We tried our hardest to do Venice on a budget. Can I even put those words into the same sentence? Venice is known for being very expensive but here below are the details of our trip.
St. Mark's Plaza
Transportation:Whenever I hear the word "Venice" the first thing that pops into my mind are singing men rowing a gondola down a narrow waterway. I was shocked to learn that the average "off season" price for a 30 minute ride is minimum 80 Euros! When I was quoted this price I nearly laughed in the guy's face, yet all around I saw tourists paying for this iconic journey but never a local. Instead of dishing out this kind of cash, Husband and I used our imaginations while aboard the much cheaper water buses. There may have even been some self serenading.
I probably spent more time than I should have researching hotels in Venice over the span of 3 weekends. At first, I restricted my search to hotels on the main island, Venice. Not satisfied with the hotels within our price range, I looked at places on Lido di Venice. The island Lido is a 5 minute water bus ride from Venice and the boats depart every 10 minutes. Not bad at all! In Lido we found that we got a better value and amenities for our buck.
We stayed at Hotel Villa Stella. I was nervous about booking Villa Stella because it is only rated 2 stars on hotels.com and tripadvisor.com. However, on both websites the reviews (171 at the time) were mostly excellent with only a couple not so great ratings. Husband and I took our chances, put our trust in past customers, and booked. In the end we were so glad we did because Villa Stella was amazing!
I was extremely impressed with Villa Stella. On several occasions
Hotel Umbrellas=Singing in the Rain
In Venice you can spend a lot on a meal or you can spend very little. Our favorite meal was a 3 Euro pizza counter, Rossopomodoro, a tiny joint with only two tables. We just walked in off the street and enjoyed slices of a fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil pizza.
Husband's second slice- Italian Sausage
Husband and I also loved Trattoria Alle Due Gondolette, a family run restaurant off the tourist's path, frequented by locals. Gondolette is only open for lunch and the chef cooks a different menu every day depending on what is fresh off the boats. When Husband and I ate there we had bread, wine, water, squid pasta, sliced beef, orange marmalade tart, and cappuccinos for only 15 Euros a person!
I wasn't so sure about this at first, but it was delicious!
Do It Yourself Tapas!
I know I've bragged a lot already about Villa Stella, but there was an unexpected surprise upon our arrival to the hotel. They offered us a free water taxi and private tour of one of the glass factories on the island Murano. Husband and I knew going into our trip that we wanted to visit Murano because it is famous for the glass blowing. We were thrilled with this opportunity provided by the hotel and the tour was one of my favorite parts of our entire trip!
Murano Glass Factory Tour
If you ever visit St. Mark's Basilica, make sure to stop into the Treasury. Inside the Treasury, we were astonished to see a thorn and nail thought to be from Jesus' crucifixion. When you see those artifacts in person, it is very difficult to wrap your mind around what is displayed in front of you. This was such a special way to start off our Easter holiday!
St. Mark's Basilica Cathedral
A Typical Venice Bridge Picture