Our day started with an early rise to avoid the tourist wave that peaks in the afternoon. We went to San Marco square first thing, and quickly got in line to enter the Doges Palace. While crowds were building, we were able to tour fairly leisurely.

The palace reflects the power the Venetians held for many centuries, filled with fantastic craftsmanship and artwork. We left in awe, and realizing how many more questions we now had about Venice’s history.

We travelled along the water for a bit, grabbing some panini and arancini for a light brunch along the way. With a casual goal of seeing the Arsenale building, we cut back along a canal until we found its impressive entrance.

The nearby ships pavilion was a great find, housing many historical boats from the past few centuries. Ranging from military to racing ships, and including significant pieces like part of one of Marconi’s floating laboratory ships, it was an unexpectedly fascinating stop.

We wandered on, heading further east and south, getting better and better glimpses of real Venice as we drifted further from tourist ridden areas. Ending at the Venice Giardini, a large public park created by Napoleon, we took a breather before heading back to our apartment.

The park contains and is adjoined by several pavilions that are used for various Biennial Celebrations, exhibitions that range various fine arts. Currently exploring architecture, several interesting pieces of work were present in the couple pavilions we passed on our way back.

We took a short break for beers and people watching, and then pushed through the crowds that were now swarming around the palace and square. Arriving back at the apartment rather tired, showers and naps quickly had us righted.

The Rialto Bridge and Fish Market were both hopeful items on the todo list, so we headed north. Crowds were past their peak, so we were able to get good views of both. Unfortunately that mean this fish market was packed up, a lone worker hosing off the stone.

This did mean it was perfect timing for cicchetti. Similar to tapas, these small foods would be served to fishermen as they finished their day, coupled with small glasses of wine, and often at multiple stops along the way home or elsewhere. We went to Cantina do Mori, which is supposed to be Venice’s oldest bacaro (wine bar) dating back to 1462. We sipped some very tasty wine recommended to us by the kind barista, and sampled a variety of snacks from traditional Venetian (cod on a small polenta square, anchovy sandwiched between pickled onions) to more typical fare. (deviled eggs, meatballs)

Being designed for momentary eating, there are no seats and many people will stop through at the counters briefly. So we followed suit and headed down the street to Cantina do Spade where we had prosecco and more snacks. Delightfully full, and with wine upping our motivation, we headed back south to be closer to our apartment for one last drink and an attempt to see the sunset.

Along the way, we passed a massive crowd outside Osteria al Squero and decided to see what it was all about. There was no larger event, simply a bunch of young locals also enjoying the sunset along a canal with cheap aperol spritzes which we quickly partook in as well.

Eventually the sun set and the crowd slowly dwindled. This included us grabbing a last spritz to go and wandering back to our apartment for one last sleep in Venice.