Venice, ITALY

I recently visited Venice one last time on a cloudy morning in November. As my custom, the train station steps were our meeting spot. My train had arrived 30 minutes before Emma, so I spent the time photographing and absorbing my last day’s views of my favorite sight in Venice. 

  

  

Specialty coffee shops in Italy are called Torrefazione. Me and my friends  have a favorite in Venice called Torrefazione Cannaregio, but you can find it on Maps under the name Torrefazione Marchi. It’s right off the main road from the train station, so within a couple minutes we were starting off our day our favorite way: with coffee. 

  

  

Of all the times I’ve visited Venice, there’s always been someone to navigate the maze of a city that it is. I’d felt too confused and intimidated  by such a place to navigate even before learning that the city’s layout was designed to confuse intruding armies. 

While making plans with Emma the night before, I learned that Emma felt the same way and wanted me to do the navigating for our day. So while having wifi, I downloaded the Venice map to my Offline Maps app. Finding public wifi is rare in Italy, so if you do not have an unlocked phone or a phone with service, you will want to be on top of planning ahead while you have access to wifi. 

The app is amazing and I highly recommend it. Not only did I feel self-competent in Venice, but even during day trips I later took by myself in Italian cities I didn’t know. 

 

 

I never felt so adept as successfully navigating us through the tiny alleys to San Marcos Square. 

The clouds had put the city in a beautiful light for our morning and set the perfect mood for our shoot in San Marcos Square. 

  

  

We continued making our way south to our lunch spot. Since we had to cross the Grand Canal, and Emma had never been on a gondola, I took her to a spot where I had found $3 gondola rides to cross the Grand Canal. From San Marcos Square, you just have to follow the water West for about 5-10 minutes to find the gondola docks for crossing the Grand Canal. 

  

  

As we started to explore a part of Venice new to us, the clouds cleared. The winters in Italy are characterized by dark cold days and the summers are miserably humid, so I’d suggest visiting in October or at the latest, November. 

  

We found Oke Pizzeria after a short walk. This spot is a gluten-free restaurant right on the water. It’s difficult to find an Italian restaurant that is gluten-free, as I learned a few weeks previously with Emma as we spent a couple hours just looking for a good spot in Ferrara. This time we did some research the night before while making plans. 

 

Honestly, it’s difficult to find good food, gluten-free or not, in Venice as there are a lot of tourist traps, so I would highly recommend Oke Pizzeria for good Italian food. I got a seafood pasta because seafood and pasta are both so fresh in Italy. Emma had the gluten-free lasagna and gluten-free tiramisu, off the surprisingly long gluten free menu, both of which are a rare find even at a gluten-free restaurant in Italy, so she and I both loved this place. 

  

After lunch we headed towards the Rialto Bridge to meet our close Italian friend Marta. We decided to save a few dollars and skip the gondola ride by crossing the Grand Canal over the Ponte dell’Accademia bridge.

 

We found our way to the Rialto Bridge and Marta. The Rialto Bridge was under construction during this time, as other iconic Italian spots in Rome. I had seen these a couple years before so I wasn’t too upset, but if you are planning a trip to Italy, do some research to be sure that what you want to see will not be under construction, as it would be very disappointing to have been visiting Italy for the first time.

  

  

Emma and I now roamed around Venice with Marta, making a stop at Majer for pastries. There are a few of these around Venice so you will be sure to stumble on one. I suggest their Chocolate Orange Cannoli.

  
  

I loved seeing Venice through Marta’s eyes since she is a local and being shown her favorite hidden piazzas and canals in the city caused me to feel closer to her. 
   

 

We made our way to the train station to pick up our friend Rachel on the way to the Jewish  Ghetto for dinner at GAM GAM (another easy find from the train station). 
  

We grabbed seats along the water and ordered the fried artichoke, Mussaka Gam Gam (eggplant layered and baked with ground beef in a tomato house sauce) and the shwarma. Everything was really delicious, and unlike most restaurants in Venice, there wasn’t a cover charge. 
   

 

It was a perfect last day in Venice. I hope to have shared something helpful to enjoy on your someday visit to Venice.