Our First Wander In Venice



The joys of depending on the Italian train system. We had planned to have a lazy Monday morning in Lucca relaxing after a busy (wedding-filled) weekend, possibly catching an afternoon train towards Venice. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the train station on Sunday afternoon to purchase tickets, we were told that there would be a one-day, province-wide train strike the following day and that if we wanted to get to Venice on Monday, we’d have to catch the 6:30am train. The following morning, for two kids who were still recovering from jet-lag, my boys were troupers as we woke them early and bundled them into a taxi to the train station.

Hence, we arrived in Venice late Monday afternoon, tired and just a little cranky. We found our apartment off Campo S. Angelo with little trouble, dumped our bags and headed out for our first wander around the city with no agenda other than to stretch our legs after a day on trains and to find something to eat. Small and quiet, S. Angelo is in the San Marco sestiere but slightly away from the main “tourist trail” which runs from Piazza San Marco to the Rialto bridge. We followed our noses rather than a map, generally heading south-west towards the famous piazza to try to get a first glimpse of the Basilica di San Marco in the pre-dinner quiet. Our walk led us through Campo San Stefano past some restaurants which were just arranging their outdoor seating. It’s funny to think that these squares are called campos because they were once fields – in a city which is now battling to stay above water.

After walking even for a short time through the narrow streets and bridges, when you first come upon Piazza San Marco you immediately feel humbled by the size and grandeur. Our luck was in: the square was practically empty, the restaurants not quite ready to start serving dinner, the pianos quiet and there were only pigeons crowding around the entrances to the (now-closed) Cathedral and Palazzo Di Doge. “Mom, look, it’s the golden lion” BigB called excitedly. With the Piazza practically to ourselves, we we were able to take plenty of posed photos of the boys with the famous cathedral in the background. Unfortunately, just a couple of days later, our camera was stolen, so I have no photos to share :(

For a visitor, Venice is a truly confusing city in which to orient oneself with mostly small cobbled streets, an unintelligible addressing system and, of course, canals. I had no idea that this was the case when we had set out earlier, The Rough Guide to Venice confidently in hand, sure that we’d easily find one of the recommended restaurants. Hah! After a fruitless attempt to find one or two of the suggested establishments, I conceded to the urgency of the “Mom, I’m hungry” cries and instead we returned to Campo San Stefano where we ate a decent, reasonably-priced meal at Ristorante San Stefano. As we relaxed over coffee after our meal, I studied the map in our guidebook, trying to commit the general layout of the city to memory. The boys were exploring the piazza – which is just the right size for enabling some independence, but not so large that they could disappear out of view. Although, when they came barreling back to us at top speed having ‘discovered’ a gelateria at the other end of the square, there was no way we could miss them.The Gelateria Paolin is one of the city’s oldest gelateria and is world-famous for it’s pistachio gelato. An excellent way to end to a busy day.

Related posts:
Navigating Venice By Vaporetto

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This entry was posted in International Escapades, Italy and tagged , , on by .

About wandermom

". . .life is short and the world is wide" - Simon Raven I'm not sure I've ever consciously planned a trip based on this sentiment, but it definitely influences my subconscious! I've been traveling as frequently and widely as possible since I finished school. And I love it. I love the research, the planning, the fervent packing and the curiosity of exploring somewhere I've never been before. My husband & I are both Irish - as in born-in-Ireland. But we live in Seattle. We have two boys: wild, boisterous, regular boys. So, since becoming a Mom, I've been a WanderMom. Given our slightly-unusual family situation, routine "visits-to-Grandma" are international trips requiring passports, 10hr-flights and (oh joy!) airport transfers. I have rants, raves and opinions about how, where & why to travel with kids (start them as young as you can, I say!). I hope to learn even more by researching topics which other wandermoms may be interested in reading about on this blog. Passports, pacifiers, diapers and gameboys at the ready - off we go! Contact Info: Email Michelle: michelle (at) murphnduff (dot) org

6 thoughts on “Our First Wander In Venice

  1. Quickroute

    So many people I talked to complained about how expensive Venice but thankfully once you wander off the main drag it’s a fraction of the price – great place – I love it!

  2. Pingback: The Long Way to Murano - WanderMom

  3. Sheldon Christensen

    Nice post! My wife and I are taking our ten month old boy with us to Europe in April. It is going to be quite a ride. We will be renting a car and driving around and Venice is one of our stops. CAnt wait!

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