MINI GUIDE TO VENICE AND ITS BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS

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Uuh, I have been looking so much forward to writing this post. Late August I went to Venice. It was a short but insanely eventful trip filled with the most breathtaking sceneries, an overload of culture and lots of exceptional food from the delicious northern Italian cousin. I went to Italy to visit my girlfriend who lives there, and we spent our days in Venice with her super kind friend, a true local Venetian, who guided us around in the maze-like streets, helped us avoid the turist traps and find the have-to-try local restaurants – and (most importantly) let us to the best Gelateria in Venice.

I can’t describe how amazing that guidance was, especially when you only have a couple of days in a city as loaded with choices for what to do as Venice, and I would love to share what I learned from this “non-tourist”-tourist experience! Not only did it do wonders for my culinary and cultural experience of the city, it also saved me from using 100 € on mediocre meals in tourist-overdosed restaurant. 
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The tiniest islands, with the richest culture

Out of Venice’s 5 small islands we visited three; Murano, Burano and Torcello. These are the ones we heard should be the most visit-worthy, both from several Venice tourist guides and from our “local guides”. 

Murano
We started our mini-island-jump in Murano, where we stayed at the cutest bed and breakfast. Actually I think it is the best b&b I have stayed at ever – check it out here. Owned by the kindest Italian mama, super clean and with an impressive breakfast selection with 5 different choices for coffee (finally in a country that cares as much about coffee as me). 

Murano is world-known for their talent and big production of glassblowing art. When walking around on the super tiny island you constantly walk next to one store after the other with mosaic and stones in the craziest, yet beautiful, colours, and in all the shapes you could imagine – from the traditional glass vase to a giant pink glass frog. Yeah, we were constantly discussing if the glas art is insanely beautiful or extremely tacky, and in fact I think it is a good mix of the two. 
No matter what, it is super impressive and interesting to experience, and I could recommend visiting the glass museum on the island to see some of their most extraordinary and valuable pieces.

Torcello
Ones Torcello was apparently a widely populated island, but that is incredibly hard to imagine when visiting now, as the island currently has under 100 citizens. Going from Venice to Murano to Torcello does not feel like island-jumping but more like time-travelling. From the busstop to the main (and only) square you walk along a remarkably idyllic canal, which almost reminded me of being on a tropical island close to equator.  
At the square lies an impressive cathedral (which apparently is a big deal if you are into art-history) and that is definitely a visit worth, but what impressed me the most is the incredible view of Venice and all of the islands from the old bell tower. Without exaggerating, the view seriously resembles an idyllic landscape painting from the 1800’s. 

 

 

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The most colorful place in the world !

Burano
Burano was my all time favorite of the islands we visited. Maybe it isn’t the one with the most famous cathedrals or history, but its atmosphere, screaming colours and lots of life made me want to stay there forever. I really think Burano’s atmosphere would be able to cure everthing negative or stressful in this world.   
Every house are completely contrasting colorful in the most beautiful and uplifting tints you could imagine. Walking around in Burano was like working around in a (very happy) fairytale in an imaginary world. Yes sometimes you could even be tempted to touch some of the buildings to be sure they weren’t made of candy or something!
I was told the reason for Burano’s colours is that in older days the fishermen could have a bit of a difficult time finding their own house after arriving back late at night, having worked all day and possibly also having had a grappa or two too many. 

 


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Venice – an overlad of culture, historie and amazing food !

We only had a day an a half in Venice (the main part), and obviously that isn’t enough too experience everything that city has too offer. Luckily you get to experience an overload of its culture, history and art from just working around and getting lost in the tiny streets. Actually we didn’t really get lost as we were walking around with a local – but still. 
Of course there is some things you “have to see” when in Venice, like San Marco square, but that isn’t interesting to write about here, so instead I want to share the places you have to eat, drink and stuff yourself with delicious homemade Italian gelato. Places you won’t find in your guide books.
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MINI GUIDE TO VENICE AND ITS BEAUTIFUL ISLANDSMINI GUIDE TO VENICE AND ITS BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS

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Avoid turist traps and get lost in new gastronomic experiences 

Of the islands, Burano was actually the most booming with cafes and restaurants – and lots of non-tourist super nice ones to choose from.
We eat at Al graspo de ua, which apparently is the local go-too hotspot. Their special is the vegetable-risotto and yum, yum, yum! That is all of have to say about that. Apparently risotto is a speciality of the northern Italian kitchen (I didn’t know that), while pizza and pasta is of the south. And you can really taste that they know how it’s done.

Of course main Venice is the place to be if you really are looking for exceptional gastronomic food-travel-experiences and lots of restaurant to choose from. 
The first evening in Venice we eat at Bacarando alla corte dell’orso, which is a very very(!) hidden local little Italian tapas place. Italian tapas, you say? Yes apparently it is a very traditional thing in Venice and I must say I am a huge fan. Fried mozzarella balls, tiny fresh mushrooms paninis and a savory tomato muffin.. Need I say more. If you aren’t convinced just try it! It most definitely won’t ruin you. 
Before we eat we btw had an aperitivo (pre-dinner-drinks) at Bancogiro, which is the young local’s hotspot. You don’t drink it inside but ask for it in a to-go cup and take it out behind the restaurant where you can sit at a platform by the canal filled with atmosphere and beaming with Venetian life. 

The most impressive food experience.. 
Was at La Zucca, the last day of our trip. It is a super tiny local Osteria, which is quiet hard to find (like everything else in Venice actually), but is so so worth a visit if you want something different yet traditional in incredibly high quality. 
It is a popular place so make a reservation. La Zucca btw means pumpkin, so you can guess what they have plenty of in the menu. They use the ingredient of pumpkin in very creative and super tasty ways, which just has to be experienced. 

All of the places we eat at main Venice was in the San Marco area, which is the most touristy area of Venice. But instead of paying 15 euros for a glas of wine we eat for one of of the smallest budgets I have ever spent on food.

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Venice La ZuccaVenice La Zucca

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But where to get the best gelato ?

Before going to Italy I made a deal with myself to eat Italian ice-cream every single day. And I almost kept that promise. One of the first things I wanted to know when meeting sweet local Venetian Sara was where to get the best Italian gelato?! She knew straight away and I can’t agree more. Suso Gelateria even offers plenty of innovative and creative flavors – right after my head!
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Venice ice creamVenice

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I hope you can use this mini-guide for your future Venice-visit, or maybe as inspiration for your next travel-venture. For me Venice is definitely a destination that stays on as one of the top positions on my where-to-travel-next-list, even though I have been there several of times now.

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Love
– Maja 

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