“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” ~ Lin Yutang
Traveling to Venezia
I’ve been to Venezia twice and still can’t get enough of it. There’s so much to see and explore. For me, Venezia is magical. We chose to travel through the high-speed rail from Rome to Venezia. It was about a 3-hour 45-minute trip. But it was a comfortable and entertaining ride. We booked the fast rail through Italia Rail before we had even set foot in Italy. The cost was not high, it was about $150 round trip. The Roma Termini was within walking distance of the hotel in Rome, about 20 minutes.
Once at the Roma Termini, it was a bit difficult to understand where and what to do to catch our train. Some locals offered to help but were expecting compensation. My daughter and I found an information booth. We stood in a long line to grab a number and then wait to be called. Luckily, the wait was not long, and the young lady at the customer service booth was able to validate our tickets and explain where and when to board our train. We walked a bit around the termini. It is Italy’s largest railway. You won’t get bored though since there is a shopping mall, as well as a large food court.
Fast Speed Rail to Venezia
We finally boarded our train at around 9:30 a.m. Which, by the way, is a good time since most commuters using the rail for work board it earlier. Even though we had reserved seats, it was quite empty. These high-speed trains travel up to 150 mph. However, the ride is so smooth you can’t barely tell it’s moving that fast – well, you can tell but just a little. In fact, we only knew how fast it was going because it showed it on a screen. It did make stops in Florence, Bologna, and Padua; but they were short. We enjoyed the picturesque scenes of Lazio, Umbria, and Tuscany.
El Rialto Hotel
We arrived at Venezia Santa Lucia Station close to 1:30 p.m. From there we took the vaporetto to the Rialto Hotel where we were staying. Since we were celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary, we booked a junior honeymoon suite with balcony and view of the grand canal and Rialto Bridge. My daughter and son-in-law decided to book one too. However, my son didn’t really care for a honeymoon suite and opted for a regular room with no view.
The rooms are decorated in a romantic 18th-century Venetian style. They were meticulously clean and well kept. We were received with a cold bottle of Prosecco Sparkling Wine and some delicious Biscotti de Venezia Bussolai. I have to say that the staff and service were excellent. I highly recommend the Rialto Hotel in Venezia, Italy.
After checking in, we headed out to explore Venezia. We began our tour through the narrow streets of Venezia lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes. In Venezia, you don’t cross a street, but you do pass over canals through bridges that connect one side to the other. Stairs and ramps ease your way through.
I did not know that there were so many local shops lined in the Rialto Bridge. It is fantastic. It was chilly, so we stopped for a glass of mulled wine (hot wine) and what a great idea. We were able to continue our tour now that we had warmed up a bit. We did a bit of shopping here and there. Most of the shops carry the same things, so it wasn’t necessary to stop in every one of them.
St. Mark’s Square was just about an eight-minute walk from the hotel. It is home to the famous and most important St. Mark’s Basilica. Like I said before since my husband and I were celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary on November 22, 2017; we decided to renew our wedding vows at St. Mark’s Basilica. I reached out to Monsignor Giuseppe Camiloto through e-mail and inquired about it. Frankly, I didn’t expect anyone to respond, so I was ecstatic when he did. Therefore, we were blessed to renew our vows at St. Mark’s Basilica by Monsignor himself. Unfortunately, photography isn’t allowed inside the basilica, therefore, what we were able to get was because the priest allowed it.
The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is a beautiful Gothic architecture dating back to the 10th century. It was the residence of the Doge of Venezia, and it’s now a museum.
The Bridge of Sighs passes over the Rio di Palazzo which connects from the interrogation room to the new prison in the Doge’s Palace. It was built in the 1600’s. It is said that the bridge got its name from the prisoner’s who took a last look at the lagoon on their way from the courtroom to their cells.
We took a water taxi to Murano Island courtesy of Rialto Hotel. It was a little difficult to get on that taxi. In fact, I fell on my knees trying to get on. But I’m thankful it was in the taxi that I fell and not in the water.
The famous Murano glass is handcrafted in Murano Islands glass factories. You can visit one of its factories and get a glass blowing demonstration and view the beautiful Venetian glass displays available. We toured Vetreria Ducale.
I always say that you have not fully experienced Venezia if you did not ride through Venezia’s canals on a gondola. A Gondola Ride is a must in Venezia where you will discover the many quiet canals and homes.
Don’t forget to take a vaporetto to Burano Island with its picturesque and colorful fisherman houses. It is the place to get the beautifully handcrafted embroidered lace linens and clothes at the Linen Museum. It is also famous for its fresh fish, so dining in Burano is highly recommended.
Cometa di Vetro is in Murano Island’s at Campo Santo Stefano. This beautiful blue glass sculpture is titled, “Christmas of Light in a Glass Comet,” and it is Murano’s symbol of Christmas.
Dining in Venezia
Unlike the excellent service and hospitality that Hotel Rialto offered us, Ristorante Rialto did not meet our expectations. The food was okay, the service was not. The best part of the meal was the wine. There are many other great places to choose from. I suggest you look around for another place to eat.
To celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary, we had dinner at Ristorante Canal Grande al fresco overlooking the Grand Canal. My husband and I went all out and had a seafood feast of lobster, shrimps, oysters, mussels and of course, the wine. It was exquisite but quite expensive. And, I have to say, the service was excellent.
We enjoyed a lunch at Osteria al Duomo Pizzeria located in Murano. It’s a small insignificant location across from the Piazza Campo San Donato. But once inside, it was a different story. It has a big eat-in salon and outdoor terrace. The atmosphere was excellent, as well as the service. The food was amazing.
You cannot leave Venezia without eating gelato. Even though it was 40 degrees, I enjoyed my gelato from Al Ponte Di Rialto. I also like that Italian’s enjoy my heritage’s music of reggaetón. We heard it throughout Italy in Italian, but in Venezia, it was in Spanish.
Venezia amazes me. In the United States we are so accustomed to traveling in our vehicles everywhere we go, that just seeing how life continues the same but on water vessels, is an eye-opener. Not everywhere is the same. Venezia is not just a tourist attraction, it’s a way of life, and I love it!