After our first day in Venice, where we managed to see all the big sights, we decided to just explore the town. We walked from our hotel down to the vaporetto station, Venice’s public transport boats. We hopped on, enjoyed the sights along the Canal Grande, and before we knew it, we arrived at the Rialto Bridge station where we hopped off.
We walked around, got lost in the small streets while looking for the bookshop Libreria Acqua Alta, before suddenly finding it was right in front of us. Outside, there’s a sign that welcomes you to “the most beautiful bookshop in the world”:
Once inside, it’s filled with books. In old gondolas, on shelves, boats – basically everywhere. On top one of the shelves I found a black cat, sitting up and simultaneously sleeping – I didn’t think that was possible but this cat certainly mastered the art of sitting and sleeping. He slowly opened his green eyes and peeked around at the people who were too busy looking at books rather than at him, giving him the perfect view of what they really were up to. Like a cute, sleepy, security camera. Apparently, there are many cats here at times as they’re welcome inside, but we only saw this one (below).
After admiring the bookshop, we walked up to the northern neighborhoods in town, almost completely devoid of any tourists. As during the day before, we got lost quite a few times, and Google Maps wasn’t of any help. Some of the streets are so small that Google doesn’t recognize them and sends you on big detours. So we just kind of waited and followed the bigger crowds and wherever they were going. We had some delicious pasta in a restaurant before heading out to explore more of the city. We allowed ourselves to just go with the flow, get lost, and get stunned by the surroundings. While the San Marco area is beautiful, it’s packed with tourists, which is reflected in the prices for a glass of wine in the town center.
We decided not to go back to the hotel before dinner and had a lovely dinner at a small local restaurant called Ristorante Trattoria Cherubino. I had one of the best pasta arrabiata ever! The decor is very modest and traditionally Italian, which just gives all the more of a local feeling. Definitely go here for great local food, if you have the chance.
After dinner, we wanted some cocktails and headed down to the famous hotel The Gritti Palace and its fabulous bar called Bar Longhi. We got a table on the terrace in the first row down to the Canale Grande, which of course gave us fabulous views of Venice and the canals by night. The staff, all dressed in white jackets, were super friendly and the drinks were exactly what we were after. Due to its location in a five-star hotel on the Canale Grande, the cocktail prices were a bit steep but what else would one expect in a place where going to the restroom is an experience all of its own? In short: lots of marble and brass details. On your way back from the restrooms are framed photographs and messages from some of the world’s biggest A-list celebrities thanking the hotel for its hospitality. A nice little touch, just in case you hadn’t fully grasped how freakin’ fancy the place is 😉 Jokes aside, it was great! After another drink in another place, we took the Vaporetto back to our hotel.