Benvenuto in Italia: into the Venetian Fairy Tale

Vera Mirzoyan
10 min readOct 26, 2023

Stepping out of my comfort zone and facing the “unknown” trying to investigate myself?

Yeah, this is all about me. After my first solo trip to Spain, Italy was expected and planned a few months before, but on the last days before my trip I was in doubt.

“Should I leave my country during this difficult period and travel?”, “Maybe I need to cancel everything”. My mind was full of similar thoughts because my country and people were (and are always) living through hard times (I would like to miss it in this article, maybe I’ll find the strength to speak about it later). “But what if I stay here, what can I do?” …nothing.

I’m not sure whether it was the right decision or not, but I traveled to Italy. Maybe because it was meant to be… and you may remember from my previous articles that I believe in it.

In this article, I’m going to start sharing my 8-day solo trip experience in Italy.

Is It Going to Be This Stressful?

My first stop was Venice. I have always imagined Venice to be a city of a fairy tale and as every fairy tale, it also started with a little panic and stress. Imagine I land after midnight and almost everything is closed in the airport. If you have ever traveled to Venice at night you understand me well: no taxis or transportation. I was told that I could order a water taxi in advance to reach Venice island but it would cost a minimum of €150, so I decided not to waste on it hoping that I would find another solution.

Let me tell you a little about the city so that you better imagine my fairy tale. Venice isn’t like other cities I was used to. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands, separated by canals and linked by bridges in the Venetian lagoon. So you can’t find cars or buses on Venice island which is considered to be the center of the city. It’s possible to reach the island by car or bus through a bridge, but you need to leave it once you reach the island. The form of transportation on the island is ships (water buses) that go through the canal and organize all the processes.

So, there are a few options available to reach Venice island (the center of the city where my hotel was situated) from Marco Polo airport: water taxi which I refused, waterbus and bus that don’t work at night. And here I am; in Venice at 2:30 AM with no way to reach Venice Island. Nice…

What I do in such situations when I don’t have a solution is to wait. So I just stayed in the airport with other people (including the ones who were on my airplane) until the buses started working at 6 AM. I bought a ticket and arrived in Venice. And you guess what? Now I had to walk about 2 kilometers to arrive at my hotel. If you are somehow familiar with my passions and preferences, you should know I like walking, but this wasn’t such a walk. I had to walk through narrow streets (if you consider the passageways between Venetian buildings to be streets) and pass through bridges many, many times, and still, it was very hot and I had a suitcase with me. Real suffering… isn’t it? But now when I look back on all of that, I smile… because it was meant to become a dream city.

Into the Venetian Fairy Tale

After leaving my suitcase in the hotel (it was early and I couldn’t check in) I went out to investigate the city which was already so magical to me. I just took “un cappuccino e brioche” (cappuccino with croissant) and enjoyed my morning Italian way.

…haha, who do you lie to, girl? I was tired after working a full day before my flight and then waiting at the airport benches without sleeping the whole night. OK, I just tried to enjoy the Italian way. As they say: “fake it, until you make it”.

Rialto Bridge

I just enjoyed my morning coffee near the Rialto Bridge — the oldest (1588–91) of the four bridges crossing the Grand Canal in Venice. This bridge reminds me of a poem by an Armenian writer Avetik Isahakyan and I was reciting the poem in my mind. Isahakyan — the famous Armenian poet was writing about a girl with dark eyebrows whom he had seen on the Rialto bridge. Today I was the girl, haha…

Venice is a nice destination to just walk around a lot and enjoy all the beauty and magic. Probably I walked through the whole island, small and larger bridges, got lost in narrow alleys, and found myself in a totally unique environment. Before going to Venice, I thought I needed to find those beautiful spots, but here I found out they are everywhere and all you need is to walk around and enjoy the extraordinary beauty.

Saint Mark’s Square and Saint Mark’s Basilica

As I was in Venice for 2 days, I decided not to spend time waiting in lines to enter this museum or that basilica, so for this time, I just enjoyed the outside of the city. Saint Mark’s Square is wonderful and Saint Mark’s Basilica is a real masterpiece. I would like to go inside as well, but never mind. I left it for the next time.

The square was full of people and there were pigeons and kids playing with them. There was a nice light before the sunset and a cozy atmosphere. This place somehow reminded me of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid.

Venetian Gondolas

Venice is very famous for its gondolas — the traditional flat-bottomed boats used in the Venetian Lagoon. I also like the enthusiasm of gondoliers who invite tourists to try this attraction which costs €80 for 40 min. Lots of people seemed to enjoy the gondola ride through the Grand Canal, but I wasn’t in the mood to try it alone, so I missed the gondola trip as well this time.

Libreria Acqua Alta

They proclaimed themselves to be “the most beautiful bookstore in the world”. This bookstore library is one of the beautiful places to visit in Venice. The name is translated as “Bookstore of High Water”.

