As our visit to Venice with our small dog, Tikka, continued into the second day we were reminded of my own advice – coming out of your hotel in Venice there is never a right or a wrong way to go. If you happen to turn the way Google mapped out for you then great, but if instead you made a ‘wrong turn’ and ended up finding a beautiful bridge or a tiny hole in the wall cafe, then joy! This is the wonderful maze of Venice.
With a loose plan in mind to see the main sites, we leashed up Tikka and headed out to the canal and wound our way, the long way, to each point of interest. The famous Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) built in 1600 is a beautiful enclosed white bridge connecting the prison with the Doge’s Palace over the Rio di Palazzo. Although very busy, the best vantage point to see this limestone beauty is from the Ponte della Paglia, along the main promenade. Give it a few minutes for a spot to open up and you can pick up your dog while they sigh about yet another photo op in front of a famous Italian landmark.
Just a few minutes on from this spot brought us to St. Marks Square where a pigeon adventure awaited us. We had grandiose ideas of having Tikka run through the pigeons with joyful abandon under the flourish of wings and a breathtaking backdrop of Italian architecture. Instead, we had a husband covered in birdseed and a little dog puzzled that pigeons were not afraid of her. In a just a few moments, Tikka went from, ‘Yay!Pigeons! This square is the best thing ever!’ to ”What the !*?! , Get me away from these crazy ass birds!”. This is one of our favourite memories, laughed about over a few glasses of wine. Don’t worry it’s not all Hitchcock birds in your face if you go there with your dog, just avoid the people trying to force birdseed in your hand and on your head.
After settling down, Tikka was right at home walking around the outside of Doge’s Palace, home of the utmost authority for the Republic of Venice. This amazing building was reconstructed in the typical Venetian gothic style of the 14th century and stands with views facing the canal and St. Mark’s Square. Although it’s not allowed to bring dogs inside, we never missed out as there is so much to look at with all the intricate exterior details and mosaics adorning the building.
For one of the most amazing meals during our stay, we ventured over the wooden ‘Ponte (bridge) Accademia that crosses the Grand Canal to the Dorsoduro area of Venice and explored the artisan shops nestled between all the museums, eventually finding our way to the Giudecca Canal.
Leaving lots of time to explore and ‘get lost’, we arrived just in time for our reservation at Ristorante Riviera. This modern Venetian meal was true indulgence but also cozy at the same time. We ate fancy appetizers that belonged in an art gallery and feasted on pasta dishes heaped with freshly shaved truffles. A few waves to the passing cruise ships with our glasses of wine, we settled into a long lunch while Tikka snoozed at our feet on the warm stone promenade.
Our longest self-guided walking tour was a round trip adventure to the Cannaregio district of Venice that contains the Jewish quarter. In the early 1500’s the Jewish ghetto was formed and was the oldest in the world. This is a quieter area and some may even find it ‘drab’ compared to the other districts, but what we found was a calm respite from the throngs of tourists and enjoyed the silent and beautiful views of the canals and residences in this area.
Our 3 hour walk (snacks and beverage stops included) took us over the famous Rialto Bridge where we walked through Venice’s oldest market established in 1097, through Cannaregio and back through the San Polo district. We then took Tikka over the Consitution bridge to spend some time in the restored Papadopoli Garden – Hooray, we found some grass!
Wrapping up our glorious stay in the ‘City of Bridges’ and our last night in Italy, Tikka kindly treated us to some gelato and a sunset walk along her favourite promenade. This quieter stretch of Riva degli Schiavoni, heading away from St. Mark’s Square, takes you to the Rimembranze Park at the western tip of Venice.
As our furry traveler visited with the local canines along this popular dog walking promenade we chatted about our wonderful three weeks in Italy and how easy it was to bring Tikka along with us. Italy is one of the most dog friendly countries to visit and traveling with your pet allows you to experience places and local culture in ways you may not think of. Ciao!
Thank you for joining us on our epic road trip around Italy with our dog, Tikka. You can catch up on all our stops on our travel page: Dog-Friendly Travel