Venice and Rome. Two cities that have excited my soul for as long as I can remember. Who cannot fall for the charm of the winding canals of Venice or the historic heart of Europe that is Rome? Whilst both have been so so tempting for me for so so long, I have always put off the idea of a casual visit in order to save them both for a special occasion; and when better to visit Venice than on our first wedding anniversary!! Roll on 12 Sept…
I must admit, I can only imagine that visiting Venice (or indeed Paris) with a girlfriend in tow would be quite the daunting experience. The romantic notion of the man getting down on one knee and sweeping the lady off her feet with a Hollywood style romantic proposal complete with fireworks, singing locals and flowers falling from the sky would prove all to much pressure for me in my days of single mandom. I can only think that pre-proposal Mrs DreamFlyDiscover would come over all faint every time I would do up my shoelace or drop a pen or pour her a prosecco etc etc etc. I have had many friends in the past year in long-time relationships visit these cities and the first question on everybody’s lips is ‘did you propose?’. City of Love? More like City of Pressure….
In honesty, I suppose there is another reason I have avoided the opportunity to visit Venice and Rome before now. Despite being over 500km apart the reason for the avoidance is the same in both instances; its a tourist trap. How many times have you heard of tourists being ripped off for food? Gelato? Fake merchandise? I have heard so many stories about not eating or drinking or enjoying yourself near any of the main attractions that I often wonder why the hell people go there in the first place. Do people bring packed lunches? There’s that side of it and then there’s the pickpockets. I get it, pickpockets are everywhere – particularly where there are tourists – but both Venice and Rome seem synonymous in my mind with down right daylight robbery, be it legal or illegal. Ok one more downside… the queues. “I queued for 3 hours for the Vatican”, “the Colosseum line was never ending…”… etc. Screw that.
It’s time to put the preconceptions to one side and enjoy the mother-of-all first wedding anniversaries and tick these two beautiful cities off my list once and for all. We will not pack lunches, we’ll tazer the thiefs and we’ll use skip the queue passes all the way and who cares about being ripped off by Europe? In the UK that’s been happening for years…. oooooh controversial brexit jokes! Too soon? Surely not! Lets explore my plans…
When? How? Why?
Well I suppose the Why? is self explanatory. It’s our first wedding anniversary and it’s a location that we’ve always wanted to explore. Two romantic cities flowing with love, relaxation and brimming with culture.
We booked our airplane tickets with British Airways back in December (I think it was late on Christmas night!) as we find that the tickets are the cheapest when booked approx 9 months in advance, round about when they are first released by the airlines. We bagged a single to Venice (from London Gatwick) for just £42 each and then a single from Rome (to London Heathrow) for a mere £39!! Unbelievable value, we thought. We then needed a high speed train to travel from Venice to Rome which set us back about £28 for about a 3 hour ride, which we booked only recently.
We were a bit torn when booking accommodation in both locations. It seems that both cities are very expensive places to sleep. Whilst I usually prefur luxury, modern accomodation we have had to opt for old fashioned, traditional hotels in both locations. Both look a little tired but in fairness they do encapsulate the culture and feeling of Italy. I suppose when you walk the ancient lanes of Venice or Rome and end up in a modern, sleek hotel (which could be anywhere in the world) it could feel a bit souless. So despite my initial reservations I’m growing to like the hotel we have opted for.
Venice: Alloggi Santa Sofia is approx 13 minute walk from St Marks Square and equidistant to the train station for our departure. I’m not quite yet sure how Venice works in terms of walkablity and what needs water buses and what can be done via bridges… I guess time will tell! (£101pn)
Rome: B&B La Ciumachella is located near the Vatican so perhaps is a bit of a mission to the rest of the city… I’m a little nervous on this one… time will tell! But great value and good reviews made clicking “book now” a sensible option. (£59pn)
So in Venice we’re all booked up to go on a boat trip to Murano & Burano to watch glass making and visit some of the more colourful islets that make up Venice. We managed to bag a deal that also included a Gondola ride so this should save the awkard haggling with a Gondalier which I’ve heard isn’t always a fun way to start a romantic ride.
We’re yet to book into excursions in Rome yet however we have eyes on the classics; Colosseum and Vatican City. We’re looking into purchasing jump-the-queue tickets for each and conducting our own tour/audio tour rather than a guided tour; mainly so we can take the time we want seeing what we want to see.
WITH THANKS TO:
Moyan Brenn (main image)
Any tips or advice for visiting Rome & Venice? Is there anywhere that has been on your ‘to-do list’ for far too long? Did you enjoy a special vacation for a special ocassion this year? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear….
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