A sense of excitement rush from the back of my shoulder radiating to my neck, head and arms when I saw Venice’s Piazza San Marco on that winter night. It was adrenaline rush of excitement, I believe. Overwhelmed by the grandiose panoramic night view.
Venice was the forth city that I visited during my Europe winter road trip, with my boyfriend (now husband), a friend and sister-in-law. My sister-in-law had lived in Europe before for about ten years and has traveled throughout Europe. Hence she helped in planning the itinerary for us, an itinerary that’s suitable for first timer in Europe, traveling in winter. As that was the first time for three of us visiting Europe and as it was a road trip, we didn’t stay long in one place. The plan was to see the region and repeat places that we love and stay longer there on our future trips.
In this post, I shall share with you about our arrival in Venice at night, where we stayed, activities during the day and about acqua alta (Venice Flooding).
Arriving Venice At Night
By the time we reached the car park at Venice mainland, it was already dark. Yup it was winter and if I recall correctly it began to dark at 5 PM while we were on the way.
We got to Piazza San Marco by water bus. Reached there at 7PM. We walked straight to our hotel which was just less than 100 meter from the piazza (The piazza was beautiful at night!). Our hotel was a charming quaint hotel – Hotel San Gallo. After checked-in, we went out for dinner. Venice was really quiet on winter nights.
Since it was already late, most restaurants and shops were already closed. We found two places to eat – the Venice Hard Rock Cafe and a restaurant not far from Hard Rock, can’t remember the name. We had pizza and pasta.
Morning in Venice
The next morning, we breakfast in the hotel. Though we only eat halal, there were still plenty of options for us like cereal, cakes, bread, butter, jam, Nutella, bun, tarts, pies, pastries, yogurt, croissant, eggs, fruit juice, milk, coffee, and tea.
Temperature on that day was not very high (2 degrees celcius) as compared to the temperature when we were in Firenze, Rome and London. But the wind chill made me felt like it was the coldest during the entire trip! We also didn’t go on the famous gondala ride. It was too cold to just sit still when outside, as I am not used to such low temperature. I just had to walk, fast. Besides, the gondola ride was too expensive for our budget. I learnt that gondola price is also high – as high as car price in Malaysia.
We proceed with our sightseeing around Venice. I learn that Venice is prone to acqua alta (Venice flooding) in the winter. We were fortunate that there was no flood during our short stay in Venice. See here for information about acqua alta that I captured from a memo we received from our hotel when we arrive.
Our Day Activities On Our Venice Travel
We had time until afternoon to go to our next city – Innsbruck, in the afternoon, to avoid high parking charges at the mainland and we had hit the road by 1.30 PM before the traffic gets heavy. Did not stay long in the hotel. So eager to see Venice in daylight, we went out quite early.
There are many narrow streets and alleys sandwich by wall on both , look almost the same in a few streets. So you better have a map with you when you are here. We got lost twice. I recall we were saying, didn’t we pass this alley before? Then we eventually took out the map we got from our hotel, instead of just wandering about.
Sightseeing at Le Mercerie, the Venice shopping street
The location of Le Mercerie is the area between Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco, along rows of charming little shops with small narrow street. I thought these shops are nice to see, have their own character that sync with this old city. Somewhat similar to shops in Firenze and Rome. Goods sold are about the same too except for the Murano glass that is mainly Venice origin. I love the fact that Italy is doing a lot of preservation and restoration initiatives not only for religious centers and historical monuments, but for public places. The Carnivale was happening on the following two weeks when we were there. So masks and costumes were sold in allover Venice.
I was mesmerized with the picturesque view of canals with old building along it’s side. Felt just amazing how these structures can survive for so long with so much water around them.
We passed the bridge after the Mercerie during its rush hour. Many people from main land working in Venice just arrived. Facts: If I am not mistaken they have over 100 bridges.
Campo San Salvador
This is where San Salvador church is. It is also along the Le Mercerie. How to know which is the church? Lookout for a huge tall door at the front with dramatic stairs.
Sightseeing at Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco is the only piazza in Venice (the rest is smaller and called Campo). The piazza itself comprise of several main attractions, it’s like walking an open museum, just like Rome. On the piazza alone you’ll see many other Venice’s attractions, the Clock Tower, the St Mark Basilica, the Cafè Florian, Doge Palace, Campanile, Piazzetta (an extension of the piazza with rows of shops and offices), Logetta Del Salsovino
If you are here, make sure to stroll the Le Mercerie Venice Shopping Street and enjoy these rows of pretty window display