merchant of veniceJun 10, 2015
Still waiting for (season two) of Marco Polo...
For carbs, canals, and culture, Venice is the dream destination—that is, if watching The Thief Lord at eleven didn't already capture your heart (mixing young Aaron Taylor-Johnson with cinematic shots of Venice is dangerous I tell you) Charming storefronts, undiscovered alleyways, enthralling architecture... what more does a weekend getaway need? Take my word for it: Venice is truly a paradisiac escape. This is both a city of still serenity and bustling life, a city where one can enjoy a glass of prosecco in solitude but bask in the soundtrack of passing gondolas and lapping water (and yes, even the occasional, rambunctious tourist). Also on the menu? Sightseeing the Hollywood stars. Unfortunately for me, the day I left Venice was also the day Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones were filming Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code sequel, Inferno... and conveniently near my hotel too. Oh, what I would have given to sneak a photo with the trio!
My number one tip for exploring Venice? Travel on the off-beaten path. For once, getting lost is part of the itinerary—and sometimes it is the unexpected that harbors the most hidden surprises. And let's be real: you might end up lost whether you like it or not, so the key is to simply craft an adventure out of it. Amidst the serpentine street mazes are a trove of wonders big and little. Don't let Venice's innocent size fool you; there are many spots to delve into and discover.
And if you want to explore Venice Runaway In LA-edition, here is your step-by-step guide ;)
- Arrive at the airport (aptly named after Marco Polo) and attempt to call an Uber, but then embarassingly remember that Venice isn't NYC or LA. Defeated, embark on a more appropiate water bus to your hotel in San Marco
- Forget (or rather, refuse) to pack an umbrella and water-resistant shoes the weekend it rains in Venice. Apologize to trusty Converse sneakers for what they are about to suffer through
- Stroll around the famed Piazza San Marco; snap inevitable photos of Doge's Palace and the Bell Tower (but forgo the Basilica because the line is a nightmare)
- For lunch, brave the (confusing) streets and seek refuge at Osteria Alla Staffa. Reward yourself with buttery linguine and fresh mussels, paired with a Venetian spritz (composed of prosecco, liquor, and sparkling water)
- Soak in a magnificent view of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge. Try and pretend there isn't a Hard Rock Cafe a few feet nearby
- Consider forking over 40 euros for a gondola ride, but then decide to conserve your funds after the rain starts pouring (not exactly setting the stage for a "romantic" afternoon)
- Devour tiramisu at I Tre Mercanti and proceed to order the "chocolate salami" believing it to be a unique fusion of actual chocolate and salami (spoiler alert: there will be no meat involved)
- Spontaneously take a peek into Libreria Acqua Alta, arguably the best hidden gem of Venice (and essentially the Italian sibling of LA's The Last Bookstore) Prepare to fall in love with this unusual, bizarre bookstore full of vintage Italian novels, trinkets, and posters. Also featuring: books nestled in bathtubs and gondolas. A cozy reading nook overlooking the canal. Roaming cats. Purchase antique postcards as a souvenir because you can't read Italian. Wander further to the outdoor patio and walk up the staircase of books for an unforgettable treat ;)
- Board yet another water bus over to the nearby islands of Burano and Murano; Burano for its photogenic, pastel-perfect houses and Murano for its dazzling glass factory
- Conclude the day with an Italian must: pizza at Antico Forno, where the battle of thin vs. thick crusts is the main contender (hint: thick conquers all)
Gondolier meets streetstyle blogger anyone? Translating the iconic gondolier uniform to the sartorial world is actually quite simple. The blank canvas: a striped shirt dress, perfect for a day of exploration and island-hopping. D'orsay black flats ensure endless comfort and timeless style, while a sleek leather bucket bag adds a dose of modern luxe. However, mastering the Venetian touch requires three vital ingredients: silk red scarf, straw fedora, and a fatal swipe of ruby-red lipstick. Storming the canals of Venice is evidently the new runway.
Now, all I need is a Lizzie McGuire Movie sequel set in Venice, starring Hilary Duff and Lorenzo Richelmy (sorry Paolo)