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April 05th, 2019

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Kristina fell in love in, and with, Venice. She’s been a tour leader in Venice for almost 10 years! Read here what a day in the life of a Venice tour guide looks like.

My name is Kristina, I’m 40 years old. I was born and raised in Slovakia and during my university studies, I used to work as a tour leader traveling around Europe... In Venice, I met Riccardo and I never left. What a wonderful place to fall in love!

Now it’s been 20 years and I’m in love not only with Riccardo but with Venice as well.

I’ve been working for Avventure Bellissime as a tour leader for almost 10 years and I love my job! Here’s what a day in the life of a Venice tour guide looks like.

The morning starts with a quick coffee en route to St. Mark’s Basilica

My first tour of the day is our Original Venice Walk, one of my favorites because I show our guests some of the city’s most beautiful sights. If you’ve never been inside St. Mark’s Basilica, you might be surprised to know there are over 8,000 square meters of mosaics inside—that enough to cover more than one-and-a-half American football fields!

And don’t forget the Pala D’Oro, a gold altar screen seeded with over 2,400 pearls, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and other precious gems.

The lines to get in get crazy during much of the day, but we have skip-the-line tickets and get in before it’s packed.

“I stook in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, a palace and a prison on each hand.”

Lord Byron wrote that in a novel, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most famous bridges in the world and it’s on every tourist’s bucket list for good reason. It got its name from the sighs of prisoners who knew once they entered the prison, it was highly unlikely they’d ever come back out.

Now the bridge has a bit of a romance about it. Legend has it that if two lovers ride under it on a gondola at sunset and kiss, their love will last forever.

Need a lunch recommendation? Try Trattoria dalla Marisa.

I love giving food suggestions; how to discover places locals go, try dishes they have never had before, discovering new flavors.

When I’m asked about the best place for lunch, I often suggest getting off the beaten path to more humble spots like the family-owned Trattoria dalla Marisa. There’s no paper menu because it changes every day depending on what’s fresh and available.

Try the price fixed worker’s lunch. It’s a local favorite and you’re sure to get something delicious and authentic (and it’s a great price by Venice standards).

While Venice naps, escape the heat on a Grand Canal tour

Riposo is a real thing in Venice—many of the local restaurants and shops close down for a bit of rest after lunch. If you’re not feeling a nap, join us on a Grand Canal tour.

I think it’s one of the most popular tours in Venice and our Grand Canal boat tour is a fabulous way to cool off and enjoy another side of the city. There are parts of this impressive, spectacular waterway you can only see by boat, and then there are some minor canals, sort of like the secret corners of Venice, the less touristy areas. It's one hour tour but it covers a lot.

Gelato break!

Florence may be the gelato capital of Italy, but it’s got nothing on Venetian gelato. Gelato has such an amazing texture because there’s less butterfat than in American ice cream, so it freezes at a higher temperature. It also doesn’t store well, which is why it’s made in small batches, fresh every day.

There’s a definite way to enjoy gelato like a local. Brush up on your flavors in Italian so you can order like a pro. Then try one of our favorites such as Gelateria Il Doge, Gelateria Da Nico, and Boutique del Gelato.

Everyone loves Murano glass

A day trip to Murano and Burano is a must for lovers of colorful Murano glass. It’s only made on the island of Murano, and it’s done using the same techniques as artisans from the Middle Ages.

Burano is equally magical. It’s an island known for its lace—take some home with you as a memento of your Venice holiday. You’ll want to bring your camera, as well, because the lovely brightly colored houses and emerald-green lagoon almost beg to be photographed.

Cicchetti and wine...the essence of Venice

The Rialto Bridge and Rialto Market are emblems of Venice—and every time I have the opportunity, I encourage our visitors to try the local wine and Cicchetti or the best gelato in town.

If you haven’t indulged in a Cicchetti and wine crawl in Venice, you’re missing an amazing experience. Cicchetti is delectable finger-food, usually made with fresh seafood or vegetables, and served with a glass of wine called Ombra. Pop into a few bacari and sample as many different varieties as you can manage!

Meet the ghosts of Venice

Another great tour that has become very popular is the evening ghost walking tour. The city is less crowded at that time, we go through some hidden peaceful places and people love to hear this kind of stories. It's more fun than spending and an hour in a museum in front of a painting, especially after a full day sightseeing our ornate Venetian Gothic architecture.

An evening gondola ride is just the thing to relax before bed

Is there anything more iconic than a slender gondola with a stripe-shirted gondolieri plying his pole through the canals and waterways of Venice? It’s the quintessential Venice experience, and one you absolutely shouldn’t miss on your tour of our city.

End your evening at one of the restaurants lining the Grand Canal and watch the lights flicker across the water. Truly, it’s one of the most romantic scenes in the world—no wonder Venice is the City of Love!

Visiting Venice?

I’d love to take you on one of our amazing Venice city tours. Why not get in touch today and let us help you plan the perfect itinerary?

Taking a trip to Italy this year? Lucky you!

It’s one of the top travel destinations in the world. But if you’re traveling in summer, there are a few things you should know.

For instance...summer in Italy gets hot, occasionally really hot when the warm breezes blow over from Africa.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy every minute of your summer holiday. We’ve put together our top tips to beat the heat and make the most of your time in Italy wherever you go.

Don’t expect air conditioning

First, the bad news: Many top attractions, such as the Vatican and the Uffizi, for example, aren’t air-conditioned.

