When it comes to Venice, many people immediately think of romantic getaways for couples. When I first saw Casanova, I was enthralled by the city’s surroundings and exquisite camera angles, which gave Venice a romantic and mysterious appearance. I convinced myself that I would visit this city, whether alone or with my partner. And I did it on my own, travelling to Venice to heal my worn-out soul. It was during a Christmas season, and I was surprised to see so many solo travellers there. Doesn’t it sound unromantic? I’m not sure, but it was a great trip for me. Simply because Venice, with its landscape, gastronomy, and arts, is a perfect muse that can touch your soul to the core. I’d say Venice was interesting enough for me to want to spend time alone with it.
I’ve visited Italy several times and adore it for a variety of reasons. Italy is one of the few nations where I feel compelled to explore every nook and cranny and learn about every facet of its culture. Though the tranquility in Norway has kept me here for a long time, I am drawn to the excitement and cultural layers found in each region in Italy, which drives me to visit and explore them once in a while.
Where to stay
Many people, including me, preferred to stay in the city center. I chose to stay in San Marco because it was my first trip to Venice alone, and it was during the Christmas holiday season, so I supposed it would be much more convenient in case traffic was disrupted due to the holiday season. It only required a few steps to get to the main attractions in the area. It’s easy to observe how full and active Venice was during the day, and even at night. However, I ran into some friends from the Netherlands who informed me that I could have had a better option. They were staying in an apartment just outside of the city center, surrounded by nature, beautiful views and friendly locals. It took them only 10-15 minutes by boat to go to the city centre, but the natural beauty and tranquil surroundings were certainly a bonus. Therefore , staying in San Marco may not be a great idea unless you are a true city person. The northern Cannaregio and Dorsoduro are recommended for balancing all of the elements. These places are not far from the city center, but ideal for discovering the local culture. There are also good bars and restaurants there with fewer tourists and less blaring music. If you love arts, Dorsoduro is known for its art scenes, which include street artists, painters, and exhibitions.
What to eat in Venice
Italian food, of course :). Everywhere I go, I try to observe and follow the locals, and go to eat at places where there are more locals than tourists. However, I made acquaintances with a solo tourist from Hong Kong who was studying in England during this trip. He was a well-prepared tourist and a foodie, always carrying a list of local food to try and things to do. I followed him to a typical restaurant in Cannaregio for dinner. We both ordered seafood spaghetti and did not have to live with the consequences of our decision. The mussels and shrimp were very fresh, and well prepared with a great sauce and superb pasta. Even though it was freezing outside, we still chose to sit outside to feel to the deepest the cozy feeling when we enjoyed the hot pasta and a glass of red wine. In Cannaregio, you actually can find quite many decent restaurants with reasonable prices. Trattoria Dalla Marisa, Le Spighe, and the breathtaking vista restaurant La Bagatela are just a few of them. The majority of these eateries provide a decent selection of local wines. Al Bottegon in Dorsoduro is another nice wine recommendation.
During the day, while walking around San Marco’s tourist area, you can easily find good street food such as pizza, chocolate, crepes, gelato.
What to do
I always enjoy finding hidden gems in new places I visit. Walking along the canal and crossing bridges late at night or early in the morning was a wonderful experience. The weather during the Christmas holiday was very similar to late autumn in Norway or early winter in Hanoi, which gave me a pleasant feeling of breathing fresh air and tasting the cozy morning chill.
As I previously stated, in addition to San Marco, you should consider visiting Dorsoduro and Cannaregio, particularly if you are interested in arts, local life, and histories. Boat trips to Burano and Murano should undoubtedly be at the top of the list. Burano’s colorful houses or Murano’s exquisite glass art works and glass products will certainly provide you with a totally different and refreshing experience from what you had in Venice’s main region…
For your enjoyment, I’ve included some photos of Venice below.
These photos were taken by Anna Nguyen- a friend of mine. It was because after this trip, most of my pictures in Venice, especially the beautiful food pictures in my main camera were lost due to a robbery in Barcelona. Thanks to my friend Anna who also visited Venice at the same time, I still have quite many good photos to show you.
PS. The article was written by me a few years ago when I was still in Norway.