Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

We arrived in Venice during high tide. Approaching the city on a slow moving boat felt almost magical. As the city crept closer through the fog, I remember imagining what it must have been like for those arriving here hundreds of years before me. I knew we were going to experience something amazing. Something our eyes had never seen. I will never forget the anticipation.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

On our first full day we booked a walking and boat tour from an experienced guide who had lived here his entire life. His love for Venice and passion for it’s history was infectious and we found ourselves relishing every newfound detail he shared. Especially the story (or most probable explanation) of how the body of the apostle Mark came to rest at Saint Mark’s Basilica. Mystery has it, that under the cloak of night there was an exchange of gold between Venice merchants and Greek monks leading to the abduction of the body and relics to be brought to the Basilica.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Another interesting element of Venice is that they allow no cars or bicycles on the island. You arrive by boat and then walk, everywhere. We loved this because walking gives you a more intimate experience of a city. You’re not whizzing by everything and you’re able to pop in and out of shops, snap your 1,898th photo, eat gelato, grab a cappuccino, stand on a bridge and watch the gondolas float by, stroll the markets…in other words live like a local.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Cafe Florian – Words cannot express how much I adored this place. Maybe it was heightened by the fact that our first visit was on a drizzly rainy morning when we tucked in one of their jewel box rooms to wait for the brief storm to pass. We sipped delicious overpriced coffee, nibbled on decadent pastries served by waiters in impeccable white jackets and listened to the live orchestra playing concertos outside our window. I remember telling my husband that if we lived here we would soon be penniless because I would want to come here every. single. day.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Once the rain subsided we headed to the top of the Bell Tower to take in the panoramic views. The sky was still grey and ominous but it didn’t hinder the spectacular scenery. There was a riot of color below us from the centuries old buildings and terracotta roof tiles. We ended up staying here until the sun started to peek through and the clouds began to disappear.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

I’ve had many conversations with Europeans about why Americans are in love with their cities and it always seems to drift to architecture and history. The allure of walking through buildings dating back thousands of years is like a magnetic force and they will always astonish me. Even a simple walk under the porticos is inspiring and memorable.

In Venice, high tide happens about twice a year, usually in the winter. In the morning you can witness the water begin to flood the entire square. It lasts until around noon when the water levels start to subside and before you know it, the streets are dry. You can see from the two photos below how quickly it comes and goes. I’m actually glad we were able to experience it and wade through the water in our 20 euro orange plastic galoshes.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

I took more photos during our walks than on any other vacation. It’s literally the most photogenic city I’ve ever visited. The mix of crumbing facades, bright and muted colors, romantic canals, narrow secret pathways, it’s a paradise for those of us who love photography.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

We spent a morning at the Rialto Market (I’ll share in a future post) and enjoyed picking up a few things to stock our apartment from the smaller stands located throughout the city. I thought they were so charming with their stacked wooden crates and green awnings.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

In 1978 my grandparents spent several months traveling throughout Europe and one of their photos was of the Bridge of Sighs. A hand written note on the back said “Last walk and view for prisoners.” I tried to recreate the photo in memory of their grand adventure together and have plans to frame it and tuck their original photo in the corner.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy
During our travels to Amsterdam and throughout Italy we stayed in a combination of hotels and Airbnbs. And while we liked the location of our Venice apartment (right above Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, haha!) we didn’t care for the owners or lack of cleanliness. But truthfully, exploring the city from sunrise to sundown was more important anyway.

I did enjoy watching the pigeons stoop on the buildings right outside our apartment window and it became a game for me to try and capture one perched just so.

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

Heather Bullard | Venice, Italy

If Venice is not on your bucket list it needs to be. I would recommend going in the spring or fall to avoid the crowds and sweltering temps. And stay at least 3 days. It is such a fascinating city with marvelous gravity defying architecture, a history of allure and intrigue and is filled with romantic storybook scenes around every corner. In other words, magical.

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21 Comments

  • Jeanette

    Oh my! What gorgeous photos and beautiful memories! I’ve been to Venice a few times, but the last time was two years ago, in the fall. We spent 10 days in this charming city, before heading south to Rome and the Amalfi coast. Our friends thought we were crazy to spend 10 days in Venice, but boy were they wrong. We fell in love all over again with this charming city and the surrounding islands. Venice is at its most charming best in the evening and early morning before the day trippers arrive. It deserves so much more than the quick one day visit most people give it. And I agree, fall and springtime are the best times to visit!

