Wander Always & Stay Wilde


Venice & Trieste, Italy

There is no city in the world quite like Venice. Intertwining canals and over 400 bridges connect the 118 small islands of Venice, allowing a new adventure for each day that you explore the city. As you walk through each small island, you will find glimpses of local living by passing through residential areas, markets, and town centers. In the heart of the city, you will find the most popular sites in Venice: la Piazza di San Marco, Basilica di San Marco, Ponte di Rialto, Canal Grande, and Palazzo Ducale among numerous Gothic and Renaissance palaces and churches.

All of my travels in Italy are extremely special to me in that this was my first time there, and my first time to Europe. My father, who was born in a small town outside of Naples, began the tradition of traveling to Italy with my older sister and then returned with me a few years later. We not only visited many cities throughout the country but also reunited with my father’s side of the family, many of whom I was meeting for the first time. For most of the trip, we stayed with our family members in each respective city. However, Venice is the one location where we do not have any residing relatives. There are countless accommodation options in Venice and the surrounding area; we stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott just outside of the Venice airport. There is bus transportation outside of the hotel that will bring you to the outskirts of Venice- the last place you will see cars and transportation of the sort before entering the city.

Pro Tips: A few things that I learned while traveling in Venice:

1. Anywhere that you choose to stop for a meal or a small bite will be excellent. The food in Venice (and all of Italy) is superb and the ingredients are so fresh that you can taste them with every bite.

2. If you are someone, like me, that purchases souvenirs from their travels, I suggest a few different items from Venice. Hand-crafted Venetian masks are a century-old tradition that is worn during the annual Festival of Carnival. There are so many different choices and colors to choose from and they are fairly inexpensive. Also, another item that is authentic to the area of Venice is an item made from Murano glass. This could be a piece of jewelry, a small dish, or even a glass ornament for the holidays. Some larger and more elaborate pieces even have the option to be shipped back to the States.

Some of the alleys in Venice are so narrow that you have to walk in a single-file line to fit through if traveling with someone!

Note: Pack comfortable, yet sturdy footwear for your travels through Italy. Depending on the time of year you travel, you could encounter some more cool or rainy days. I wore my Dr. Martens waterproof boots every day of my time in Italy!

Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is the oldest of four bridges that span the Canal Grande in Venice. There are local markets set up in the area as well as gondolas and water taxis available for transport. Although rebuilt several times since its initial construction in 1181, the current bridge is built of stone and dates back to 1591, in which the renowned artist Michelangelo was a designer!

La Piazza di San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is the primary public square of Venice. Located in the square is the most famous cathedral in the city, la Basilica di San Marco – the center of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice and known for its examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. Also within the square is the landmark Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) built in 1340 in Venetian Gothic style; today it is open to the public as a museum with countless ornate rooms and paintings. Just south of the square, you can walk along the Riva degli Schiavoni to cross Ponte della Paglia, another noteworthy footbridge from the 1800s. If you find yourself in this area around dusk, you will be treated to a beautiful sunset along the coastline!


A short 18-minute boat ride northeast of Venice will bring you to the small group of islands of Murano. Although quieter when compared to Venice, Murano is thriving with art and culture around every corner. Renowned for its longstanding tradition of glassmaking, visitors can explore countless shops filled with locally crafted souvenirs and learn about the art of glassmaking through the centuries. The Church of Santa Maria and San Donato is also a memorable place to visit where you can admire the Romanesque architecture and style and view the colorful mosaic floor. Legend has it that the church “supposedly” houses the bones of a slain dragon!

Cometa di Vetro: “Comet Star” was made by the master glassmaker Simone Cenedese in Murano. If in the area, you can meet the artist in his gallery and studio in Murano as well as visit his website:www.simonecenedese.it


A roughly two-hour drive along the eastern coastline from Venice will take you to the port city of Trieste. The city is located along the coast on a thin strip of land between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. A prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste is a mixture of Italian, Austro-Hungarian, and Slovenian influences that are evident in the culture, architecture, and layout of the city.

A must see spot: Parco di Miramare. Slightly north of the city, it is worth the drive to visit this castle along the coastline of the Gulf of Trieste. The castle’s grounds include 54 acres of an extensive cliffside and a seashore park. The grounds also feature numerous gardens and landscaping that feature tropical species, trees, and plants. Visitors can tour the inside of the castle, which features the original furnishings, ornaments, furniture, and objects dating back to the 19th century.

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