Travel Diaries: Italy

Tl;dr: Italy (Venice, Murano and Burano) scored a 5/10. I went in December – don’t go in December kids, it’s cold and your girl thought she’d get hypothermia. Oh, and I’d recommend going for no more than four days.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram @franklyfahmida, you’ll have realised that this week I went on vacation to Italy! More specifically, I spent most of my time in one of the most famous cities in the world – Venice! In total, I spent four days in Italy, deciding to, on the last day, take a boat to the islands Murano and Burano. In that short amount of time, I managed to take in an immense amount of the countries’ culture – I ate lots and lots of pizza, risotto and gelato! And of course, if you know me, you know that I absolutely love art – so I spent quite a significant amount of my time soaking in as many art exhibitions as I could.

In this blog, I’ll be summarising as much of my trip as possible, and recommending some of the best spots in the parts of Italy that I visited for those of you who are thinking of visiting 😊 (Some of the exhibitions may however be closing fairly shortly, so unfortunately unless you’re planning to visit fairly soon, these exhibitions may no longer be available for display).

Day 1:

Unlike some popular cities in Italy such as Rome and Milan, Venice is an island which means that much of the commerce and trade of the city is conducted by boats. In fact, in order to get yourself to Venice from the airport, most people either take a water taxi (which is fairly pricey), or alternatively, like myself, take a water bus (although you can take a train). They’re pretty much the same thing to be fair, and the advantage of taking the water bus means that in paying an additional odd €12.50 (so, paying about €20 in total), you have a 72 hour pass and can use the waterbus with that particular service provider as many times as you wish.

Once I reached my hotel, which was a five-minute walk from Rialto Bridge (and so, fairly local to all of the main tourist attractions in St Mark’s Square), I decided that I’d spend the rest of my day at an art exhibition. I’m willing to unashamedly admit that I spent a good 20-30 minutes being a little tourist and excitedly getting my picture taken in front of loads of doors and near local buildings with nice architecture lol.

After that, our first stop turned out to be perhaps my most favourite art exhibition of the year (and that’s saying something because I go to my fair share of art exhibitions). This was at the Palazzo Grassi where Damien Hirst was showcasing ‘Treasures from the Wreckage of the Unbelievable’. Funny story: I actually sat on an exhibition stand like an absolute fool and alarms went off 😂 (not a great start eh; I walked about the rest of the rooms feeling like a wanted fugitive😭). Here’s the all-important incriminating picture featuring none other than my goofy self ahahaha:

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I rather like this picture too:

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And here’s a picture of my brother squaring up to a sea creature of some sort:

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My favourites from Palazzo Grassi include the following pieces from Damien Hirst’s ‘Treasure’s of the Wreck of the Unbelievable’:

We spent roughly two and a half hours here – there was a lot to see. This meant that by the time we left Palazzo Grassi, it was pitch black outside. We stopped by a fancy restaurant nearby and I opted for a lasagne – dinner looked so good but tasted…so terrible 😭 . Oh well, you can’t have it all, eh?

The rest of the night was spent getting a few drinks and shopping. They have a Sephora in Venice. Need I say anymore?

All in all, I had a pretty good first day.

Day 2:

We had a pretty early start the next morning – I’m not a very chipper morning bird either, so it took a good few shots of espresso to wake me up! Venice floods around this time of year but luckily it didn’t flood too deep – there were a few inches of water but they have ramps which everyone walks on to get by, so it wasn’t too bad.

We took a few pictures next to Rialto Bridge before making our way to St Mark’s Square where we saw St Mark’s Clock Tower and St Mark’s Basilica. The square was just beautiful!

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We spent a little while getting lost in the square and having a meal before we went to Scala Contarini del Bovolo which is a small palazzo with nice architecture, known for its spiral stairs. You get a brilliant view of the city from right at the top – I’d strongly recommend going! (Admission costs €7 for students).

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In the evening, we went to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (another art gallery with different sections featuring the works of Picasso, amongst others). It had interesting pieces but I much preferred the exhibition we went to the night before. (Admission to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection costs €9 for students).

I rather liked this piece:

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And I loved this installation:

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Day 3

Day three consisted of island hopping. We took a private boat to Murano – an island famous for its glasswork. It sounds rather dull but I’m telling you, this was the highlight of my trip. You never really realise the skill it takes to make glass pieces until you see it in front of your eyes – we watched a Master craft a glass horse under intense heat before cooling it down and adding patterns and different layers of colour. I was impressed, to say the least!

If I could offer one word of caution when visiting Murano, it would most definitely be not to buy any glasswork from that island. After a tour, you will inevitably walk through a showroom with glass pieces ready to be bought. You’ll feel like you have to pick something up – we did, and ended up paying €90 for a small glass horse as a centre piece for the living room. You can imagine our dismay when we got to the next island, Burano, and wandered into a few random shops and saw the same horse (with better designs to be fair 😭) for less than a fraction of the €90 we’d paid earlier on in Murano.

We didn’t spend very long in Murano; there isn’t much to do other than take a tour of a glass factory and get ripped off buying the glass pieces 😂.

Burano was just stunning. I’d recommend that everyone go there at some point in their lives, just because it is so, so vibrant. All of the doors to the homes are brightly coloured and its pretty perfect for taking pictures to liven up your Instagram feed. As you can see, it was postcard perfect.

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We got to watch the sun set and it was one of the most breath-taking, divine experiences of my life, ever.

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Day 4

By Day 4, we’d pretty much seen most of what there was to see in Venice. We took a tour of a section of Doge’s Palace. It was interesting to learn the history behind the city of Venice for sure, but that being said, the tour was in the morning and it was absolutely freezing whilst we were walking across the grounds. I just wanted a warm coffee ahaha, so we had to take a little break. We spent the rest of our day walking about, doing last minute shopping, picking up souvenirs for friends before catching an evening flight back.

Overall, I’d give Venice (and Murano and Burano), a 5/10. Will I go back to Venice? I don’t think so, unless it’s a stop-over or something. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself – I had a great time but I don’t necessarily feel inclined to go back; simply put, I can cross it off my list of cities that I’ve visited. That being said, I might go back to that same spot in Burano to watch the sunset with my S/O, just because I feel like that’d be kind of romantic.

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