Ah, Venice: the City of Canals, the Floating City, the “La Serenissima”—meaning “the most serene.”

You could have a year in Venice and never see it all. It’s almost like you’re Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth, walking down narrow streets framed with the tallest buildings, convinced there is no exit in sight when, out of nowhere, a doorway appears.

You turn and suddenly find yourself in a swarm of people in Bauta, the Venetian Carnival costume: long, black cape; white mask with a sharp chin, a tricorn hat. Back in the Medieval and Renaissance periods, Venetians wore these costumes to hide their identity as upper and lower classes mingled during celebrations. 

It’s surreal—like a different world. You look down, see your Dr. Marten boots, and you’re whisked back into 2023.

You resist the urge to take out your smartphone and capture the sight because you know that you’d be depriving your eyes of such an enchanting view, something so steeped in history but still modern, existing here, something you might not witness again. 

You decide to turn left down a deserted street with red brick walls towering on either side—the passage couldn’t be more than a few feet wide. You wander down into a courtyard where there’s the most beautiful cylindrical tower with a spiral staircase: Scala Contarini Del Bovolo. Eighty ascending steps later you are taking in the view of Venetian rooftops & Basilica steeples. Breathtaking. 

You lose track of time feeling like a Shakespearean lovebird until your stomach grunts as it craves one very important part of Venice—the food. 

The endless options leave you struggling to decide until you happen upon a chalkboard with “Cicchetti” written in cursive. An Italian man beckons you inside the Bacari, saying, you must try!

As you’re sitting at the counter, the gentleman (who you’ve now learned is Andrea) is making you an Aperol Spritz. You didn’t order it but he claims it will be the best in all of Venice. The back wall is covered in baby pictures & family photos, which you later learn is Andrea’s family.

He serves you your drink, and he wasn’t lying, it’s amazing—somehow sweet and tart at the same time. Andrea then places your Cicchetti in front of you. You dig in and each little savory bite is better than the last, all the while you watch activity out on the street. You hear the faint singing of a gondolier in the distance and are drawn to it.

Outside, you see a man in a canotier (gondolier’s hat) on the bridge ahead of you. You simply must do it. 

He offers his hand to help you into the Gondola and you take a seat on the red cushioned bench toward the back, in front of the forcola that holds the oar and you begin your adventure down the winding canals of Venice, begin discovering the city all over again. As you pass under the Rialto Bridge the sun is setting and an orange hue cascades over the rooftops. 

You’re in Venice.

Tomorrow, when you awake to the chorus of church bells, you run to the window to open the shutters. Another day of this adventure and bliss begins…

 

If you’re feeling inspired by Jane’s recent trip, browse our fully-customizable Italy itineraries below. Also be sure to check out our popular two-country combination tours of Italy & Greece.

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Famous luxury villa Monastero, stunning botanical garden decorated with mediterranean oleander flowers, lake Como, Varenna, Lombardy region, Italy, Europe

The Magical Lakes of Italy

13 Days | 12 Nights
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Marvel at the beauty of the stunning Italian Lake District. Get away from it all with this countryside-based tour – relish spectacular views of Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Garda. Savor the tastes of the Italian food and wine, enjoy cultural activities and picturesque lakeside villages. Wrap up your tour in the metropolis of Milan, the capital of the Northern region of Lombardy.

Starting From$4,698per person based on
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Splendors of Italy & Greece

20 Days | 19 Nights
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From Veneto’s signature bubbly, Prosecco, to Santorini’s volcanic wines, this inspirational itinerary takes you from Italy to Greece while hitting all the culinary & cultural highlights. 

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Val d'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy. A lonely farmhouse with cypress and olive trees, rolling hills.

Italian Wine Country

8 Days | 7 Nights
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Explore Italy’s regions of Piedmont, Tuscany and Orcia Valley and immerse yourself in this 7-day itinerary exploring authentic local wineries.

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