I love Italian food, Italian designers and hot weather, so when my boyfriend and I decided to go away for our five year "anniversary" last weekend, the destination at the top of my list was Venice - the most beautiful city in the world. Scratch the part about the hot weather (it rained), and I can't argue that Venice truly is a magical city. The bright blue canals, the tiny lanes between old, tall buildings, the many bridges (which had me stopping to take pictures every. single. time) make Venice the prettiest little city. Plus the fact there's no cars - and subsequently no danger of forgetting which way to look before crossing the road - is an added bonus.
We arrived in Venice when it was dark. The whole city was lit up by old-fashioned street lights and shop display windows. It looked amazing and almost felt like Christmas. San Marco Square by night was my favourite with live music and lots of ice cream parlours open until late.
The food in Venice - and probably Italy in general - is immense. From pasta to pastries to Gondola shaped pizzas - Carl and I literally ate our way through the weekend. If you like pizza (who doesn't?), I'd recommend Happy Pizza in San Marco - a little stand up snack bar which cooks by the slice and is perfect for lunch...or any time of day, actually.
We stayed literally a two minute walk from San Marco Square - perfectly situated for high-end shopping as our hotel was nestled amongst Chanel, Gucci and Burberry. All of which are waaaay out of my unemployed price range, but Venice is home to some of the most amazing boutique stores and markets - including Rialto market. If you see a shop you like the look of, don't make the mistake of thinking you'll pop back later - whilst very pretty, the lanes of Venice are also cursed with a kind of dark magic which makes it IMPOSSIBLE to find somewhere you're actually looking for. You can only find things by accident in Venice.
When it rains in Venice, it pours...until it floods. And then it just keeps on raining. Fortunately, being British, we're accustomed to a bit of rain so the odd puddle - or overflowing canal - was hardly going to stop us squelching our way around town. Wet socks are nothing a few minutes with a hairdryer can't fix. It mostly rained overnight and carried on into the morning - by the time it stopped at about 11am, San Marco Square was CALF DEEP in rain water and left various shops flooded.
We stayed in Venice for three nights and found that the perfect amount of time to explore the main areas of the city. If you're planning a trip, just grab a guidebook and do everything it recommends - there's no such thing as seeing too much of Venice...or taking too many pictures, apparently.