This is the final itinerary for our summer adventure in Italy. Today, I’m sharing the last stop of our Italian adventure with you: Venice. Here are the itineraries for Rome and Florence as well as My Italy Packing List and how I styled it all if you missed those posts. You can see videos of each destination on Instagram Stories in the Highlights named for each city.
Day 1 – Bauer Palazzo Hotel, Lunch at Harry’s Bar, Getting Acquainted with Venice and Dinner at Ristorante St. Stefano
- Arriving in Venice – We arrived on the train from Florence about 10:30 am and went straight out of the terminal to catch a water taxi. To catch a water taxi, walk straight out of the train station and turn to your right. Look for a yellow sign that says Taxi and there are beautiful gleaming wooden boats ready to take you to your hotel. There is a “bus” system in Venice. These are large barge boats. We did not take one because they are extremely crowded and we did not want to mess with our luggage and the crowds. It also takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to our hotel versus 10 minutes on one of the beautiful private boats. It does cost about €70 but it was well worth it. Friends gave us this advice and we were so glad we took it.
- Check into Bauer Palazzo Hotel – I booked this hotel through our membership with Inspirato. I’ve told you about all of the perks of Inspirato before here. (See a note about Inspirato at the bottom of the post as well.) This is one of the new perks that we had not used before. Jaunt Hotels gives you access to literally thousands of hotels across the world at incredible discounts. I was able to book this hotel at a 43% discount. When we arrived, we received an upgrade! You can see a walk-through of both of our hotel suites on the highlights called Venice on my Instagram stories. Both suites were absolutely beautiful and perfect for a us. They converted the sitting room in one suite into a bedroom for one of the girls. Our suite overlooked the grand Canal and the gorgeous patio where we had breakfast each morning.
- Chiesa di San Moisè – This eighth century Baroque church is just outside of the Bauer Palazzo Hotel. It is dedicated to Moses as Venetians considered the prophets from the old testament to be canonized saints. This beautiful church is definitely worth a visit. You’re not allowed to take photos inside however one of my girls secretly snapped a photo of a couple being married inside! Venice is such a romantic place it seemed the perfect way to begin our time here.
- Getting acquainted and shopping – Also just outside the doors of our hotel were every luxury store you’d want to shop. One Direction is Hermès YSL, Chanel. The other direction is Tod’s, Gucci, Prada… truly everything. One of our favorite things to do is wander in the local shops and, of course, we had to stop in another ll Papiero. You know that wandering and shopping with us always ends in gelato! We stopped at Igloo that was not too far from our hotel. I highly recommend the Dulce de Leche and Panacotta combination here.
- Lunch at Harry’s Bar – Of course, we had to visit this landmark restaurant. We weren’t able to sit upstairs but actually sitting downstairs was a fantastic way to do one of my favorite past times: people watching. We sat between a couple on her first visit to Italy and a mother-daughter pair from London. Lunch was fantastic but I would say very expensive. Obviously things are more expensive in Venice because they can’t grow anything there but two bowls of soup, three chicken salads two Bellini’s and three non-alcoholic Bellini’s were €242. Next time, I might just go around sunset and sit upstairs for drinks only if I’m with my girls. We were all a bit taken aback by a €27 bowl of tomato soup but definitely a must-do for drinks…which is what my friend had suggested in the first place!
- Drinks at Settimo Cielo at the Bauer Palazzo – We’ve had several friends who stayed at this beautiful hotel and all highly recommended this beautiful rooftop bar – Settimo Cielo means Seventh Heaven in Italian. It is the perfect place to watch the sunset in Venice. As I’ve said before, I love a sunset. The service was wonderful as were the appetizers and drinks. The view is obviously outstanding.
- Dinner at Ristorante St. Stefano in St.Stefano Piazza – We found this quite plaza earlier in the day. This is like a smaller, quieter version of Piazza Navona at night with performers. It has three or four nice restaurants. We chose this one because they had a table available quickly – traveling with kids, you know! Several people had recommended us to request the house wine at restaurants because it was always very good. We did this many times when we only wanted one glass of wine and we’re never disappointed. The same was true here. They also had gluten free pasta. Dinner here was very good. We ended the night with gelato at the St. Stefano Gelateria across the piazza. It was so good we went there several times.
