|Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell using Olympus PEN E-PL7 (Save £150 through John Lewis Black Friday deals)|
|Denim jacket: £59, Topshop. Jumper: £24.99, H&M. Jeans: £255, Paige Denim. Trainers: Senso (old). Backpack: £167.20, Radley.|
WHERE TO STAY
|The courtyard of our Homestay in Cannaregio|
|Our room, from £71 a night including breakfast, dressing gowns and slippers and a private bathroom, Homestay|
The room was much more comfortable than I imagined it would be, we could come and go as we pleased with breakfast as an added bonus with cooked eggs and fresh coffee...oh, and this was right outside:
|Denim jacket: £59, Topshop. Bag: £167.20, Radley (a backpack has completely changed my sightseeing experience - so much easier!)|
|Our room was one of the windows on the left - and this canal was our view|
Venice is not exactly large, so we walked most of it - quicker and more convenient (especially in the winter months when the crowds are less) - plus you see tons of side street osterias (local bars) which we kept vowing to come back to...
From the airport, the waterbus into Venice is so easy and takes around 40 minutes (luckily our stop was the first one), and costs €15 each. I've heard the water taxi is splendid but as it was foggy when we arrived we chose to save our spending money.
WHERE TO EAT
Now, I was under the impression that everywhere we'd go would serve home-made pasta SO much better than you can get in the UK and every pizza would taste like heaven. I have to admit, this wasn't quite the case - eating on the go and with convenience can mean you don't always end up in the perfect place - but we did find a few great little places.
Rosa Rossa - A recommendation from a lovely blog reader (thank you for that), we had a great night here, it had a great atmosphere and my gnocchi was melt in the mouth good. Dinner for two, including starter and drinks came to €70 euros.
Dai Tosi - possibly the cheapest, most authentic pizza we ate. The most expensive pizza on the menu was around €8 and the waiter talked us through the menu, advising us against pizzas without the freshest ingredients. Fully booked every night, you'll have to book in advance (we rang on the day), but it's worth it - our whole meal came to €30 (including half a litre of wine).
Caffe Florian - a Venice institution, we went here for our last breakfast as a leaving treat. Right on St Mark's Square (which means good people watching), it is expensive but not outrageously - a coffee costs €9.50 - but is served in such a splendid, one of a kind setting. It's often hugely busy in the summer months - but in the winter you can easily get a table.
|Sunglasses: £151, Kenzo at Monnier Freres|
Osterias - we learnt quite early on that if you want cheap, easy, tasty food (with a good atmosphere), then do as the locals do and visit some of the many Osterias or Bacaros - small wine bars serving small snacks - Cicchetti - like Venetian tapas.
|Street Food stall serving fresh seafood|
Fiore - near St Mark's, this was our homestay host, Monica's favourite place for lunch.
|Mixed plate of Cicchetti and 2 glasses of wine - €15|
Osteria Ruga di Jaffa - great atmosphere here at night, a good place to drop into on your way home.
And what to drink? Well, wine is super cheap and no one blinks an eye when you order the house red - they're all good. I'm not actually a wine drinker (I tried a few glasses of Prosecco) so quickly adopted the (pretty much) National drink of Aperol Spritz - between €4 and €6 euros a glass - always worth a tipple on the way home.
|Bar just behind St Mark's Square|
Make-up tip: for long-wear sightseeing make-up, I took Smashbox BB Water - amazing coverage and super light for someone who doesn't like wearing make-up. I'd really recommend it for an easy, one-application product which lasts all day until the evening (as we didn't really have time to get changed for dinner).
Clothing tip: it's cold in Venice in November - so scarves and a puffa coat necessary. I took a few evening outfits but didn't wear any of them, restaurants are super relaxed - a jumper and jeans are perfectly fine for dinner.
My next Venice round-up will include what to see and do - there were just too many photos to include in one post!
We were guests of Homestay during our time in Venice - but would thoroughly recommend it for a more local experience and would definitely book again.