When I spontaneously decided to book my first solo trip, Venice was top of my bucket list. The winding canals, beautifully coloured buildings and the vast array of famous historical buildings and museums had fascinated me for a long time. I was nervous about going abroad on my own for the first time but after a lot of research I was reassured that Venice seemed to be an ideal starter solo trip and a very safe city to explore on your own.
I took the plunge and I booked three nights in the historic Hotel Pausania in the Dorsoduro area away from the tourist crowds. Hotel Pausania was a 14th century Venetian house, which has since been converted into a charming hotel with individually decorated rooms each with real Murano chandeliers, frescoes and all mod cons (including free wifi). I only had 48 hours in Venice to pack everything in, so I started narrowing down my itinerary.
How I Spent 48 Hours in Venice
I got up extremely early and headed from my hotel in Dorsoduro straight to St Mark’s Square to beat the July crowds, walking over the Accademia Bridge and stopping to take some photos of the beautiful view. As I learned, it’s pretty impossible to wander Venice without stopping every few minutes to take yet another photo. It’s just so Instagrammable.
I wandered the square taking photos and soaking up the relaxed atmosphere before heading inside St Mark’s Basilica, the most famous church in Venice. I’m not massively into churches (I’m not religious) but I do love good architecture and the gold mosaic interior just blew me away. No interior photos (them’s the rules) but I’m sure you know how to Google.
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By the time I left the Basilica, St Mark’s Square was complete chaos. I queued for the Doge’s Palace in the sweltering heat and spent the next hour exploring the many rooms inside including the new prison and then made my way to the Bridge of Sighs, so called as it comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.
When I was done exploring (and sighing) I wandered the streets away from St Mark’s Square and sat in a pizzeria in a quiet piazza and watched the world go by over lunch. I spent the afternoon weaving my way through the streets surrounding St Mark’s, crossing the iconic Rialto Bridge and into the San Polo district for some more exploring before heading back to Dorsoduro for some pistachio gelato at Grom before freshening up for dinner.
I didn’t have any dinner reservations, choosing just to wander and find somewhere outside where I could people watch (my favourite solo activity). I ended up at Hostaria Galileo in a piazza in San Marco and enjoyed a delicious two course dinner at sunset (kudos to the attentive staff for trying to make it a three course dinner with frequent offering of a dessert tray, but I was done after all that pasta).
I attempted to walk off dinner during the fifteen minute stroll back to my hotel, stopping occasionally to look at gondola souvenirs in identical gift shops along the way, full of excitement at knowing I’d be taking a ride in a real one the following morning!
Continue reading: 48 hours in Venice – Day 2
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