Day 2 – St. Mark’s Square and Basilica and Doge’s Palace Tour, Gondola Ride, Music and Drinks in St. Mark’s Square and Dinner at Rosa Rossa
- Each morning began with breakfast on the Grand Canal with amazing views and serenades from a few of the Gondolas.
- Tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace – I booked this morning tour through Walks of Italy. Again their tour guide did not disappoint. Our guide was a beautiful Venetian woman who had studied history and it was obviously a wealth of knowledge. We learned the history of St. Mark’s Square, and how Napoleon had built many of the buildings that made it indeed a square. Learning the history of Venice and the fact that it was a separate country for hundreds of years and how it was ruled was very interesting. The artwork throughout the Palace was beautiful. We even crossed the Bridge of Sighs named by Lord Byron as it was thought that the prisoner’s must sigh as their last view of beautiful Venice as they were lead to the prison. The bridge passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. St. Mark’s Basilica is truly stunning. From the mosaics on the facade to intricate mosaics inside, the entire Basilica is a work of art. The view from the balcony above the entrance to the Basilica in to St. Mark’s Square is definitely worth climbing the steep stairs. I highly recommend this tour and using Walks of Italy.
- Rialto Food Market – My little foodies can never resist great food market! Here we bought fresh fruit and lots of spices and pasta to bring home.
- Lunch at Farini – this quickserve restaurants is filled with fabulous Panini’s pizza, lavishly topped focaccia salads and more.
- Gondola ride – This is a must-do in Venice. I have a friend that didn’t because it seems a bit touristy but now wishes they had. There is a large gondola station next to the Bauer Palazzo Hotel and that is where we caught ours. The prices are all standard and are a bit lower before 5pm. Gondoliers are often from a family of gondoliers and boats passed down from generation to generation. There is an option to book an Italian singer for your ride if you wish. We didn’t do this but heard some of them from our room and they were so talented!
- Cafe Lavena – After our gondola ride, we walked to St. Mark’s Square to listen to the mini orchestras playing and had drinks and appetizers at Cafe Lavena. There are three cafes on the square that have these bands.
- Dinner at Rosa Rossa (gluten-free everything) – This restaurant was a gem! It has a really cool neighborhood bistro vibe. There is a long bar in the front and three different rooms for dining as well as outdoor dining in the back. It is air-conditioned so we opted for inside. We had fabulous, fresh salads and probably the best gluten-free pizza we had on the entire trip. Maybe the best gluten-free pizza we’ve ever had! We then had gelato at St. Stefano Gelateria again…
Day 3 – Murano Island and Glass Factory Tour, Rialto Bridge, Private Boat Tour and Dinner at Hotel Cipriani’s Guidecca 10
- Venier Murano – After taking A bit of the morning to sleep in and having a leisurely breakfast overlooking the Grand Canal the concierge arranged for their boat to take us to Murano island. We visited the Vernier factory in Murano. We received a personal demonstration of glassblowing with a master, an assistant and an apprentice team. It is truly incredible the things they can create! The master quickly created a stallion rearing up on it’s hind legs which gave it to the girls. Each of the girls got to try their hand at glassblowing, as well. We each chose a small something to remember our time in Murano. I wish that I could have brought home so many things!
- Ristorante Terrazza Sommariva – After walking the charming streets of Murano, we headed back to Venice for lunch near the Rialto Bridge. We chose Ristorante Terrazza Sommariva and it’s beautiful outdoor dining area for lunch. They had gluten free options and again we were amazed that even in a very tourist area, we were not disappointed in the meal. We really didn’t have one bad meal the whole trip.
