Spontaneous weekend in Venice
Visiting Venice twice in a year wasn't planned at all and we have just returned from our trip to Belgrade but this was an opportunity you don't just skip (if you are me at least). I should have gone to Italy with a former colleague for a business trip but she bailed on me the night before a 6am bus so naturally I asked Leš to join me and the next thing we knew we found ourselves on a unexpected non-business vacation in Venice.
I visited this beautiful city many many times and I really learned how to get around without getting lost or going in circles so this was a great opportunity to just not think, relax, eat Italian food, do a little bit of exploring and preferably just do what locals do :)
What we haphazardly discovered first was Ca'Pesaro, a museum of modern art which is actually a Baroque palace dating from 17th century. The light was so magnificent in the atrium I couldn't stop taking pictures and we were extremely lucky to have it all for ourselves. Not only the internal area was beautiful but the facade was so stunning I had to sit, stare at the canal and just soak it all in.
I remembered at one point we were close to the docks that have a great view of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. The ally that will lead you right to it is called Calle Tredici Martiri and the docks are right next to De Pisis restaurant if you decide to look them up.
The next day we woke up quite early to catch the light and beat the crowds in front of Piazza san Marco, the most famous spot in Venice. On the way there I took some photos and I must say I'm quite happy with the results.
It was such a beautiful morning. So quiet, peaceful, slow and unusual for Venice. After San Marco we went searching for a much needed cup of coffee. I am not a person who will often pay for a overpriced coffee just because it's in front of a historic building so we moved a little bit further away and luckily discovered the most beautiful coffee shop we could find - Caffe Vergnano 1882. It is situated right next to Canal Grande and the views are just breathtaking. The sun just started to warm us up and we were drinking our cappuccinos while watching the gondolas pass by. Magnificent! Still, I've read some reviews on google afterwards and found out that some people were not satisfied with the staff. We didn't have any similar problems nor did we felt like never coming back. I'm just writing it down so you can decide for yourself but I still recommend it :) Me and Leš didn't try any food but the coffee was just what I needed.
Later on after we took care of something I'll mention later and then took a walk to the nearby piazza (food market) to buy some fresh fruits when we discovered the Ferini, a bakery where they serve pistachio croissants. I cannot even begin to describe the joy in me when I tried it for the first time. I think the picture says a million words. Also, there are two or three Ferini bakeries in the city centre so if you want to go yourself just search for the nearest one :)
The next location we went to is actually my all time favourite place in Venice. A traditional venetian open courtyard within the house, with one side opened to the canal. It is mostly a place where locals hang out, drink spritzers during sunset and everyone just sits or lays down on the decks overlooking the canal. We experienced this unforgettable moment the last time we were there and it holds a special place in my heart so I won't be revealing the exact location. It is very hard to find it because you enter it through the building and there are no direct allies which lead to it just in case somebody is crazy enough to search for it :D
Afterwords, we got really hungry so naturally it was time for pizza! The restaurant we are always coming back to is Rosso Pomodoro. The pizza is very very tasty and done just right. They also serve all the other Italian food and I tried pretty much half of it so far. Pure love! I might be biased because I only ever eat Italian cuisine and every meal is heavenly if you ask me, but Leš also loves it so it's a big recommendation from both of us! After pizza, our bodies needed something sweet so logically we continued our day with a gelato from the best gelatoteca there is - SuSo. Due to both its popularity and quality it is a little bit overpriced but worth every cent. Pistachio flavour is my favourite and it tastes even better when combined with nocciola (eng. hazelnut), a staff recommendation!
This was our last sunset in Venice so we made it count! In the morning, some time after enjoying the cappuccinos, we walked to one of my favourite modern buildings in Venice - Il Fondaco dei Tedeschi, reconstructed by today's most appreciated living architect Rem Koolhaas. The interior is really impressive and you can freely walk around the building since it's a shopping centre, but what makes it even more interesting is the rooftop and its views. The last time I was there you could just step outside without any previous notice, but it seems that the demand became overwhelming so they made some changes. Firstly, decide when do you want to go. Naturally I would suggest the sunset period since it is not opened during sunrise. What we did then is we waited for the minute the building was open in the morning (10 or 11am I think), went to the top floor and booked ourselves for the 8pm term over the iPad they have in the corridor. It is completely free and you only have to give your email address on which you will immediately receive your booking. Go early in the morning to secure the best time for yourself because later in the day all the good terms are already taken. Afterwords, when it's your time to visit, just show your email to the top floor staff and you're free to go outside. A little suggestion, make sure to be there at least 10 minutes early because there is a queue for each term :)
It's quite a way to end your day and it is completely free so my advice is to include it your own 'must see' list for Venice.
The next day we only had a little bit of time in the morning so we decided to visit Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, something I didn't have a chance to see before. It is a small venetian palazzo known for its spiral staircase which leads to an arcade from which you have amazing view of the city rooftops. The entrance costs 5 euros per person which is quite affordable I'd say!
With our hearts and bellies full in the afternoon we went to the bus station and slept all the way through home. This was one of the nicest and most relaxing trips I've been to and it made me so happy. Still does! If you ever have any uncertainties about going to Venice, my advice is to just do it but make sure it's not during the high season when it's impossible to escape the hustle.
Anyways, stay adventurous and I wish you happy travels! :)