So we basically had three hours. And even that was being a bit generous and optimistic. But really no matter how much time you have in Venice, my suggestion to you would always be the same – wander, eat good food, drink good wine, wander some more, linger while you wander, and leave happy. And even though I completely realize that you can’t possibly see every bit of Venice in three hours. . .you can easily get whisked away by this floating city.
With my own advice in mind, we began by following the signs towards the Rialto Bridge. Which by the way, the signs in Venice often give you multiple different directional options to go to the very same place. A bit confusing, and a little bit of a “choose your own adventure,” but eventually you always will get to where you are trying to go.
Just before we arrived at the (always packed) Rialto Bridge, we veered off a bit to the left, for a little dinner of traditional Venetian cicchetti (tiny little tastes of all sorts of different things, normally served on a piece of bread) from the locally famed, Osteria Bancogiro.
Now let me start by saying that there was definitely a large part of me that felt hesitant about Bancogiro’s complete tourist trap location. But it was late on a Saturday night, and it was literally our only option for cicchetti. Luckily though, it was a homerun! Bancogiro had insanely tasty little cicchetti (the best baccalà that we’ve ever had), and a really fabulous wine list (also some of the best we’ve had).
But what makes these tasty little morsels even more enjoyable? Especially when you are dealing with hunger pains after a long day of traveling? There is absolutely no wait. As quickly as your glass of wine is poured, your toasts are shmeared with baccalà , and covered in cured meats. It was a late arrival into Italy for us, but already the perfect start.
We happily enjoyed two rounds of these savory little toasts, and just as we finished our last pour of wine, we both realized that we were just steps away from our favorite gelato shop in Italy, Venchi. With only minutes to spare before they would be closing their doors, we hurried over and (predictably) ordered our favorite – a freshly dipped nougatine cone filled with nougatine gelato. Heaven. Pure heaven.
Gelato in hand, we made our way across the Rialto Bridge and onwards to St. Mark’s Square. We walked around the Square and enjoyed the famous “dueling” orchestras (as so cleverly described by Rick Steeves), we took a few pictures, and we both marveled at how different it felt and looked since the first time that we were in Venice together. (Which was almost 11 years ago to the day, while we were on our honeymoon.)
After one more pass around the Square, we both said our goodnights and our goodbyes to Venice, and then began the slow wander back towards the train station. Nope, we didn’t see the whole city. But the feeling of it? The flavor of it? The sense for it? Absolutely.
Venice was made for moments like these. . .hours like these. It was built for wandering and for taking it all in. It was built for holding hands with your sweetheart, and getting lost in its beautiful maze – in the people, in the art, in the architecture, in the food, in the wine, in the water – a city that somehow with only a few hours to spare, you are still given the perfect little snapshot of just how magical it is.