I am back in action today with the next stop on our Italian Grand Tour: Venice! It's a city of romance, of crumbling buildings and rising waters, of Renaissance masterpieces and seafood specialities. We had a lovely time getting lost in Venice's labyrinthine walkways and sneaking peaks of its chaotic canals. While not our favorite place in Italy (I know, heresy!) it was spectacular to immerse ourselves in a place so steeped with history that every scratch on that wall seems like a relic from a lost era. Museums, churches, and a bit of shopping—we did it all. I am including a bunch of photos below that speak for themselves. If you have any questions about our itinerary leave it in the comments! 

Of course the city looks just as beautiful in color as it does in black and white . . . 

All in all a lovely way to spend a couple days! Here are a few of my favorite experiences/insider tips if you are headed there soon.

favorite church (exterior): Santa Maria della Salute, set on a plaza facing the grand canal!

favorite church (interior): Saint Mark's mosaics are not to be missed.

best way to get in a gondola: take a traghetto, a commuter gondola that ferries you from one side of the grand canal to the other for only 2 euro; there are six or seven crossing points open at any time, so to maximize the ride take one of the routes that cut diagonally across the canal.

best museum (for historic art): A tie between the Venice Guggenheim (now a must see stop for modern art lovers or people wanting a great canal-side resting spot) and the spectacularly chic space of the new Punta della Dogana museum of contemporary art (bonus! it's next to Santa Maria della Salute!).

best museum (for contemporary art): The Gallerie dell'Accademia is in a totally dilapidated building, but has some breathtaking altarpieces and Renaissance paintings (see photo of coffered room above).

best evening activity: Besides getting lost in a new neighborhood, I highly recommend heading to Piazza San Marco and listening to the black tie bands play in front of the swanky bars. It's sounds cheesy but there is something magical about hearing a jazz piano solo while staring at the twinkly lights of a world famous palace and church. (Don't believe me? Check out this video.)

best place for a romantic dinner: A tiny place with super friendly staff that's been winning acclaim for twenty years now, Osterie delle Testiere is wonderful. Get seafood and dessert. You won't regret it.

That's all! Next stop Cinque Terre, to be posted later this week.

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