The First Night in Venice After a Pit Stop in Verona

The First Night in Venice After a Pit Stop in Verona

If you haven’t read my last article about our trip up the Swiss Alps, check it out!

After a stunning day on the mountain, we returned to our fancy hotel for a night of each other’s company. We broke out spare wine we had collected in the previous cities. We spent a good half hour looking for a wine opener while trying alternative bottle-opening techniques. The next morning, the hotel provided us with a gourmet breakfast (twelve different types of bread, six kinds of cheese, fresh fruit preserves, and more!) before we headed out at 8:30 AM. 

verona italy

An Afternoon in Verona

Everyone had forgotten that there was a planned stop in Verona before we finally landed in Venice. For me, it was a welcome pit stop as the very first Italian city on our tour. Italy was warm and gorgeous, and the architecture felt rich and ancient. Nikos took us on a quick tour of Verona, showing us several points of interest. We started with the Portoni della Bra, a large clock nestled in the gates of the old medieval walls of the city. This served as our landmark and meeting point later on.

portoni della bra clock verona

Nikos led us down cobblestone alleyways and Via Mazzini as he guided us past fancy restaurants, boutiques, and brand-name clothing lines I’d never heard of. We passed a giant coliseum that had red curtains hanging in the archways, suggesting its history of entertainment was far from over. We stumbled into the courtyard where Romeo and Juliet supposedly fell in love, and saw Juliet’s balcony. Nikos bought everybody gelato as a treat before we visited Statue Dante and broke up for the afternoon.

Freetime While Touring Verona

After a long wait in a bathroom line, I found that most of the group had left. Only Emily, Alyson (and one other person, but their name escaped me when I wrote my journal entry at the time), remained. We meandered through the market before we wandered into Via Mazzini to explore. I looked at the marble ground that lined the street with horror. I could only imagine how slippery in the rain it must be (I have a high propensity to slip and fall in public). Luckily I had an inkling of which alleys to take to get back to the Portoni della Bra, and we popped out in front of the coliseum. Considering its age, it was really in fantastic shape. 

coliseum flavian amphitheatre

Emily offered to take pictures of me in front of it, which is exactly when I realized that most of the pictures I’d been taking the entire trip lacked an important element: people. Anybody can Google a picture of Europe and see the same images I had been frantically running around taking. But what makes pictures special after a trip is the fact that you’re in them, or that people you care about are in them. I felt silly that I hadn’t realized that until halfway done with our trip. 

Panic at the Alleyways of Venice

the mainland of veniceWe all eventually made it back to the Portoni della Bra, with an exception to Dounia and Georgina, who got lost trying to make it back. Nikos left the group to find them and guide them back, which made us 30 minutes late leaving Verona. This mattered because Nikos had made a dinner reservation for everyone at 7:00 PM in Venice. 

Once we finally arrived at Mestre (the mainland of Venice), we dropped our luggage off at our hotel. We immediately left to hop onto a bus that would drive us over the bridge that connected Mestre to Venice. I felt thrilled to be in Venice. In the setting sun, it was everything I wanted it to be. In fact, I was so excited about visiting Venice that I didn’t realize that Nikos — our faithful guide — was lost! 

I had been so caught up in racing around the window displays and photographing public squares that it was only once it was finally dark did I realize that we were seriously turned around. Nikos kept ducking into stores and restaurants to ask for directions. We didn’t show up to the restaurant until 9:00 PM, two hours late. While I’m sure he felt bad about getting lost, I had a great time taking the scenic route! Besides that, finding your way in Venice is incredibly challenging. The alleyways are so narrow and winding that keeping track of where you are or where you’re going is impossible, especially as someone who doesn’t know the area well.

Summer Heat Affects All Cultures

After a great dinner of pizza and pasta, we left to take the bus back to Mestre. Apparently, however, we had arrived during the driver’s break! We wound up waiting on the bus for over twenty minutes. We piled into the bus, packed like sardines amongst tourists and locals alike, sweating in the Italian summer heat. Nikos refused to take off his jacket for fear of “being stinky.” I tried opening the bus window, and when I couldn’t get it because of the angle, the passenger sitting next to it helped slide it down. The entire front of the bus cheered as the cool outside air swam in.

venice italy

Finally the bus driver arrived and we took off. The bus lurched back and forth and we all quickly realized the bus malfunctioned! The tension while the bus driver restarted the bus was palpable. When the engine roared to life and we were finally on our way, the entire bus cheered again. 

Join me next time as I talk about our next day in Venice, my favorite city of the trip!

shopping in venice

18 thoughts on “The First Night in Venice After a Pit Stop in Verona

  1. One of my all-time dream vacations (being Italian and all) is to visit Italy and some of the places my relatives were from. The age os everything and the architecture and how it has stood the test of time is amazing. Verona looks beautiful and has always been on my list as is Venice.

    1. I highly recommend visiting both Verona and Venice whenever you’re in Italy! They are both incredible places to wander around in.

  2. Venice is beautiful. It’s just a shame it’s so packed with tourists all the time! I’d love to go back and see more of Venice.

    1. I fully agree! We were unfortunately only able to spend one full day in Venice, which was during a weekend. I’ve never seen such a big crowd!

  3. Venice and Verona are both on my travel bucket list! I just love the history and architecture as well as the art and food, maybe some day

    1. Venice and Verona were incredible! The food was delicious, as well. I learned so much about Italian cuisine while there. It is so different from Italian American cuisine but was delicious all the same.

  4. Venice is still very close to my heart and just our trip there. It was nostalgic reading for me. So sad to see yesterday that Venice is flooded for the last few days

    1. Yes, I’ve been keeping up with the flooding news as well. It’s interesting reading about the science behind why flooding is becoming such a huge issue in Venice. I’m not sure what they can do to help fix it.

  5. Love the look of all your piccys. Looks like you had a wonderful time for sure. so much to see and do in beautiful Venice xx

    1. Thank you so much for reading! Venice was my favorite city we visited in Europe. It was such a unique experience!

  6. Oh my goodness this looks like such an amazing trip! I think that sometimes the little mishaps (like being held up from someone in the group getting lost and searching for a bottle opener for the wine) make for the amazing little things that you will always remember about your trip!

    I loved this write up, it was so interesting and the photos are beautiful (I’m glad you remembered to get a few shots of yourself in them too! I always forget that part as well!)

    1. Thank you so much for reading! Not every day abroad can go according to plan, and its important to keep an open heart even when things are going wrong.

    1. Thank you! Venice was absolutely gorgeous! In my next article I will go into a bit more about what we did in Venice, but it was such an incredible experience. I can’t recommend visiting enough.

  7. oh my! Verona/Italy has been in my list of tips forever! I really need to mark this one out. Your photos are beautiful! As an architect, love how you also capture the buildings and surroundings. Every time I read your posts I remember I need some vacations, love traveling through your posts!

    1. Thank you so much! European architecture was so different from American architecture — it was one of my favorite parts of visiting Europe, because it seems like each country has its own style. I was actually inspired by European cities to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning. Traveling is eye-opening so I’m glad that I have the opportunity to inspire other travelers!

  8. Despite some missteps (getting lost, being late and the heat) it sounds like you had a wonderful time! I love to read travel blogs to experience new cities through the eyes of different travelers. It is always interested to see what sites most interest them. Thanks for sharing your adventures in Verona and Venice!

    1. Thank you so much for reading! Despite all the missteps, these were some of my favorite memories of my tour of Europe. I would love to have more time to spend in Verona and Venice.

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