Just back from… Venice (and the Veneto)

Anna boat

Anna finds her namesake vessel in Venice © Anna Tyler

Anna Tyler, Lonely Planet’s Destination Editor for southern Europe, recently returned from a trip to Venice and its surrounds.

Tell us more… My mum and I hadn’t been on holiday together for years, despite her repeated hints about sneaking herself into my suitcase to get in on my adventures! Mum was super-keen to visit Venice, as the only other time she’d visited (over ten years ago) she was chaperoning a hoard of boisterous schoolchildren. I can’t get enough of Venice, and was keen to have to nose around some nearby towns as well.

In a nutshell… There’s so much to see and do in Venice, that it is almost impossible to know where to start. My Mum wanted to see the major sights like the Doge’s Palace, whereas I wanted to get off the beaten path a bit and check out some of the less-visited neighbourhoods. We also ventured out into the Veneto region that surrounds Venice, spending a day each in Padua and Treviso (the town closest to Venice Treviso airport).

The gondola repair yard in San Trovaso © Anna Tyler

If you do one thing… Go for a stroll in Dorsoduro – my favourite Venetian neighbourhood. We crossed over the wooden Accademia bridge to get there, which gives incredible views up and down the Grand Canal. It’s great place to wander: we nosed around the back alleys, popping into little shops selling masks and other handicrafts, then enjoyed the sunshine as we strolled along the Fondamenta delle Zattere, admiring the views across the wide Giudecca Canal. Another interesting place in the neighbourhood is the San Trovaso shipyard, where you can watch the shipwrights at work building and repairing gondolas from across the canal.

Good grub? In a word: yes! Pretty much everything I ate throughout the whole trip was delicious! My favourite experiences were the ones where you felt like you were eating alongside the locals. Treviso was great for that – there were a couple of backstreet-bar-type places where you pointed at the food you wanted and then ate it standing up, shoulder to shoulder with a whole crowd of locals. One was famous for fried mozzarella sandwiches served with beer, the other for ham baguettes, served with a glass of local wine.

Mumma-Tyler trying on a Venetian mask © Anna Tyler

Get any souvenirs? You can’t visit a place as magical as Venice and not buy a little something to remind you of it when you get home! Fortunately there are loads of beautiful handicrafts to choose from – I bought a notebook with a hand-painted picture of a canal on the front and a minuscule blown-glass vase, and my mum bought a Venetian scene made out of folded paper and a couple of coloured-glass Christmas tree decorations.

Defining moment? It has to be walking into the incredible interior of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Every inch of the place is coated …read more


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