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Monday, 6 July 2015

Italy Part Uno- Venice


Ciao! We are back from our holiday, and the first stop is Venice! For those who are interested, most photographs have been taken on either a Contax Aria film camera or Contax T2 film camera. All other photos are labelled iPhone.
It had been 5 years since we last went on holiday, and we were dying to go! The past couple of years (in particular the last 12 months) have been quite the headache. Our lives are a constant conversation about saving for a house, which is bloody difficult in this day and age without help. So we decided ‘fuck it!’ and we put 2 months worth of savings away for an amazing trip to celebrate 10 years in our relationship. 

We spent last summer deliberating where we’d like to go. Our favourites boiled down to Mexico, the south of France, Italy and I think we’d even looked into Egypt. We decided on Italy in the end, because we felt like we could try and tailor make our holiday so that it was quite personal, our own little adventure. Plus, we LOVE pasta and pizza! Neither of us are interested in travelling for a long period of time, so when we take a trip somewhere, we like to see as much as we can. So we decided on a 2 night city break in Venice, followed by a 5 night relaxing pool side retreat in Sorrento.

24th June

We flew to Venice that morning after staying the night at BLOC hotel at Gatwick, which we’d recommend to anyone! Although Hayley had quite a lot of nerves about flying, it made the whole experience far less stressful, and so we jetted off to Italy!

When you get to Marco Polo Airport in Venice, you can either get a private water taxi into the city or you can get on the waterbus (Vaporetto) which is a lot cheaper. The Vaporetto isn’t that big, and we shared it with about 6 other couples. That’s the first thing we’d say about Venice, compared to other cities it’s actually really quiet and there aren’t THAT many people! It took about an hour to get to our waterbus stop, and then about 5 minutes to walk over a couple of mini bridges to our hotel. 



Our hotel (Hotel San Samuele) was so quaint and quirky. It had lots of plants and little paintings everywhere; it was so quiet- yet it was short walking distances from restaurants/bars/shops. 

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We got changed into a new outfit, and headed out to explore.

Get lost in Venice! There are so many narrow alleys and bridges. Everywhere you turn there’s a new Gondola or a pizza bar, but once you’ve been there 24 hours you’ll find yourself bypassing the same things over and over! It really isn’t as big as we’d imagined- in a good way! 










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Although we say get lost, we’d recommend looking up some restaurants/bars that you’d like to try before you go. We really fancied some pasta (as you do...) and Dave had read about a tiny hole in the wall called ‘Dal Moros’ on Trip Advisor. It’s a place where you pick your type of pasta, meats and sauces & they serve it up in a take-away fashion. We grabbed a drink and sat on some steps next to the canal ready to tuck in!


After that we ventured into St. Marks Square (Piazza San Marco) for some pistachio gelato ice cream and a mooch around snapping! 

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That night we chose a restaurant from our ‘Wallpaper’ Venice guide called Caffè Centrale, which took a while to find but was worth it! We had the nicest spaghetti and cocktails, followed by a walk along the canal. 

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It costs 100 euros for a gondola at night, but we only had 80 after food! We walked around, and then at 11pm the man in the gondola called us over, and said as it was quiet he would let us on for 80 euros. We’re not even exaggerating when we say there was no one else on the water! In the daytime there are queues to get on these boats, and people are squished into one together, sharing with strange families and it didn’t seem very romantic. But we would 100% recommend spending the extra and getting on at night. It was so quiet, that it was like being on a Disney ride! Our rower (Roberto) even sang some Italian songs for us, and gave us a brief history, and even took us to where George Clooney got married last year!

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25th June

We both woke up, and had completely forgotten it was our anniversary. We sat up and chatted about our plans for the day, and it wasn’t until Facebook congratulated us that we remembered! Modern relationships for you right there! So, we exchanged cards and then headed out for a proper Italian breakfast and a stroll round the area. 

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We then decided, as this was the city break part of the holiday, that we’d visit some museums and art galleries. It was cool seeing some of the old and new Italian exhibitions, and we saw some amazing pieces of photography and artwork. 




























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Then it was time of lunch, and of course we found a place by the water and more gelato!




After a long day of walking around, we actually went back to our room for a nap! There are no other busses or modes of transport, so the walking does take a lot out of you. Once we felt refreshed we headed out to properly celebrate our anniversary. 

We started off by heading over the Ponte dell’ Accademia Bridge to a bar called ‘Osteria Al Squero’ which looked like a studenty bar at happy hour. We had a drink on the wall outside, and then had a little look around for a nice place to eat. 







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 We struck gold when we found ‘Ristorante Terrazza dei Nobili’. It was stunning! We ate right on the waterfront with the most spectacular views, and we could see across the canal at the Hilton Hotel. 


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This is where we’d planned to go for drinks this evening, and it didn’t disappoint! It has a bar called ‘Skyline’ and the lighting is a blue/purple shade. They have the nicest drinks and best service in there, and it isn’t even that pricey (compared to something of equal quality in London). 

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To finish off our evening, we took a long waterbus back in the dark (which was a cool trip in itself) to St. Marks Square again to watch the bands play- making the whole night oh so perfetto! 


26th June

Last day in Venice! Not ones for chilling out, we aimed to get loads more done until 2pm when we’d need to set off for the airport. We decided to go big, and treated ourselves to a grand breakfast in St Marks Square at Caffè Florian (another place featured in the Wallpaper guide), which is the oldest café in the world opening in 1720. We spent quite a bit here, but we had all the trimmings as you can see in the picture. 








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We were serenaded throughout breakfast by the same band the night before. Oh, that reminds us! Service charges! In Italy, there is usually a service charge of about 2 or 3 euros and they charge for the bread they put on your table if you accept it. This place has a service charge for the music only, but it’s worth the extra. After feeding the pigeons (be careful of this! They will try and charge you 20 euros, but we negotiated on 7), we had a final walk around the square. 






We then managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the Peggy Guggenheim art gallery, which was hosting a Jackson Pollock exhibition commissioned from the University of Iowa. This was such a lovely art gallery, and the garden is stunning. It is even the place where Peggy’s ashes are scattered, right next to where she buried all of her dogs.







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We then packed up all of our stuff and headed back to Marco Polo airport! Everyone should visit Venice at least once! Do the gondolas and the Skyline bar! Don’t stay for more than a couple of days because it really is a small place.

This was the perfect start to our trip, and oh, it really doesn’t smell at all!
In the next few days we will be posting about Sorrento, our amazing marble hotel, Hayley’s holiday style post & our souvenirs.



Hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions about Venice we’d be happy to answer them.


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