This week, a lifelong dream of mine came true. I’ve been daydreaming of Italy for as long as I can remember and when my British Airways flight from London to Venice touched down, it felt like a special and unforgettable moment. Italy. Wow. For me, this is a really big deal!

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say about a place that so much has been written about. You don’t need me to tell you about the sites to see. Every guidebook will tell you where you need to go and what you need to see. Instead, I’ll try to share a few of the personal details that made my trip so great – and a few photos that will inspire you to visit Venice if it’s on your bucket list, too!

I flew from London to Venice on British Airways, a quick 90-minute flight. At Heathrow, our flight departed from gate A17 and what you may not know is that right around the corner from this tucked away gate is the perfect place to sit and do some planespotting. There are a number of seats and hardly anyone there, save a few Heathrow employees who obviously know that this is a quiet spot amidst the activity of the airport. Grab a seat here if you can for some peace and quiet in an otherwise loud and busy area.

My fiance Johnny Jet and I aboard our British Airways flight from London to Venice in Club Europe. Way excited.

When we arrived in Venice, we were greeted by John’s friend Cinzia and her husband Luigi. They met us at the airport, then Cinzia toured us around Venice. Her vast knowledge of the city combined with her savvy about avoiding the throngs of tourists was fantastic. Venice is teeming with tourists in July. Plus, it was so hot in the afternoon sun. Cinzia led us through shaded back streets, which were less crowded and much cooler. It was really to our advantage to have a guided tour by someone who knew where they were going and could lead us through the labyrinthine back streets of Venice. To book a tour with Cinzia, visit

{Photo via:}

The Bridge of Sighs or Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian. What can I say? It’s almost extraordinary and ordinary at the same time, but exquisite in the romance that Lord Byron’s literature lends it (though it’s said that little could be seen through the stonework covering the windows prisoners were believed to gaze longingly from). The bridge is made of white limestone and isn’t particularly special, especially when you consider some of the other architecture of the day. But the notion of prisoners sighing at their last glimpse of freedom is the stuff of poetry that perpetuates through the ages and it was still a sight to behold.

We met up with more friends in Venice. Jennifer and her husband Tim met us at our hotel, the Metropole, which was right on the lagoon and we explored Venice on foot – mostly in search of the best gelato we could find. Turns out Jennifer was a bit of an expert on the subject, explaining how differences in colour and fluffiness impact flavour. She led us to a great spot to stop on a hot day and we all enjoyed a scoop (or two!) of refreshing gelato. She’s got a great travel blog, too – you should definitely check it out at

Venice is more than gondolas and gondoliers, canals and bridges. St. Mark’s Basilica is an imposing and beautiful structure and possibly one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture.

St. Mark’s Square, the central square in Venice, generally referred to simply as ‘the Piazza.’  See what I mean? Teeming with tourists. And tourists aren’t the only thing this place is overrun with. Used to be pigeons but Venice banned feeding the pigeons in St. Mark’s Square back in 2008.

I was only in Venice for about 24 hours before boarding Seabourn Spirit for a 10-day cruise through the Adriatic. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to see more of Italy in general and Venice in particular!

2 Comments on venice for the first time

  1. jdombstravels
    July 31, 2012 at 8:03 pm (11 years ago)

    When I found out you hadn’t had gelato before, I just had to make sure your first taste was only the best, homemade gelato I could find!

    • Lisa Gruen
      October 22, 2017 at 1:22 pm (6 years ago)

      Ciao! I am on my way back to Venice. Do you remember the name of the shop that you went to?


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