For those of you who know me, I have been going on about visiting Venice for a long time – my original plan being to go for our ten year anniversary this year. So I was a little miffed that every time I suggested the idea to my husband he failed to engage in the conversation! However, it transpires that he already had a trip organised for my birthday so I do feel a little guilty about getting so annoyed he wasn’t engaging!
So last week we dropped the children off at my mother-in law’s and headed to Venice.
We arrived Sunday evening and got a water taxi from the airport to the hotel. We were very lucky to get the backseat and be the last drop-off so had some wonderful views as the taxi went up and down the Grand Canal dropping off other passengers.
Our hotel was the Palladio Hotel & Spa, located on Giudecca island. It’s a converted convent and located on the waterfront with great views of the main Venice island – if you lean out far enough from our window! The room was very Italian, with a painted mural on the wall and a beautiful domed ceiling.
Breakfast was served in the courtyard which was beautiful in the morning sun – it was a good breakfast too with a decent selection of foods to choose from and even some gluten-free goods.
The hotel had a free shuttle “bus” that ran between the two islands every half an hour and I became very accustomed to being chauffeured around in a boat!
We spent the first day mainly walking round, taking in both the main sights as well as going off the beaten track and just meandering around the pretty streets. We had coffee sat in one of the squares and then lunch next to one of the canals, watching the gondolas and boats go by. We didn’t go into any of the tourist attractions and only a couple of churches as it was just so lovely being able to mooch around without having to worry about preventing children falling in the canal or cajoling them into walking just a little further!
Although I have tried Aperol at home, I never thought I was a fan but did get quite a taste for it while I was over there! So we spent some time just sitting by the water enjoying a glass of Aperol or Prosecco, just chilling – something we rarely do at home!
The first evening we jumped on the Vaporetto and headed for a popular restaurant that we’d found online – but it seems everyone else had found it too! So we went to a restaurant a bit further down the road and had a lovely meal of the local fish whose name I can’t remember!
We then decided to check out Venice casino! I seem to have developed a bit of a taste for Blackjack and so it seemed rude not to see how the Italians do it. Slightly posher is the answer – the building was quite grand and Jon had to hire a jacket to wear! As before, we only played with a small amount of money and had our limit but we both did really well and came away €150 happier!
The next day we thought we’d try and be a little more cultural and checked out the opera house, Teatro La Fenice, which I have to say was pretty impressive inside. We were then going to visit one of the art galleries but most seem to be closed on Monday and Tuesdays so we gave up and went back to our meandering instead!
In the evening we went to Harry’s Bar, the place where the Bellini was invented, and a paid an extortionate price to try the famous cocktail. It was a good Bellini but needless to say we only stayed for one! Next was the Met restaurant, a Michelin starred restaurant in the Metropole hotel, another part of my birthday treat.
The restaurant itself was very elegant and there were only six tables so the service was very attentive. We went for the tasting menu and particularly enjoyed the carrot and ginger starter and the purple potato gnocchi. I did cause a bit of stir by having a coughing fit when they lifted the dome on the smoke filled spaghetti dish which caused some of the other diners to chuckle! It was a brilliant experience but I still think Adams in Birmingham is my favourite Michelin starred restaurant so far – of the four I’ve been too!
On our last day we just had time to have one last wander around before jumping on the water taxi back to the airport. Again, we got a brilliant tour of the Grand Canal, picking-up other passengers along the way, making the cost of the water taxi well worth it.
So as you can tell, we didn’t do a great deal culturally and we mainly walked, ate and drank! But it was a brilliant three days, very relaxing and a beautiful place to explore. Now all we need to do is to decide where to go for our anniversary now that Venice is crossed of the list!