayers, ignore us! 🙂

  • Thanks, dear! I agree – gorgeous, perfect, beautiful – all of those work for describing Venice. 🙂

  • Ha, thanks dear! I meant to reach out to your sooner – have you visited Nerja yet? I’m heading down there in a few weeks for some R&R on the beach! 😀

  • Wow, thanks, Julie! The Venetians are quite interesting people – the fur coats, laundry over the canals, gondoliers… it’s such a unique place. Sometimes I have a tendency to want to wait and crop some of those everyday scenes out of the picture but then I realize that it only improves communicating the true feel of the place. I’m glad you liked my take on the city. 🙂

    I’m not sure why but I just lovvve The Londoner. Rosie seems like the funnest gal ever, right?

  • Yes! I think you should definitely go again! I had the same experience you did and wanted nothing but out of the city. Let me know when you go too – I might have you bring me back some pizza. 😉

  • Thanks, Jenn! You’re always so sweet – it means a lot! I’m glad you enjoyed my little take on the city. You’re so right too, it’s easy to forget that people actually LIVE there and call Venice home. What a life.

  • Ha, well I’m glad I’m not the only one! I’d really like YOU to go to Venice because I’d love to see your take on the city. I’m sure you’d come away with stunning photographs!

  • Yes, yes, yes! I know exactly what you’re talking about with THE trip. I am not at all interested in hostels or roughing it. I just want to eat great food and enjoy the place for all it’s worth. If you go to Venice let me know and I’ll pass along my hotel information and restaurant recommendations! Thanks for the sweet compliment on my pictures too! 🙂

  • Haha, you’re so right Whitney. If I seriously considered traveling to all the beautiful places featured by bloggers I’d surely be in debt, lost, and in trouble with my parents. So happy to share my little bit of the world with you though! 🙂