After Rome, we made a last pit stop to Venice. The “city” is really a collection of 118 islands and must be navigated via water taxi, which is a really unique experience. It was fun taking water taxis to and from the various islands during my short stay but it’s definitely a choppy ride and I couldn’t see it being a convenient daily form of transportation. I snapped these pictures on my way to the main island after crossing the border into Italy.
The boat ride into central Venice and the Grand Canal is great as you get to see the buildings far before you arrive to Venice itself. I couldn’t help but wonder how they built all the houses. If you notice, they’re built on marshy banks right up to the water’s edge. On some of the smaller canals, there’s virtually no stoop between the water’s edge and the walls. The lagoon is really one of the most fascinating architectural wonders. A tour guide later explained that the builders pushed mud and sediment to form the housing base and then stacked the foundation brick by brick, all while standing in the water. Imagine that!
If you love the Italian coast, you have to check out Positano as well!
Visiting Italy – Trip Planning Checklist
There’s so much to see and do in Italy that you can visit again and again and still discover new sights. I recommend concentrating on the big 4 cities (Rome, Venice, Milan & Florence) if it’s your first time and then coming back to explore either Northern Italy or Southern Italy in more depth.
Flight Deals | Flight prices from the US to Italy are highly seasonal. You can set a fare alert here to be notified of discounts. Every fall & winter, I’ve seen great deals to Milan (usually with Emirates).
Getting Around | A convenient way to explore Italy is via high speed train. You can search train schedules and book online here. Buy your tickets in advance to save on fares. Make sure to validate your ticket on the platform!
It also helps to speak a little Italian. Brush up on your Italian language skills with Rosetta Stone. You can take 10% off with promo code CJBT10.
Accommodation | Book hotels in advance to save, or check here for last minute deals. Many hotels in Italy are older so don’t be surprised if even 5 star accommodation feels slightly dated. Opt for a room with a view instead of breakfast, as Italians don’t eat breakfast in the same way Americans do and you’ll probably be disappointed with their offering.
Alternatively, groups or budget travelers can check out Airbnb.
Insurance | Lastly, be sure to visit Italy with travel insurance. Whether you get injured and need to be hospitalized, or your phone gets stolen, travel insurance will help when you need it most. A rail strike occurred during our trip, unexpectedly shutting down transportation for an entire day. Get a quote for your Italy trip here.