- Private Boat Tour – The concierge at the Bauer Palazzo arranged a private boat tour for us of Venice. This gentleman had a beautiful boat and gave us a great tour of Venice taking us through the more residential neighborhoods as well as down the Grand Canal. He pointed out celebrities homes and historic villas. This was a highlight of Venice and a great way to see places that would be difficult to walk to because all the streets wind so much.
- Gelato Di Natura – This was probably the best gelato we had on the trip. Definitely the best in Venice. Try the Panna Cotta…it has caramel ribbons and was amazing! We’d have gone here every day has we found it the first day!
- Dinner at Guidecca 10 at Hotel Cipriani – The Bauer Palazzo’s private boat runs to Guidecca Island every 30 minutes throughout the day to their sister hotel the Bauer Palladio. They have a beautiful garden that is open to guests of both hotels. I wish we had gone here to explore earlier in the trip. The garden patio is a wonderful place to have a drink and enjoy a respite from the bustle of Venice. It is a great place for children to run and play if you have younger ones. The spa for both hotels is also here and beautiful.
- After touring the Palladio garden, we walked to Hotel Cipriani for dinner at their newest restaurant, Guidecca 10, named after their address on this charming island. I would definitely recommend visiting this island and having lunch at one of the other restaurants on the island.
- Guidecca 10 was the perfect place to end our time in Venice and Italy. The service was amazing. The food definitely the best in Venice. The memory…priceless.
Bonus Day – We woke up to our flight being canceled and notice that American had rerouted us through Madrid and Mexico City before bringing us to Dallas. NOT happening! We called and got a flight out of Rome the next day. **Note that if your flight gets canceled while you are in Europe, you are entitled to not just rebooking but monetary compensation as well. Ours was €600 per person.
Since we were already packed, we quickly checked out and caught the high-speed train back to Rome. We stayed at a beautiful 300+ year old estate turned hotel, QC Terme Roma.
I had never heard of this brand of hotel but I will be on the lookout for it whenever we travel in Europe again. The rooms were gorgeous and the setting was like a movie set. There are hot spring pools here and a day spa. They have a happy hour for all spa and hotel guests. As it was still very hot in Rome, this is a popular place to come escape the city and it was about 10 degrees cooler there. I just say this to note that is was a bit crowded at the pools when we were there. I would definitely stay here anytime I’m needing to stay near the airport in Rome because I’m connecting out or have a short layover.
I’ve enjoyed sharing all of our itineraries over the past three weeks. It has brought back so many fun memories writing about our summer vacation and sharing the details with you. You can read what we did in Rome and Florence as well. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these. I’d be happy to help!
Special Note about Inspirato: You can see my original post about our Inspirato membership here and one of our trips here. They are currently offering readers of The Lush List the ability to travel with Inspirato without paying an initiation fee! You will only pay the nightly rate for the vacation you choose. And if you join, they’ll waive your dues as well! To take advantage of this offer click here to get more information.
Restaurants: I’ve ** the ones we visited and included other recommendations from friends. A few of the smaller places we wanted to try were closed as it was August.
** Guidecca 10 or Cip’s Club – Guidecca 10 is authentic, rustin Italian with handmade pastas, and Cip’s Club is more seafood. Ask to sit outside at both restaurants. Cipriani also has a boat that will take you to and from the hotel/restaurant if you don’t stay at the Bauer Palazzo
** Harry’s Bar – Bellini is a must!! Have nonalcoholic also.
** Cafe Lavena in San Marco Square – This is a must! Music, appetizers and Aperol Spritz before dinner
** Ristorante Terrazza Sommariva – next to the Rialto Bridge
** Rosa Rossa – We loved this bistro! Fantastic gluten-free pizza!
** Ristorante St. Stefano – Authentic Italian on St. Stefano Piazza
** Farini – Quick service with great food
** Drinks at Settimo Cielo at the Bauer Palazzo – A must for a great sunset cocktail
Al Covo – owned by Austin gal seafood mostly
Antiche Carampane – charming off the beaten path
Corte Sconta – mostly seafood
Rosa Salva – coffee pastries
Da Ivo – George Clooney favorite for lunch or dinner. Reservations can be made online.