la serenissima.

Today I’m sharing the final port of call on the Adriatic cruise that Mr. Q and I took last November, Venice.

Back in December I jumped ahead and shared part of our day in Venice, the tour of the velvet workshop, because it inspired my handmade Christmas wrapping paper.

But today I’ll share a few more photos from our visit to the Most Serene Republic of Venice, or La Serenissima.

I suspect that many people who visit Venice don’t find it serene at all.  Especially if they only go to St. Mark’s Square and the surrounding sights.  However, should you be lucky enough to sail into Venice on a cruise ship in the early hours of morning you might be able to capture the serenity.

This was the second time Mr. Q and I have arrived in Venice by cruise ship and it really is the most amazing thing.  You sail right down the Guidecca Canal passing beautiful Venetian buildings that look like they could sink below the waterline at any moment.

Back in 2017 Venice came up with a plan to divert large cruise ships from this route, but that won’t take effect until 2021.  I totally understand why they want to do this, while at the same time I consider myself really fortunate to have had this experience before it becomes obsolete.  So, FYI, if you’ve always wanted to do this you’d better book that cruise soon.

As I wrote in my earlier post, we hired a private guide in Venice.  Her name is Luisella Romeo and she was absolutely amazing.  So if you are booking that cruise soon, I’d recommend booking Luisella for a tour while you’re at it.

After spending time touring the velvet workshop, we headed across the Guidecca Canal by Vaporetto (water bus) to the Fortuny workshop with Luisella.  Once again she had arranged a totally private tour for just us.

Fortuny makes beautiful dyed fabrics.  However, they are extremely protective of their proprietary process.  So, unlike the Bevilaqua velvet workshop where we saw every step of the process, at Fortuny we only saw the showroom.

But that’s OK, it wasn’t really the fabric I was interested in, it was the garden that is tucked away behind the building.

I have to admit, November probably wasn’t the most impressive time to be visiting this garden.

Nonetheless, I totally enjoyed its serene, early winter beauty.

Even on this rainy day it was really lovely.

Unfortunately our time with Luisella was done after the Fortuny visit.  Had we realized how amazing she was going to be we definitely would have booked her for the entire day.  But we hadn’t, and she had another group scheduled for the afternoon.

So we parted ways, but not before she gave us some ideas of where to go next, drew the route on our map for us and made sure we knew which Vaporetto to get on and which stop to get off at.  She suggested we walk past the gondola workshop, or squero.  The Squero San Trovaso first opened in the 17th century.

You can’t actually tour the place, but it was still interesting to see it from across the canal and watch the craftsman at work.

Although Luisella had given us a couple of other suggestions for where to go from here, we ended up deciding to just wander around the quieter areas of Venice away from the rest of the tourists.

We knew we couldn’t get too lost, it is an island after all.

We just took our time and enjoyed the scenery.  Not everyone is enamored by the graceful decay of Venice, but I definitely think it’s beautiful.

Comically enough, we had just started to realize how hungry and tired we were when we looked up and realized we could see our ship from where we were.  It was easy enough to make our way back to the People Mover and then back to our ship.

I’ve really enjoyed sharing this trip with you guys.  I get to relive it myself while putting these Wednesday blog posts together.  I’m a little bummed to see it end (although I do have some semi-related posts coming up still).  I think Mr. Q and I are going to have to get busy planning our next trip so that I have more travel stories to share!

How about you, have you ever been to Venice?  And if so, were you able to find some serene spaces away from the tourist hordes?

12 thoughts on “la serenissima.

  1. Thanks for sharing these trips with us. I enjoy your photos and commentary immensely. I can see how hiring a guide can really add to the experience. I’ve traveled to England, Ireland, Scotland and Canada.
    So no never had the pleasure of visiting Venice. I do typically prefer the road less traveled.


  2. Yes, I have had the pleasure of visiting Venice and I had the most amazing tour guide also. She read from a Rick Steve’s book and we had a total blast! She even talked us into doing a Venice Ghost Tour one of the nights we were there. That trip is still my most favorite trip ever.


    1. We did have an amazing time, didn’t we? I’d forgotten about that ghost tour, that was fun. Clearly your ‘tour guide’ should have charged more 😉


  3. Yes, I have been to Venice. Probably your first trip. We walked around on our own then also. We saw some pretty quiet areas then too. Not the really fun ones you saw on this trip though. Was nice to see all of this trip on the blog.


    1. Yep, that was my first trip to Venice. And as I remember someone (not that I’m naming names) almost fell in a canal after drinking a bit of Italian wine 😉


  4. Several areas of Italy are definitely on my list of places to go. Your photos are beautiful and gently convey both the splendor and “graceful decay” of this beautiful city.


  5. Gorgeous! I’ve never been, but my parents said it was one of their very favorite trips. One of their friends retired and became a tour guide. She and her husband are going all over the world with groups…just to plant a seed 😉


  6. We headed to Venice in a very fast windy speed boat ride. That was awesome if not a little scary. But seeing the partly underwater city was an awesome experience. Unfortunately, we brought too much luggage and realized lugging it off the boat and then lugging up steps and across little bridges was ridiculous (I am now learning to “survive” with a carry-on). We did get off the beaten path and that was the most fun. I enjoyed seeing the well dressed over 50 crowd, who wore mostly black. How do you eat pasta and bread and look that good?!? The shopping district was packed and the designer stores had squatters in front of their store selling knock-offs. They took up valuable room for the narrow walkway but they were allowed to sell their wares too. The only thing that was a bit off-putting was the smell of decay in the water. It was very strong when we were there.


    1. We avoided that whole tourist-y area while we were there, which I think was a much more relaxing way to see Venice. As for a smell, I have never noticed that in the three times I’ve been to Venice. I’ve never been there in hot weather though, so maybe that makes a difference.


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