A weekend away with the girls it’s one of those rare events that needs lots of careful planning, from childcare to logistic as you want to make the most of every second of mama time. When we first starting talking about a weekend away to celebrate my friend birthday, few places/ideas came to mind but at the end the idea of exploring, beautiful surroundings and good food won over the rest! Also, very conveniently Easyjet flies from London Gatwick to Venice in about 2 hours at lunchtime on Friday. Kids dropped off at school and a quick train ride to the airport gives you enough time to get some essential in the Duty Free.
Upon arriving on Friday we get to our accomodation via Venice public transport: Vaporetto, the local boat. Venice immediately strikes you with its beauty. After a quick shower we are ready for dinner. The restaurant we have chosen it’s 40 min by foot and we can’t wait to walk along the canals. 40 minutes quickly turn into over an hour! Venice is literally a maze, we keep getting lost. But every corner is amazing and a great photo opportunity. Saturday we set off early to get the chance to explore Venice from the best point: a traditional Venetian gondola. Venice is particularly amazing early morning or late at night and exploring it via the canal it’s incredible. The ride is 80 but the experience completely priceless – especially when shared.
After another walk along we get to the most amazing bookshop we ever visited. Acqua alta is piled with books everywhere, in gondolas, bath tubs, shelves. Total booklover paradise!
We stop for a quick cicchetti lunch nearby – the traditional Venetian lunch: small dishes to share. And of course they are accompanied by a chilled glass of white or even better, an Aperol Spritz.
After lunch we decided to explore a different part of town: the Jewish Ghetto. Venice Jewish Ghetto is the oldest in the world and makes a very fascinating stroll. And a much quieter one as it’s definitely less touristy than the rest of Venice.
Walking back towards San Marco we make sure to stop in one of Venice churches, Chiesa dei Frari, to admire some beautiful art pieces. But especially we stop to mix with the locals in Campo Santa Margherita, a square filled with small bars serving Aperitivo.
Venice is preparing to celebrate. During our stay is in fact Venetian most felt festivity, il Redentore. The entire city is filling with people coming to the streets and canals to lay blankets or set up tables and dine together. The Canal Grande is closed and boats are filling it to prepare for the amazing fireworks display at 11.30. And what an amazing display! San Marco is lit by the amazing game of lights and colours.
On Sunday morning we had the privilege to walk all the way from the main island to Giudecca thanks to a temporary bridge that is put together once a year for the Redentore celebrations. The locals consider it a good omen! Walking back we have time for a short lunch and to get our bag to go to the main station, via Vaporetto of course. The novelty of travelling everywhere on the water doesn’t seem to wear off – it makes the journey (even a very busy one!) very special.
While taking a last look at San Marco from the Vaporetto I can reflect on what a perfect weekend I had. Endless chats and beautiful surroundings while sipping delicious wine and aperitivo.
Aside for being renowned as one of the most romantic places in the world, Venice also knows how to party. Streets are always busy, the Venetians are famous for their cocktails (Spritz, Bellini etc) and aperitivo, squares fill with locals hanging around and chatting. Venice with friends was a real treat. Walking at our own pace, exploring little shops filled with the most gorgeous Murano glasses or Burano lace, chatting to the locals and enjoying a late night firework display. Somehow when away with the husband I often think back at what the kids are doing and how much they would enjoy this and that. But during our girl weekend I was too busy chatting and exploring and just enjoying the downtime that I didn’t wish to be anywhere else. Totally living in the moment but also extremely happy and excited to run home to my babies! What an absolute treat to be able to do this, and especially in a place so rich of beauty and history.
- Molino Stucky – on the Giudecca Island. They provide a private boat to travel to the main Island.
- Danieli Hotel – prime position on San Marco. The view from their terrace can’t be beaten.
- The best areas where to base yourself if you want the freedom of self catering:
- San Polo
- Strada Nuova
- Ca d’oro alla vedova – a real trattoria. Great venetian food and well priced.
- Osteria da Fiore – more sophisticated. Their balcony looks directly on the water.
- Giorgione – doesn’t get more traditional than this. Good, cheap food and live music played by the owner.
- Cantina Schiavi – for a traditional Venetian snack (cicchetto) eaten standing while chatting with the locals.
- Aperitivo – an italian tradition that can’t be missed. A pre lunch or dinner drink. If in Venice that must be a Spritz (Prosecco, Aperol and Soda Water)
- Naranzaria, in San Polo.
- Or head to Piazza Margherita and sit in any of the bars (Bifora, Caffe Rosso etc) that have tables on the square for great people watching.
What to see or do
- Walk around and get lost (literally! Venice is a maze and the GPS doesn’t always work) in its beauty. Every corner is magical.
- Buy a prints and wander around books in ‘Libreria Acqua Alta’ the most beautiful bookshop in the world.
- Visit Chiesa dei Frari to admire one of Tiziano paintings and the Canova monument.
- Explore the fascinating Jews Ghetto, the oldest in the World.
- Rent a Gondola. Nothing can prepare you for the magic.
- Visit one of the islands, Burano (our favourite), Murano or Torcello.
- Walk around San Marco early morning or late evening. When the tourists have left and the streets are quieter.
Review written by Luisa, a Kensington Mums member and a mother of two. If you would like to share a travel review, get in touch with us we would love to hear from you.