Same goes for many local restaurants, businesses, and shops. It can get uncomfortable if you’re in a crowded environment.

The good news is that most hotels, however, do have air conditioning, so you’ll be comfortable when you’re hanging out in your room.

That said, however, Italians are very energy conscious so the air conditioning might not be quite what you’re used to at home. Still, some AC is better than no AC when you’re traveling in Rome or Florence in the summer.

Avoid standing in lines

Summer heat is only mildly unpleasant when you’re walking about the city enjoying a passing breeze.

It’s downright awful when you’re standing in line in the afternoon sun. Buy tickets in advance for the museums and attractions you know you want to see so you can skip the line and get out of the heat.

If you forgot to get your tickets in advance, or your preferred date is sold out, all is not lost. Italy is packed with incredible smaller museums and galleries.

Why not visit a hidden gem and skip the crowds entirely?

Visit a church

Churches are a two-for-one destination in an Italian summer—not only do you get to see incredible art, architecture, and religious icons, you get to enjoy the “natural” air conditioning of a cool, dark building.

Do remember to dress appropriately if you’re visiting any churches, basilicas, or cathedrals. For women, that means no bared backs or midriffs, covered shoulders, and skirts or shorts that hit just above the knee. Men should wear trousers or long shorts with a short- or long-sleeved shirt.

Rome’s Christian Catacombs are another naturally air-conditioned attraction worthy of a visit. If you’re looking for a great way to spend a couple of hours out of the Italian sun, you’ll love a tour of the Catacombs and the Capuchin Crypt.

Embrace riposo

Chiusa means “closed” in Italian—and you can expect most restaurants, shops, and businesses to lock their doors and settle down for a rest after lunch. Riposothat two- to four-hour afternoon break, is a time-honored tradition in Italy.

Our advice? Don’t fight it—embrace it! Retreat to your air-conditioned room during the hottest afternoon hours and use the time to nap, read a book, or journal about your travels. You’ll be fresh and well-rested for an evening of dining, exploring the city, or enjoying the nightlife.

Find the fountains

Rome is famous for its beautiful fountains—as are most cities in Italy.

The public water systems date back to the earliest days of the Roman Republic; at one point, ancient Rome even appointed a guardian of the water to ensure a steady supply of clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. You’ll love the cool mist from the Trevi or the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi.

Feeling thirsty or want to splash your face with cool water? Look for the nasoni, or public water fountains. The water is clean and perfectly fine for drinking—save some money and refill your water bottle.

Get to know granita

Everyone knows Italy is famous for gelato, but when it’s really hot, there’s nothing like an icy granita to help you cool down.

Granita, or Italian ice, is simply shaved ice with flavoring poured over it. It’s fat-free, so you can enjoy it as often as you like.

Our favorite tip for beating the summer heat?

Skip your morning espresso and have a coffee-flavored granita instead! You’ll be refreshed and ready for the day (and you’ll still get your morning jolt of caffeine). What could be more perfect?

Learn to love dining late

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Italians love long, leisurely meals with lots of excellent Italian wine and lively conversation—and if you want to dine like an Italian, you won’t sit down to eat before 8 or 9 pm. In fact, most restaurants don’t even open for the evening meal before 7:30 or 8 pm.

Dining late is the Italian way, and it’s even better when you enjoy your dinner al fresco in a hidden terrace bathed by cool evening breezes. You won’t be tired if you embrace riposo—you’ll be rested and ready for an evening of la dolce vita.

Look for extended hours

Summer is a top tourist season in Italy, and many major attractions operate with extended hours during the summer months. Some museums, galleries, and cultural attractions are open as late as 9 pm so you can avoid the afternoon heat.

The Uffizi in Florence, for example, stays open until 9 pm two nights a week from July through September.

Try to plan your itinerary around attractions with extended evening hours to minimize your time outdoors in the afternoon sun. The great thing is that most Italian cities come to life after dark, so you’ll find plenty of things to see and do even after 9 pm.

Beware the August closures

August 15th is Ferragosto, a national holiday, and pretty much everything shuts down, including banks, businesses, attractions, and even public transportation. The good news is that many museums and galleries remain open, so you can visit without the usual crowds.

On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for many local restaurants and shops to close for the entire week, especially in the less touristy areas. Depending on your travel plans, you may need to adjust your expectations and your itinerary in August.

Head for the hills (or the beach)

Although Italy’s “Big Three” get the most attention from first-time visitors, there’s so much more to Italy than just Rome, Florence, and Venice. The Dolomites and Cortina are an easy (and fun) day trip from Venice—and the cool mountain air is balm to a summer-weary soul.

There are also incredible beaches and seaside resorts in Italy when you want to escape the heat. The Cinque Terre is a short trip from Florence; there’s nothing more refreshing than a day at the sea sipping wine and sampling incredible seafood.

And if you want a true beach escape, you can’t miss the Amalfi Coast. Sorrento, Positano, and Ravello are absolutely stunning villages, and the hidden beaches, flanked by magnificent rocky cliffs, are some of the most beautiful places in the world.

Ready to experience Italy in summer?

We’d love to help you put together the perfect summer itinerary. Whether you’re dying to explore Venice and Rome, the Mediterranean coast, or the bustling and fascinating cities in Northern Italy, we’re here to help you plan the perfect trip. Why not get in touch today to bring your summer leave to Italy to life?

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