6 hours in Venice, Italy
I've been living in Milan for the past two months, but since I'm here modelling, I haven't had a whole lot of time to explore other parts of Italy. Thankfully, there are a few nearby cities that can easily be accessed by train, and Venice is one of them. I was a little worried that one day wouldn't be enough time in Venice, but I was able to see what I wanted to see in just six hours. I took the train from Milan at 7:15am, arrived in Venice around 9:40am, then took the train back to Milan at 3:50pm the same day - this gave me roughly six hours to explore.
Travel tip: Google Maps was essential for me on this trip. The little winding roads are very confusing, and I saw multiple groups of people who were lost. If you don't have a SIM card while you're in Italy, make sure to get a paper map before you leave the train station.
My first stop was St. Mark's Basilica. I had read that it was better to go early in the morning, so I headed there straight from the train. On the way I was able to see the Rialto Bridge, which was nice, but it definitely didn't require much time. There was a line at St. Mark's, which wasn't too long and moved quickly...but then found out I needed to store my backpack before entering the church. For somewhere that gets so many tourists, they should have a better system for this. To store your bag, you have to follow very poorly labelled signs to a little storefront that's partway down another road. It appeared to be secure like any luggage storage, but I thought the location was very confusing; thankfully I didn't have to wait in the line again though. The church itself is quite stunning, but what's incredible is all the intricate mosaic murals - it's hard to fathom how much work went into creating every detail. Entry into the church is free, but you can pay 5€ to go up to the museum and out onto the terrace, which I thought was worth the extra cost.
From St. Mark's I wandered the canals and took some photos before heading to Dal Moro's Fresh Pasta for lunch. This place is a recommended 'cheap eats' restaurant, but I was a bit disappointed to be honest. The pasta definitely tasted fresh, but I didn't like having to stand up while I ate, and it turns out they also have a location in Toronto...so not very exciting for a Canadian. In hindsight, I should have enjoyed a longer lunch somewhere else since I would have had more than enough time.
After lunch I went to the Libreria Aqua Alta, which my Mum had recommended. This place isn't on too many 'must-see in Venice' lists, but being the bookworm that I am, I thought it was wonderful. The bookstore is absolutely jammed with books, and even has a full-sized gondola in the middle of the shop. The best part is a stairway made of old books out the back door. I could have spent hours in here digging through the piles, even though their books are mostly in Italian.
Now off to dessert. I actually stumbled upon a store called Captain Candy on my way to get gelato, so I decided a little double dessert never hurt anyone. Captain Candy has these giant barrels of candy, and they sell huge pieces of liquorice which have been my favourite since I first visited Denmark in 2009. There are also a bunch of different chocolate covered almonds - I recommend trying the white chocolate, cinnamon, and marzipan.
I continued to wander for awhile, then found my way to Suso for gelato. I'm lactose-intolerant so I always cross my fingers for yummy gelato that's not sorbet, and this place came through! I had delicious cherry gelato that was made with rice milk; creamy, flavourful, and definitely picture worthy.
I devoured my gelato, stopped at a few shops, then slowly heading back toward the train station. I didn't feel rushed at all, so I think it's perfectly reasonable to see Venice in a day. Based on how much wandering I did, you could probably also fit in a museum or something else you want to do/see. It's a beautiful city and I certainly recommend visiting, but keep in mind it is touristy, so for me one day was enough.
Total Cost: 70 €
Round trip train ticket: 50€
St. Mark's Church Museum entry fee: 5€
Have you been to Venice? Share your experience in the comments below!