We arrived in Venice in the early afternoon on the 9th. We had set up a water taxi transfer before we left, so when we got to the airport, we just needed to find the company we had reserved with. Once we did that, we followed a woman out to the pier (about a 5-minute walk) and boarded a water taxi along with one other couple. The excitement of seeing Venice built as the taxi got closer.
We were let off right by the Rialto Bridge (or Ponte Rialto), and from there we had to roll our luggage a few cobblestoned blocks to the Aqua Palace Hotel, where we'd be staying for two nights.
This was one of the more expensive hotels we booked because we wanted something nice for our first couple of nights. We were not disappointed. The lobby had an elegant feel to it, and the staff were so welcoming. They checked us in early, escorted us to our room, and then brought our luggage up to us.
The room was lavishly decorated and also felt very elegant and upscale.
The bathroom was decked out in marble, from the shower, to the sinks, to the floor.
And there were complimentary cookies waiting for us on the desk.
The square was packed with people, and we just wandered in and out of some shops and then started to head back in the direction of our hotel, taking in the city as we went.
We walked right by the Bridge of Sighs and didn't even realize what it was until we went to the Doge's Palace the next day and walked inside it.
We were hungry and had pizza on the brain, so we decided to try a small place called Punto Pizza. It was right near our hotel and smelled really good.
We each got a slice and a Fanta, and we stood by the canal and chowed down. The pizza had a thin, chewy crust and a nice sauce-to-cheese ratio. We both thought it was really good, and by the end of the trip, we rated it the best pizza we had on the whole trip.
After lunch, we could no longer pretend we weren't tired, and we ended up napping until 7:30 that evening. When we woke up, we got cleaned up and went down to the lobby to ask for a dinner recommendation. We were directed to a small restaurant just a short walk away. It was called Osteria Ae Sconte. There was outdoor seating available and we thought it looked nice, so we gave it a try. (We were quickly reminded that smoking at restaurants is allowed and frequently indulged in, which is pretty unpleasant and one of the few things I didn't like about Italy.)
We started with a glass of Prosecco each, and then I had the house red and Jeff had the house white.
We shared bresaola with arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano for an appetizer. Our waiter brought us some olive oil and balsamic to go with it.
For my main course, I had a pasta dish with small pieces of tender filet, tomatoes, capers, and olives. (I'm pretty sure it was a special that night.) It was incredibly flavorful... and would be the first of many pasta dishes I'd eat on our trip.
Jeff had veal marsala, which was nicely cooked and boldly flavored.
For dessert, I tried the tiramisu. The cream was rich yet light, and the ladyfingers were soaked just the right amount.
Jeff had his first gelato (chocolate and vanilla) and lemon sorbet of the trip.
After dessert, our waiter brought us a complimentary bottle of limoncello, a well-known Italian digestif made from lemon zest and grain alcohol. This one smelled strong but tasted more mild and sweet.
After dinner we strolled back to the hotel. When we got to our room, we found a complimentary bottle of Prosecco, which we opened and enjoyed the next day because we were too full and tired that night.
Next up: Day 2 -- Venice (Morning)
Photos: Most of the sightseeing pictures were taken by Jeff and most of the food pictures were taken by me throughout the trip.