There is a reason movie stars get married in Venice. It is because it is AWESOME. To be in a country where history goes back literally thousands of years is sometimes mind boggling. To know that a civilization build a CITY and main port on water is crazy.
We only had about 24 hours in Venice, so we hit the ground running as soon as we got in on train. We took a bus to the hotel, but see this, a WATER bus. Basically a boat to hotel. Our hotel was Hotel L’Orologio, aka the Clock Hotel. It was amazing. I’m sure that there are countless hotels that are top notch in Venice, but our hotel hit all the right marks.
Hotel L’Orologio was reasonably priced, in a prime location near the Rialto Bridge and right on the Grand Canal. It is called the Clock Hotel for a reason. The hotel walls are decorated with many clocks displaying mythological creatures and characters and a other aspects of their offerings had a “time” theme, adding a nice modernist feel. Our hotel room had a view out right onto the Grand Canal, across from the Support sculpture from Lorenzo Quinn. It was amazing. It definitely made me wish we would have had longer in Venice so we could have sat and enjoyed the hotel and our view. We definitely took advantage of the free breakfast (WITH A MIMOSA BAR). I cannot recommend this hotel enough.
Our main activity on our arrival day was a boat tour of the Grand Canal and, in general, of Venice and the surrounding islands. I was recommended to NOT take a gondola ride, so I didn’t, and I’m so GLAD that I did not. Gondola rides are a tourist trap. Super expensive, you can’t even really get that far, and trust me, it is NOT romantic looking like you see in the movies. We did a motorized boat and had a tour guide. We got really lucky and we were literally the ONLY ones on the tour. So, we had a full bottle of Prosecco to split and the tour guide to ourselves.
The next day was full of touring St. Mark’s Basilica & Doges Palace. St. Mark’s was insane. So much gold. Unfortunately pictures were not allowed and the staff was everywhere being crazy about it. Its a must see inside. Doge’s Palace was a bit more government in nature than I thought. Basically meaning it was a building where the governing bodies met, court was in session, and there was a prison. The prison was cool, in a sense that it is no longer in use and the human rights atrocities are forgotten. Graffiti was still visible on the walls from the prisoners, with very simplistic “female” drawings, “I Love so and so”, etc. So prison graffiti from the 14th century roughly resembled American public restroom graffiti.