Why You Should Visit Venice In The Off Season

13 May 2020

The idea of writing a blog post about travel is one that has been on my mind a lot since wanting to get into blogging and sharing my past trips. But also being in the midst of a global pandemic (no mention of the C word on my blog) , where travel is and probably will not be on the agenda for the short - medium term, has stopped me from writing it. However, I want to start creating a list of places to visit after the global pandemic is over, so my thoughts would be that a lot of other people are doing the same,  right?

With the dip in tourism in Venice last year due to the flooding in the city, I wanted to give the city a little love so planned a mini break there in January of this year. Venice is one of the two last places I want to visit in Italy, with Sorrento & Capri being the final ones (anyone fancy a holiday?). I try and book a trip away every January to overshadow those January Blues. As I went to New York over Christmas (blog post coming soon), I thought lets keep this one cheap and cheerful, so chose the lovely city of Venezia.

After quite a few conversations with my friends and colleagues along the lines of, ‘Why are you going to Venice in the winter? – it’ll be cold and wet’. If I’m completely honest, this didn’t put me in the best frame of mind for the trip and would’ve done anything to change my flights to a more suitable destination for the time of year like Skiing in Austria or the Bahamas. Little did I know that, Venice in January was the perfect place to avoid the masses of tourists, benefit from cheap flights, and hotels, as well as avoid the smells from the canals in the summer (although I've heard this is an urban myth and the smells aren't half as bad as people make them out to be)

Bagging some cheap flights was probably the main incentive for taking a weekend trip to Venice. Simple supply and demand. Venice is always going to be in high demand during the summer months when the weather is warm, the gelato is never ending and not surprisingly, the tourists flock there in batches. So in the winter months, when it is raining and dark, you can imagine it being much quieter.

Like the majority of Italian cities, there is lots to see, do and eat in Venice. Although it's a great city just to get lost in thanks to the number of bridges and canals dotted around. And trust me - the city having nearly 400 bridges makes it quite easy to get lost in. 

My first stop (after that compulsory browse in Sephora and Mango) was the Rialto bridge, the oldest of 4 bridges across the grand canal in Venice. If there is one picture you recognise from Venice, it will probably be this bridge. A short walk around the corner from the Bridge is the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS department store, home to the most beautiful store architecture and all the designers you can imagine, one amazing beauty hall, as well as a Rooftop Terrace where you can get stunning views of the city (weather permitting). Even if you have no intention to shop the plethora of Italian designers, this department store is still worth a trip. 

The way to get around Venice if you're not on foot is by water, take a gondola or water taxi for the full venetian experience. But given it was January and raining, gondola was not the best option so I opted for foot.

Piazza San Marco often known in English as St Mark's Square was my next stop. For one thing and one thing only, coffee in Italy's oldest coffee house.  I love Italian public squares and totally get why they are much more appealing in the summer because you can sit outside and drink an Aperol Spritz. However,  going in the winter gives you such a good opportunity to just look around. You're not distracted by the alcohol, the sun or the food but you can use the time to take a look at the architecture of the sights such as St Mark's Basilica, The Doge's Palace and probably the most Instagrammed spot in Venice, The Bridge of Sighs.

What took me to the square was Caffè Florian, the oldest coffee house in Italy. I guess in any normal circumstance i.e. the summer, the queues for this place would've been lengthy but seeing as I was there in winter, I walked straight in and was sat at a table almost instantly. After reading the numerous reviews that raved about this place and their Hot Chocolate, I was slightly disappointed. The architecture is stunning, don't get me wrong and the service is great to say that the cafe is so central but the food and drink weren't anything to write home about (which is ironic as writing is what I do on this blog). It was quite pricey, with a Hot Chocolate coming to 13 EURO, again understandable as it is located in the main square. But Ladurée does better Hot Chocolate... you didn't hear that from me. 

A trip to Venice wouldn't be complete without a trip to the The Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  Located by the canal, this is probably my favourite modern art history ever (The Met in New York was a close contender but it is massive and my feet were killing after a few hours). The collection is based on the personal art collection of Miss Peggy Guggenheim (daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, and the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim), with the gallery housed in the place that she lived in for three decades. 

I think Venice is stunning and would certainly not say no to going back in the Summer.

Have you been?

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