I had a plan for 2017. I wanted to make it the Year!of!Italy! Well . . . best laid plans and all that, right? But as it turns out, Italy was determined to at least be a part of 2017 in the form a a two-day solo trip to Italy. Venice, to be exact. I deeply needed a bit of a time away. Time to regroup. Time to be alone.
Initially I’d been thinking Ireland or Germany, but Venice turned out to be the most doable in terms of unsold seats (30+, each way, a nonrev flyer’s dream). As a bonus, the Venice Art Biennale is happening this year. It opened only a week or two ago, and there’s been a lot of great buzz–the curator is also the chief curator of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, one of my favorite museums in the world. Of course I was going to Venice.
Okay, so the basic logistics:
- Date of travel: May 18, 2017 (overnight flight) to May 21, 2017
- Weather: day 1 was sunny, humid, around 70 degrees-ish; day 2 was rainy, humid, and cool, around 60 degrees
- Lodging: Airbnb located around the corner from the Biennale Giardini entrance
- Vaporetto stop proximity: Giardini
- Public transit: 2-day vaporetto pass and round-trip water bus pass to and from the airport
- Glasses of wine: 8
- Cups of cappuccino: 1
- Number of gelato cones: 1
Speaking of basic logistics, my first impression of Venice–and a very important thing to know–is that everything moves very, very slowly. I’d read about how finding places will take far longer than anticipated because of how hard it is to navigate the streets. That’s not the whole story, though. The water bus from the airport to the Arsenale vaporetto stop takes anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes (possibly even longer for all I know). The vaporetto takes a good hour plus to snake up the Grand Canal from one end to another. Tourists can clog up the narrow streets in more popular areas. There’s not much you can do except suck it up and be about it. Keep your plans tentative at best whenever possible. For me, that was an adjustment. A big one.
Despite that, I had a great time in Venice. A relaxing time. May is a perfect month to visit, as it turns out. It’s typically not hot enough to be sweaty, which is perfect when you’re helplessly lost in the maze of alleys and bridges. I needed a light jacket at night and one Day 2 of my trip, but it was still warm enough to sit outside at a cafe and have breakfast. And yeah, there are tourists, but not massive hordes of them, like there are in the dead of summer.
I’ll be writing more about visiting Venice over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out if you’re looking for some intel.