Charming Venice

Charming doesn’t begin to describe

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Put Venice on your list if you’re coming to Europe in summer. It’s beautiful, relaxing, requires little-to-no planning, and the art Bienneal has excellent curators. This is also a perfect holiday for Berliners, Londoners, New Yorkers, and anyone else living in a concrete jungle. Enjoy this labyrinth of canals and little sideways streets safe from loud cars and reckless bikers.

I booked the trip on a whim with a semi-irrational fear that if I didn’t see Venice now, it would be under water the next time I tried. Now many would warn against going to Venice alone. It’s so overrun by tourists that it can be romantic if you want but is otherwise just another lovely city in Europe.


It was pitch black when I arrived. Good morning to my first sight of Venice. 🚣🏽

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My flight got massively delayed because there was a strike at the airport in Italy. Apparently this happens a lot. I arrived at 3am and honestly it was beautiful (and dead asleep) then.I swore to never stay in a hostel until I found the Guardian’s article on The Generator. It’s a boutique hostel with a good price. It’s high enough that it filter’s out the shoe-string travelers but cheap enough that you can plan the trip on a whim. You’ll find some 22-year-old backpackers but there were also some proper adults staying there. However, the hostel is across the river from mainland Venice, so you have to take a 2 stop Vaperetto (boat that runs like a subway system). For me it was worth it to save some cash, plus you get a beautiful view of the city every morning and evening.

afternoon floating

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Then from there it’s just street-side exploring and eating delicious pasta (and seafood if you’re into that kind of thing). I recommend visiting the La Cantina wine bar. Their food is over priced and somewhat under-delivers, but the vino is perfecto. Go nuts on gelato and don’t be afraid of the canal-side restaurants.


I avoided them at first thinking they were tourist traps but the food and prices were right. Above is a photo of Fettucini Alfredo how it’s supposed to be. I always wondered. I tried to record the names of the places I went but they were all fairly generic. I tried to go to Widow Ca D’Oro for Cicheti (Italian tapas style appetizers), but it was bumpin and I wasn’t patient enough to queue.

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The best thing to do in Venice is to wander around and get lost. Buy a day pass so you can take the Vaperetto when you get tired. And note that Google Maps still tracks your location even in airplane mode, so you’re can still map your way out of a jam. You’ll likely take a private shuttle bus from Marco Polo or Travesio airport. Marco Polo is much closer but both will drop you off at the same Bus Station, from there you’ll take a boat into town.

Last thing, do some research on the Bienneal. There are a few events that require tickets (especially for dance events), and it was totally worth it. It’s hard to research the art events, but there are signs all over the city for you to discover. I wished I had explored the #bienneal instagram hash tag earlier, I think I missed out on some cool stuff. And for some reason there’s a Frank Gehry exhibit inside Louis Vuitton (above).

Oh yeah and the Gondola ride, I read all over the internet it’s a waste of money.

Nina Mehta is a writer and product design leader in Brooklyn, New York. She began her design career in journalism and has been writing online for 20+ years. Nina is from outside Chicago has since lived and worked in San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Tokyo. Learn about her work at

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