Here you may find anything: books, magazines, maps, etc. and also a crowd of people, so that it’s even hard to check the collection. Because of constant flooding in Venice, however, these picturesque piles are all placed inside bathtubs, waterproof bins, and in one room a full-size gondola.

Beautiful Supermarket — Despar Teatro Italia

The Most Beautiful Supermarket in the World? — Teatro Italia

There is a unique supermarket in Venice which was once a theater. Here you may see all the decorations, ornaments, and structure of the theater but this is a shop with all the common goods you may find in a usual supermarket.

I lost all the photos I took there, but I have a video of this unique place on my IG story highlight of Venice.

My Trip to San Lazzaro degli Armeni: A Little Armenia in Venetian Lagoon

From Italian “San Lazzaro degli Armeni” is literally translated as “Saint Lazarus of the Armenians”. So, this is a little Armenian land — one of the 118 islands of Venice that is currently inhabited by 22 Armenian monks. This island became Armenian in 1717 when Mekhitar Sebastatsi adopted Catholic Christianity to ask the Venetian Council to dedicate it to the Armenians. Armenians were the first nation that adopted Christianity as the state religion in 301, but we are Apostolic Christians. In 1789, the printing house of the Mekhitaryans was founded on the island to preserve Armenian history, culture, and language. Today the island is inhabited by Armenian monks who care about the preservation of more than 200,000 books and manuscripts. Throughout the years, many world-famous people visited San Lazzaro. One of them was Byron, who started learning Armenian as he considered it to be the language to talk to God.

If I talk about Armenian, I talk long. I just want to say that whenever I’m traveling, I do research and try to find something Armenian in foreign lands to discover. Believe me, I always find it because Armenians are spread all over the world and they try to spread our cultural heritage everywhere. Of course, this isn’t the result of a happy life in Armenia itself.

When planning my trip to Venice, I learned I needed to book a tour to San Lazzaro in advance, and so I did. All the information is available on their website. I just bought tickets to San Lazzaro and back, I took the water bus from Venice San Zaccaria Vaporetto stop and went (Vaporetto is a Venetian public waterbus). This was also an experience for me.

There Armenians welcomed me, the group for the tour were Armenians as well and everything was explained in Armenian; so sweet and lovely. I saw a lot of Armenian there: “Urbatagirk” (so-called “Friday Book”) the first printed book in the Armenian language. It was printed in Venice in 1512 by Hakob Meghapart. There were many other pieces of printed works, books, letters, writing and printing machines, silver jewelry, belts, dishes, and even bath shoes from ancient times.

Also, there was a cross-stone from Geghard Monastery and an icon found in the Ancient Armenian capital city Ani with Armenian writing on its back “Do not forget me in your prayers”. It was very impressive for me as I have been in Ani, although now it’s under the territory of Turkey, in so-called “Western Armenia” which was once Armenian land. Ani is known in history as “the capital of one thousand and one churches”, and even nowadays, you can see the ruins of those churches. I think I need to write about my trip to Western Armenia as well.

There were also some findings from Mount Ararat, including ancient pieces of wood. These pieces were so ancient that they could be of Noah’s Ark; who knows? Because Ararat is our biblical mountain that is also located in Western Armenia. If you have read my article about mountains, you know that I’m in love with mountains, and hiking Mt. Ararat is one of my hiking destinations. So, this part of the museum in San Lazzaro was also very interesting to me. Unfortunately, it isn’t allowed to take photos there, so if you’re also interested, just include this small island in your trip to Venice.

Don’t Miss Evenings in Venice

Many people visit Venice just as a day trip and leave in the evening, but believe me it’s totally different and extra lovely at night as well. I stayed 2 nights in Venice and I’m so happy about that. It was very interesting how gondoliers “park” gondolas in the evening, how the colors of the Venetian fairy tale become darker but still the vibe of the city is active: evening walks, Italian lifestyle, youths drinking spritz outside the bars and having fun, everything is so lovely.

I’m in love with Venice and the evening walks along the canal especially if you’re lucky enough to have someone special next to you passing this bridge then that one, Rialto bridge then an unknown one, a huge bridge then a small one, and so on. It’s easy to get lost in Venice as no map will show you the exact way to any destination. “Being your guide in Venice”, I would just recommend not to panic and walking wherever the narrow alleys take you. Be sure, you’ll find a great and unique view to admire.

For me, Venice is a dreamy girl who is in love with this life. People love her, take care of her, honor and glorify her, and she is happy with all she has.

The third morning I need to leave Venice, but it seems like I don’t want this evening to end. This is a very extraordinary city. It’s magical, fantastic, and special. I would like to live my Venetian dream. But never mind, this was like the princess started her fairy tale and took a break from it for some time, but I hope to come back.

Sometimes it’s so funny how I romanticize things :DD

OK, time to head to Florence!

P.S. After Florence all my roads lead me to Rome!



Vera Mirzoyan

The Sunflower Girl 🌻I never try to find more readers for my writings, but I try to write the best writing for my readers! ig: sunflo.wer___