|I'm happy to report that I have a lot of pictures to hang around our home one day.|
|Yay, it fits! Plus, now Ryanair lets you carry a small personal item like a large purse!|
|Our hotel and canal view!|
Our first day out we just wandered a bit and found ourselves on the Grand Canal staring at the Rialto Bridge with our mouths open in awe.
|View of the Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge|
**Tip** This was our first trip using the TripAdvisor City Guides App. It allows you to predownload the city you are visiting and have tons of information at your fingertips while not using data/WiFi. Download it now and check it out. You can also create an itinerary of your trip by checking in at locations you visit, so you can share it with friends that visit the city later. Such a great idea!
St Mark's Cathedral is gorgeous and has a mixture of architecture. Rick Steve's says it best, "You'll see Roman style arches over the doors, Greek style columns alongside, Byzantine style mosaics, French Gothic pinnacles on the roofline, and topping the church the onion-shaped domes that hint at the Islamic world. All these plundered elements are only appropriate for a church built on the bones of a stolen saint". Amazing, right? St. Mark's remains were stolen/rescued from Alexandria, Egypt in 828, seven centuries after his death. They cleverly hid his remains in a pork barrel and brought him to Venice!
|I'm sad that they were restoring the outside during our visit.|
|The golden Byzantine style mosaics inside were gorgeous!|
|Sometimes between autumn and spring, the tide peaks in the Adriatic sea and St. Mark's square is covered in water.|
|Famous St. Mark's pigeons|
|My very own Casanova courtesy of a lost sunscreen bottle.|
|Islamic onion-domed architecture|
|15th Century clock tower|
Next door is Dodge's (Duke) Palace (where the Venetian ruler stayed). This was the most popular half acre in all of Europe from 1150 - 1550. People couldn't believe how the Venetians could live without a king, bishop, or tyrant. Notice it's unlike any other medieval city in Germany with a castle or wall surrounding the city.
|Dodge's Palace - "The Wedding Cake, " or "The Pink House"|
One of our favorite things we did was people watch in St. Mark's square. Make sure you drink a few glasses of wine at a cafe and take in the sights.
I told Sam that the Bridge of Sighs was named that because so many people thought it was gorgeous and just sighed when they saw it. Not true. In reality it is the last bridge that convicts in Venice saw before their imprisonment. Prisoners would sigh at their last view of the beautiful city. It is one of the most photographed bridges in the world though. Look at it, you're sighing right now, aren't you?
|Legend has it that kissing at sunset on a gondola ride while passing under the bridge with the bells from St. Mark's Campanile ringing is supposed to grant eternal love and bliss. If all of that aligns, then it has to be true!|
We ate way too much food! Carb after carb after carb entered our bellies. We generally tried to eat more toward our hotel because it seemed like more locals were eating in the area, and everything around St. Mark's square seemed too touristy. Except at Alfredo's Fresh Pasta To Go (#2 restaurant on TripAdvisor!). It was so good and a great price. It isn't a sit down restaurant, but we enjoyed sitting on a bridge nearby and watching the gondolas ride by while devouring our pasta. I enjoyed tasting authentic lasagna for the first time. We noticed that the lasagna had less marinara sauce, and lots of cheese...yum! The seafood pasta was also a must. It was delicious!
|Can we go back? I need more pasta, cheese, and wine!|
|Row, row, row your boat!|
|So much boat traffic! Exactly how I pictured Venice|
|My favorite is the gondolier on his cell phone. Hahaha!|
|So many gorgeous canals|
|We passed our hotel on the gondola ride!|
|Smooch, because how many times in your life are you on a gondola in Venice?|
Take a ride with us on the vaparetto and hear an opera singer singing for gondola riders. These tourists knew what they were doing. They had three gondolas and one opera singer. An opera singer costs around €50 on top of your €80 gondola ride (that's before sunset, prices go up after), so why not share it between your friends!
Here is a clip at the Venice Jazz Club. Close your eyes like I did and enjoy the music.