Venice is definitely a place worth visiting. We stayed on the mainland, Mestre as it is very convenient to take a train to go to Venice S. Lucia. Besides, the hotels in Mestre are slightly cheaper compared to those in Venice. However, you get what you pay for. By the way, I was beyond excited to see this city of masks.
When we first arrived at Mestre, we felt a little disappointed with the surrounding. It looks a little bit dodgy from the train station to our hotel. Since we knew we were going to spend most of our time outside, we were willing to stay in a budget hotel.
Leaving Mestre, we bought two tickets from Venezia Mestre to Venezia Santa Lucia. It only cost us £4 per person for return. Check the tickets here.
We were thrilled to see gondoliers punting on the Grand Canal. We took a leisure walk around the city and soon enough we realised that the city is like a maze. Ally after ally, we had to follow the map closely in order to know our way. I love the architecture in Venice. It’s ancient but magical. Everywhere I turned, it looked like a postcard to me.
Strolling around Venice was relaxing. We met plenty of artsy-fartsy Venetians. Some were selling painting beside the streets. Some were playing instruments.
Venice is famous with its Venetian Masks. Even though we never got the chance to join the Carnival of Venice, which is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy, we could still see Venetian Masks available in the shops in Venice or stalls on the streets.
The Carnival basically ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter, on Shrove Tuesday (Martedì Grasso or Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday.
We finally walked out from the maze of allies and found Basilica di San Marco welcoming us once we arrived at Piazza San Marco, the principal public square of Venice.
Basilica di San Marco is magnificent by its opulent design, gold ground mosaics. It is known as “Church of Gold” symbolising Venetian wealth and power. It serves as a cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. So as you can see from the picture below, it locates at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge’s Palace.
Walking towards the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), we saw tonnes of tourists sitting in the public square of Venice. Those spaces which were not occupied by the tourists were basically crowded by the pigeons. With the musical performance at one of the restaurants at Doge’s Place, we felt the unique atmosphere of romance, art and architecture here. You can buy a ticket here.
If you intend to explore Venice to the fullest, we really recommend you join a water tour (check the price by clicking the link). Even though it was a little pricey, we decided to book a water taxi tour. The first building that caught our eyes was Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. Santa Maria della Salute means Saint Mary of Health and it is a Roman Catholic church. Looking at those buildings, I really think Venice is absolutely gorgeous.
Our local tour guide. She is a nice lady, but due to her accent, I couldn’t understand 80% of what she said. ><
We spent almost two hours on the water taxi. There were only eight of us. Even though public water taxi is much cheaper, you will need to share the boat with 20-30 people. Thus, potentially, you will only be able to see some heads rather than getting an exclusive view of Venice if you are standing in the middle of the crowd.