There is a destination that I always wanted to hold in my arms. It’s regarded as the most romantic city of the world. It’s Venice, the floating city built on an ancient lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeastern Italy.
Venice is most romantic in autumn with the sparkling colors of glassy arts and crafts and refined embroidered items. More than that, a visitor can indulge in the floating and happy feeling of perpetual love in Venice.
Step to the canal street
When we first walked out of Santa Lucia station, my boyfriend and I smiled because we then understand the reason why people can’t deny the passionate beauty of Venice. In the light sunshine of autumn, Venice was so fantastic with blue color from the Grand Canal, the sound of visitors pulling their luggage and chatting, and of course the aromatic smell of foods in neighboring restaurants that have been attracting guests for ages.
We first went around the Grand Canal by vaporetti, a kind of water bus and dropped by Palazzo Ducale, built in the 9th century. We were surprised at the magnificence and opulence of the building with a marble corridor built in Gothic style. The Enormous stairs were decorated with statues of Nereid and the God of War. Inside, the building was sophisticatedly beautified by big paintings and wooden sculptures on the ceiling.
Nearby, the sumptuous Basilica di San Marco built in 829 was also an attractive site. The basilica was remarkable with a golden tower that maked local people call this place Chiesa d’Oro (Golden Church). Visitors will feel the artistic space and original sculpture made in the Byzantine style with a remarkable arch designed in the shape of a Greek cross.
Passing bridges and some small squares, we arrived at Osteria Al Portego restaurant to enjoy a light lunch with special dishes, including sarde in saor, which is fried sardines with onion mixed in apple vinegar and tomato, and baccalà alla vicentina, which is salted cod with tomato, caper buds and onion. These dishes were specially cooked with recipes right from the 17th -18th century! To increase the flavor, we had the meal with Prosecco white wine. Since Italy is famous for pizza, spaghetti, pasta and lasagna, we tried to taste other dishes to truly experience the local cuisine.
After lunch, we decided to explore Venice in our own way without a map. We followed straight streets crossing big and small squares and viewed remarkable structures, Roman buildings with pillars and arches throughout the city. Small houses with colorful flowers, souvenir stores with lovely masks, colorful packages of pasta, arts and crafts and the fragrant smell of pizza, they all appears so glamorous that one might be assured that any traveler would remark as to the city’s beauty.
We visited Florian café on St. Marco square to enjoy the afternoon and looked at the blue sea with floating gondolas.
In the late afternoon, we went to Harry’s Bar to sip a glass of spritz, which is Prosecco white wine mixed with sparkling mineral water, and order the famous dish of carpaccio cooked by the owner, Giuseppe Cipriani. It was fresh slices of beef and salmon set on the plate with lemon, olive oil and truffle mushrooms or Parmesan cheese.
In the evening, Venice is sparkling and fanciful with the light sound of splashing waves. People are not in a hurry but walk slowly together as if they were spending time for each other because, of course, Venice is where people come to love.
Masterpieces of glass
From Venice, we take a vaporetti to Murano island to discover the art of manufacturing blown glass at the heat of 2000 degree Celcius, the same art that was practiced in the 10th century. They melted sand and limestone to make materials for the glass masterpieces.
These glass factories were originally located in the city of Venice though eventually this art was spread to Murano island in the 13th century. We had a chance to witness artisans producing various glass products such as colorful bottles, vases, frames and jewelry with different materials.
Murano is not as lively as Venice. We walked through small lanes, choose a local restaurant near the canal and ordered bagna cauda, salted fish with garlic sauce and olive oil, a plate of risotto alla milanese, Italian seafood rice and saffron, and some slices of bruschetta, grilled bread with pate and cheese. We enjoyed lunch with white wine in the cool sea breeze of autumn and felt as relaxed as we felt in love with the city of Venice.
After that, we found our way to the fairy island of Burano with bright and colorful houses that captivates all guests from their first step upon the island Burano brought us a peaceful feeling and wiped away all our worries of our daily lives. Like Venice and other small islands, the narrow streets were linked by different bridges over blue canals. The main means of transportation were boats anchored in front of every house. Although Burano does not boast big works of architecture, its colorful little houses along the canal and the embroidered art originated from the 16th century offered tourists unforgettable memories.
Returning to Venice after a long day and looking at people passing Ponte Degli Scalzi bridge, I wished I had more time here to discover every corner of the city. Venice always provides new experiences and brings guests its own attraction each day. There are not only famous sights and refined cuisines but also serenity and peace that make your love even better here.
+ Itinerary: From Hanoi and HCMC, you can book a flight of Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines or Air France to Marco Polo Venizia airport near Venice. Then, take a boat of Alilaguna from the airport to Venice at 16 Euros/ticket. You can also fly to Milan and then take a train to Venice (Venezia Santa Lucia station in the west of Venice, not Venezia Mestre station) in 2.5 hours at 37.5 Euros/ticket.
+ Water bus service: 20Euros/day, 30 Euros/2 days, 40 Euros/3 days and 60 Euros/7 days for travel card holders.
+ National park in Torcello (near Burano) and the art of mosaic with beautiful works at Santa Maria Assunta church from the 7th century.
+ Museo Correr: in order to discover the history of Venice through documents and artistic works shown in the museum with neoclassical architecture.
+ Opera de Venice: enjoy the opera (priced at 22 Euros to 85 Euros).
+ La Toletta: If you like books and lovely stationeries, you can visit La Toletta bookstore operating from 1933.
Visit Rialto Market, the local seafood market and you can witness the life of local people while tasting some cicchetti, folpeto (octopus with lime sauce and olive oil), polpette (veal pie with potato) or slices of bread grilled with mozzarella cheese and some cocktail.
Hotels are priced from 40 Euros/night. You should book before your trip because hotels in the center of Venice are always fully-booked and charge a high price. However, you can choose to stay at Venice Mestre (about 15 minutes from Venice by bus or tram) at a cheaper price.