Day 2 of our Italy trip was a full day exploring the wonders of Venice. We did some sightseeing in St Mark’s Square as well as venturing over to the Castello and Cannaregio districts. 

We started the day bright and early with coffee and breakfast from a small cafe down the street from our accommodation. Bar Mio di Teso Mauro is a small cafe bar that serves coffee, sandwiches and pastries. It was perfect for grabbing a quick cappuccino and croissant to start the day off right. 

St Mark’s Square

We then wandered over to the iconic St Mark’s Square. It was a misty morning so the clouds seemed to cling onto St Mark’s Campanile, which towers at 99 metres tall. Even early in the morning, the square was bustling with life and it was filled with the sound of music and clattering coffee shops. 

On the far East side of the square, you will find Saint Mark’s Basilica. Another beautiful building covered in fine artwork. We did not enter either of these buildings, however, you can go inside for a small entrance fee, where you can look around, join tours and climb the bell tower.

Bridge of Sighs

Just around the corner from St Mark’s Square, you will find the famous Bridge of Sighs. This can be viewed from the neighbouring bridges on either side. We viewed the bridge from the Ponte della Paglia bridge. The Bridge of Sighs got its name from its history of leading prisoners from Doge’s Palace through to their imprisonment in the dungeons. You can actually walk across the Bridge of Sighs yourself if you take a visit inside Doge’s Palace. This is something that we did later on in the week.

St Mark's square, Venice

Castello, Venice

St Mark’s Square is fun for sightseeing, however, it is extremely crowded and tourist-centric. Therefore we decided to stroll along the promenade to Castello. Along the way, you will find several market stalls, bars and refreshment outlets dotted along the street. 

Italians love a Spritz, whether it is an Aperol Spritz, Limoncello Spritz or otherwise. There are many places that do this as a takeaway drink so you can roam the streets of Venice with your Spritz in hand. We decided to try a Campari Spritz. Absolutely awful! The drink was so strong, bitter and overpowering, that I could not stomach even a second sip. So a word of warning when you purchase an alcoholic drink from a street stand, they are very strong!

Wine Bar Angio

Once we reached Castello, which is about a 20 minute walk from St Mark’s Square, we decided to sit for some lunch. The sun had come out at this point, so we chose to dine al fresco at Wine Bar Angio. We shared a delicious pizza topped with Palma ham, burrata and rocket with a glass of Italian wine. It was a lovely setting that looked out over the water to the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. The food was delicious and the staff were friendly. I would definitely recommend this place if you find yourself in the district of Castello. 

Next door there is a small gelato shop named Gelateria Il Pinguino. So not only did we have our first taste of true Italian pizza, but we also got some gelato afterwards. It was so incredibly good, I had pistachio and chocolate flavours. There are several little benches and places to sit along the promenade on this side of town. Unlike the bustling inner streets in the San Marco area, it is super chilled and relaxed in Castello.

Via Giuseppe Garibaldi

We walked further into Castello and along the main street here named Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. The street is lined with colourful houses, bars and restaurants. It is much quieter than the city centre and also has several parks nearby such as Giardini Napoleonici. Along this street, we sat down at another bar called Bacaro 1813, where I indulged in an Aperol Spritz. Now, I feel as though this drink is extremely popular and I would love to like it. However, it is just not for me. Much better than the previous Campari Spritz but still rather bitter. I did a poll on my food Instagram account, Eat Derbyshire and it seems the results were rather 50:50. So it looks as though you either love it or you hate it. 

Cannaregio, Venice

For the evening we decided to venture over to another district of Venice. This time we chose Cannaregio. This is the northernmost quarter of Venice and is the historic Jewish Quarter. It is considered to be the oldest Jewish Ghetto in the world and is full of life and history. We headed to the main street for bars and restaurants, Fondamenta de la Misericordia. This stretch of canal and street seemed to go on for ages, lined with lots of bars and restaurants. The majority of them had outdoor seating that sat alongside the water. It is a really beautiful spot that has a vibrant atmosphere about it. 

Trattoria Misericordia

We ate at Trattoria Misericordia, where we sat along the water’s edge. We watched the sunset whilst we drank wine and ate pasta. I had a Spaghetti alla Carbonara and it was so tasty. I really enjoyed the dish, however it did get slightly oily toward the end. This was then followed by Tiramisu, which was perfect! We had a really lovely evening and it made for an excellent end to our first day in Venice. To end the night on the walk home, we picked up some Cannoli’s…