If you’re looking for a welcome distraction from Christmas then welcome ladies and gents, you have indeed found it. Yesterday we distracted ourselves with a (literal) walk through the morning sunshine of Venice, looking at my ultimate day in Venice, starting with the AM activities. Today, we look at the afternoon activities of my favourite day in Venice…
Part 2: The Afternoon
After spending the morning wandering through the districts Dorsoduro and Cannaregio, supping on brioche and espresso, before exploring the Museo Correr, you’ll certainly be hungry.
From the steps of the museum take two rights and keep going straight until you reach Campo San Luca. In the corner of this busy square you’ll come across Black Jacks, a trendy little coffee and wine bar. Take a seat, order a glass of prosecco, and munch down on Black Jacks‘ array of immensely tasty cicchetti, Venice’s version of tapas. Chow down on your lunch and watch life go by in the square, see workers come into Black Jacks for a quick espresso before going back to work, and get chatting to other tourists enjoying a cheeky lunch time vino. Make sure you don’t drink too much vino though, for you’ll need to be able to hold your balance for the next part of your day.
Jump on a vaporetto at Rialto and let it take you all the way around to Fonadmenta Nove. You’ll trundle around the quieter passes of Venice, past the Biennale, the gardens, and past the maritime environs of the city, an area generally unexplored by visitors. See what’s left of Venice’s famous shipyards and peer over to the island cemetery, where Venetians lie for a hundred years before being moved to the terra firma.
Alight at Madonna dell’Orto and head straight, away from the water, until you come to Fondamenta Gasparo Contarini. Take a left and go along this street until you can’t go straight ahead any further. This is where you’re meeting your gondolier coach! That’s right, you’re going for a two hour gondola lesson!
Row Venice, run by an American expat, provides tourists and rowing enthusiasts alike, the opportunity to learn the quintessential Venetian activity. Learn from the pros themselves on how to handle the oar, how to steer, and how to manoeuvre your very own gondola. You’ll glide (if you’re that graceful!) along the silent back canals of Cannaregio, and out into the open water of the lagoon. See the Dolomite mountains watch regally over the city, watch the trains dawdle over the Liberty Bridge, and see the city from a new vantage point. Most importantly, learn how not to fall into water when a vaporetto boat speeds past you, rocking your little gondola all over the place. Your gondolier guide will assure you that no one has ever fallen into the water on one of these trips, and you try your best to believe them. Rowing a gondola is harder than it looks, and it’s not for the faint hearted, but it’s an amazing opportunity to try something truly Venetian.
After two hours of rowing, you’ll be in desperate need of a spritz and some evening R&R. Read part 3 – the evening – in tomorrow’s final instalment of the ultimate day in Venice.