Easter Sunday was the day of our free walking tour. I’ve done these in Prague and Berlin and found them a great way to experience the city so my travel buddy and I decided that to try it again. It was a bit of race to find the meeting point near the train station at the otherside of the city but we were once again surprised to find our way without getting lost.
Our guide took us through Venice, finishing by the Doge’s Palace, telling us about places including the Jewish Ghetto, churches, the most beautiful hospital I have ever seen, one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world (this included a staircase made out of books and a gondola filled with books) and various streets and bridges. She also helpfully pointed out multiple restaurants where we could find good, cheap food- we should have done this tour on our first day. Surprisingly, the tour didn’t really overlap with places that we had already seen and seemed to be relatively off the beaten track, at least as much as is possible in the very popular tourist destination.
After 2.5-3 hours on our tour, we were pretty hungry so we once again went in search of affordable food. Our guide had recommended several places but we were just after a snack but thankfully this is easier to find. We spotted Rossosapore, a restaurant that also did takeaway food, which had several people milling around outside. We took that as a good sign and we turned out to be right, it was delicious. We picked up a couple of slices and were able to grab one of the two tables outside, while we ate.
Next on the itinerary was the Doge’s Palace, which cost us €10.00 as students as opposed to €16.00. I didn’t know what to expect but it turned out to be the perfect compliment to the more modern Guggenheim. There was more staggering, Venetian Gothic architecture and the inside was just as beautiful with most rooms being covered in Renaissance art. And when I say covered, I mean covered. Some of the rooms were massive, I have no idea how long that must have taken. Sadly, we couldn’t stay long enough to read everything there was to read, but I think we at least saw everything there was to see. If you want to visit, leave as much time as you can.
Our guide had told us about gondola rides for €2.00. They lasted for about 2 minutes and simply took you from one side of the Grand Canal to the other but that was all we needed. There are only a few of these ports around the city and we went to the one at Santa Sofia, near the Ca’ D’oro vaporetto stop. We had tried to find the place again without using the ferry but obviously we couldn’t so we caught the ferry at Rialto Mercato and sailed the one stop across the river. Then we caught the gondola back to where we’d started and so we treated ourselves to a glass of wine at Muro. We couldn’t get the ferry back straight away after all and we were too embarrassed to simply pay for a return trip, it seemed to be used as a taxi as opposed to a tourist attraction and we obviously fell into the latter. While others were sitting back, we were snapping photos left, right and centre!
After we decided it had been long enough, we got the ferry back and headed to a restaurant our guide had directed us to: Taverna Del Campiello Remer. There we found all you can eat, with a glass of wine, for €5.00. Bargain and delicious. Afterwards, we took a drink out to the dock outside where we could see the Rialto Bridge. We never expected to find such a place in such a touristy area, although it was rather hidden away. After a final wander, it was time for bed.