I was in Venice earlier this month, I started my trip in Tuscany and decided what a better place to end my travels then in Venice. I had never been before and it was on my list of must see cities. I stayed at Hotel Danieli, a lovely hotel which was the former palace of the Dandolos, a noble Venetian family. Built in the late 14th century, it didn't become a hotel until 1906. One of my favorite parts was having breakfast on their beautiful rooftop patio overlooking the grand canal and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. It was nice being so central and close to everything but I admit San Marco is the world's largest tourist trap. It's a must see but damn there are a a lot of people. While I get it, Venice is by far one of the most magical places on earth. If I were to go back I would stay in one of the outer less touristy areas.
I got into the habit of waking up super early so I could miss the crowds and take photos in decent light. I'd get lost wandering the canals, listening to the church bells in a distance. I imagined what it would been like to be there in the 18th century, dressed in gowns and reaching my home by boat. The details that went into building Venice are truly spectacular. Saint Mark's Basilica is by far the most beautiful church I've ever been in. It literally gutted me knowing I couldn't sneak a photo in there, or any of the churches rather! Boo! While I didn't spend much time there I do have a list going with a couple recommendations. Luckily I had some local insight and friends who have spent more time there. So they shared their lists with me. You can check it out here.