    February 1, 2016 at 7:31 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Sounds like your trip was amazing! There is so much history here and the way they built it is astonishing. I can see you filling up those 10 days rather quickly. We didn’t make it to Burano on this trip…maybe next time!

      February 1, 2016 at 7:59 am Reply
  • Becki Griffin

    It is amazing to me that a place so beautiful exists in the world.
    Definitely on the bucket list.

    xo

    Becki

    February 1, 2016 at 7:34 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Without a doubt…bucket list worthy!

      February 1, 2016 at 7:59 am Reply
  • Susurrus

    I always find your posts and images inspiring but this is one of my favourite ones so far. Venice is high on my to-do list – I haven’t been there for far too long.

    February 1, 2016 at 8:38 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Thank you, Susurrus. And may I say, what a beautifully unique name you have!

      February 1, 2016 at 8:48 am Reply
  • jenni

    omigosh…breathtaking! utterly! i drooled over every single picture. what a lovely, enchanting and blessed life you lead.

    February 1, 2016 at 9:38 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      The architecture was so absolutely amazing that I could have stayed longer just wandering around taking photos for days. My husbands family is from Italy so it was a dream trip to go back and discover his roots.

      February 1, 2016 at 9:56 am Reply
  • Sue W.

    Wow! Wow! WOW! Such beauty. Thank you for allowing us to travel with you!

    February 2, 2016 at 3:11 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Thanks for coming along! 🙂

      February 2, 2016 at 8:45 am Reply
  • Sherry @ No Minimalist Here

    Heather, Your photos are beautiful and it sounds like an amazing trip. My husband and I were married in Venice almost 30 years ago on the roof top of the Hotel Danieli overlooking the Grand canal. We returned again five years ago for our anniversary and it is still such a magical place.

    February 3, 2016 at 6:47 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      How romantic to be married on the top of the Hotel Danieli! What an incredible way to begin your married life and how fortunate to return again! Wonderful memories!

      February 4, 2016 at 7:58 am Reply
  • Karon Nichols

    Heather~ you have the gift of writting.

    February 6, 2016 at 11:27 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Oh, Karen…thank you. I genuinely struggle with the writing. Photos come easy but the writing can be agonizing. I truly appreciate your encouragement. xo

      February 8, 2016 at 7:23 am Reply
  • Amanda Marshall

    Wow, Heather, every single one of these is absolutely breathtaking. I lived in Padova for a year in college, about 20 minutes on the train from Venice, and spent every day I wasn’t in class with my girlfriends wandering the city, and later took my husband when we were newlyweds. I’m so glad you were there with yours! You are so right; it’s the most romantic, magical city. Thank you for sharing your photos. I can’t wait to see the rest!
    xoxo Amanda

    February 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      It’s the perfect city for lovebirds! 🙂 With your husbands service in the military you two are getting to experience the world together and there’s no better way than to share the joy! Always love your beautiful photos, recipes and travels!

      February 8, 2016 at 7:25 am Reply
  • Heidi

    Great post! Loved every word. Just texted my twin girls who are first year college students that we should plan a trip for their school break at the end of April. I hope I can make it work! Your photos are beautiful and I can’t wait to have the chance to see this city for myself! Loved your post on Amsterdam as well. We travelled there this summer and enjoy our four days in the city based at the Hotel Pulitzer. Your blog is on my favorites list. thank you!

    February 9, 2016 at 4:55 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      It will be so beautiful there in April! I hope you have the chance to go to Cafe Florian with your girls…it’s the perfect spot to soak in the history and have pricey coffee. 😉
      Thanks for reading the blog and for taking the time out of your day to connect!

      February 9, 2016 at 8:07 am Reply
      • Heidi

        Any small luxury hotel suggestions? And what do you think about combining a few days in Florence with a trip to Venice. Fly in and out of Venice but take a train to Florence for a few days – JK Place Firenze while there! I appreciate your feedback. Thanks so much!

        February 11, 2016 at 4:54 am Reply
  • Eden Passante

    Beautiful photos! I love Europe and especially Italy! So beautiful!

    February 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm Reply
  • Lynda Smith

    Hi Heather,
    On your combined walking and boat tour, was it a group or private? Would you share your guide info and cost? This sounds so amazing and your photos are so beautiful! We will be spending a few extra days in this beautiful city and the tour sounds like an amazing experience.

    March 12, 2017 at 11:37 am Reply
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