The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Travel: Why Venice in the winter is not to be missed
Categories: travel

Carnivals, decadance, culture and a sense of mystery are just some of the things that inspire me to visit somewhere new. Having savoured the novels of Michelle Louric over the last couple of years, I feel as if I know this city and its history very well. Venice is a beautifully sleepy, atmospheric and stunning place in December.

We arrived at the airport and were picked up by a beautiful water taxi that virtually flew across the water towards the mainland, and we sped past the larger boats and Vaporettos in the warm light of the winter sunset. The photo is our view out the back, and it was a bumpy ride but exhilarating all the same. After 20 minutes we were on the labyrinth of canals sweeping under the wooden footbridges and past the world-famous gondolas. To say we were excited was an understatement especially when we arrived at our hotel and stepped out of the boat into the canal-side entrance.

The Liassidi Palace Hotel where we stayed is a beautiful old building which is adorned with art throughout and boasts regular art exhibitions on the mezzanine floor. The concierges were always helpful, they lent me an iphone charger as I had forgotten mine, but breakfast was a different matter and we were scolded every morning by one of the staff and the food was always cold – but the coffee was great.

As Venice is very small, it’s great to get out and explore and we walked for several hours a day. It’s easy to get lost but pretty easy to get back on track. There are 122 tiny islands which are patched together with elaborate footbridges and travel is by foot or water.

We were very near St Mark’s Square and visited the oldest, and most expensive, tearoom, Florian which first opened its doors in 1720. The decor hasn’t changed and it was great to be in there to have impeccable service and chamber music. The prices are very high and a dessert cost around 15 Euro but as a one off, it was worth it.

Window shopping takes on a new meaning in Venice. There are hundreds of shops which sell carnival masks. One in particular stood out, it was along the canal from our hotel and we decided to have a nose around and there was noone but us inside and loud classical music. With all the masks and costumes inside, we began to feel swept up in an historic drama and nearly squealed when the owner appeared. Such is the atmosphere in Venice that you feel you could walk through a doorway or turn a corner and easily step back in time to a century, or even two, ago. The shop windows are lit at night like the one below.

In my next post, I will cover off some of the amazing art we experienced and visited, in the meantime, here are some of the travel details.

Getting there and back:

We flew with easyjet from Gatwick and flying was cheaper because it was on Thursday and outside of the school holidays. Our tickets were £85 return each and booked a month in advance.

Gatwick Express had problems with it’s booking engine so I didn’t get our first class tickets and instead took the train from Clapham for a quarter of the price. It cost £13 return for both of us using a Family Railcard discount card.

We usually cab it to Heathrow (it’s 15 minutes by car) and Stansted (2 hours at least by train and 90 minutes max by car) but Gatwick is a doddle for us by train. We tend to shop around for cab prices and find Green Tomatoes is about 50% cheaper than Addison Lee for account and cash bookings.

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