:: GO TO SAN MARCO'S SQUARE ::
Yes it is always busy, full of people trying to sell you things, scary pigeons that fly so low you' think they'll land on your head but you have to go. When you think of Venice this is the scene that you picture. We were lucky, although busy, holiday season wasn't at it's peak so it never got too busy. We were able to practically walk into St Mark's Basilica (I read before we arrived that people can queue for up to 3hrs to get in) and we got into Campanile Saint Mark with very little bother. Both were great too; the gold and the flooring in the Basilica are jaw dropping. And the sea of terracotta rooftops once up the tower is amazing. You won't even think that it's 118 islands all connect by bridges; apart from the main canal you can see no water at all once up in the air.
:: WALK AIMLESSLY ::
The best advance I got from people before going to Venice was 'Get Lost' and they were so right. We spent our entire first day walking. We racked up over 18,000 steps and nearly 9 miles of walking. We got to see so many things; and there were so many hidden surprises just by following our feet. It was quite extraordinarily that you could be in a bustle square one minute and a empty area with pretty little bridges the next.
:: SIT & RELAX FOR A FEW HOURS AT A CAFE, WATCHING THE WORLD GO BY WITH AN APEROL SPRITZ OR TWO ::
When in Italy do as the Italians do; take your time. Nothing is rushed. There are no quick dinners, a quick (new word) drink in the afternoon is unheard of. Instead it's about taking time, time to unwind, time to chat to your friends, time to watch the world go by. Alex and I certainly did this while there. Drinks in the sunshine, talking about life in general, our holiday and just soaking it all in. Most of the time it was accompanied by wine but a few times it was Aperol sprintz.
:: ACADEMIA BRIDGE ::
For me, this was the best view of Venice. The stretch of the Grand Canal lay out before and for me it was much more iconic than the view from the Rialto. It was also so much quieter. And the area around it and the walk to and from there was brilliant.
:: BUY YOUR PROSECCO AT THE SUPERMARKETS ::
Another handy hint from a friend before we got to Venice and of course a very important factor too; where to buy your prosecco. We stuck to wine mainly when we stopped at cafes but in the evenings we had prosecco; we were in Italy after all. Instead of €6 a glass we headed to the nearest coop and we able to get a bottle at €3.80!