Italia: Venezia

Since I had been to Italy before and my confidence in my ability to navigate foreign countries is getting stronger with experience, I had mostly planned to tour the country on our own.  However, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and let a tour company step in and do the work for you.  So, when I came across the 3-day Northern Italy tour on Viator, it was the perfect length to give up control of the reins.  For a pretty reasonable price, the tour included one night in Florence, drove us to Venice for one night with a stopover in Padua and, after visiting the city and Murano, dropped us on the train to Rome.


After leaving Florence and traveling by bus we made a quick lunch stop in Padua, right outside of Venice.  After visiting the Basilica of Saint Anthony, we pretty much saw most of Padua.  Fortunately, it was a quick stop.

Saint Anthony's Basilica, Padua.
Saint Anthony’s Basilica, Padua.


There is no question that Venice is beautiful – such a unique city that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.  That being said, after I stayed there on my study abroad, I didn’t have the itch to go back, mainly because the city is hard to navigate and get around via water taxi.  But I wanted Tom to see it before it sinks, so one quick night was enough to see St. Mark’s Square and stop at a Murano glass factory.

Gondola at the Rialto Bridge, Venice
Gondola at the Rialto Bridge, Venice

The Accommodations

  • Hotel Continental – our tour company obviously picked this hotel for us, which was on the other side of the city.  Being a water taxi ride away from St. Mark’s Square, it was a little separated from the main tourist attractions.  The hotel itself was large, historic, and very pretty, but due to location alone I would recommend the hotel I had stayed in during study abroad, which was also gorgeous and a little more updated: Hotel Concordia.
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's)
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s)

The Sites

  • St. Mark’s Basilica
  • St. Mark’s Square
  • Murano: the island known for its unique glassblowing

I wish I could have visited Burano again, the island of handmade lace, but unfortunately it didn’t fit into our packed schedule to see Venice in one day.  So, we stocked up on some Murano glass instead.

Murano, Venice
Murano, Venice

The Food

The restaurants we ended up at really weren’t planned, other than our included dinner in the hotel. However, I had one of the best calzones I’ve ever had from a quick bar near St. Mark’s and some amazing arancini (rice balls). The food is a little pricier in Venice thanks to everything being imported, but the food tastes just like other parts of Italy.

After some free time the next day, we walked the cobblestone streets to the nearby train station and were headed for Rome…

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