Small dog in Venice infront of Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore

Explore Venice with your Dog – Part 1 | Dog Travel Italy

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”  ~ Truman Capote

For Tikka’s three day visit to the capital of the Veneto region of Northern Italy,  Venice was like eating a box of dog biscuits in one go. Where else in the world can you walk through every single street of a bustling city, without a single car or bike stopping you and your dog at every corner? It’s a dogs playground with all the new sights, smells and noises to take in and many Piazza pigeons to put in their place.

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Ponte dell’ Accademia over the Grand Canal

After a long drive up through Ravenna and along the coast from our overnight in Assisi we looked forward to parking our car and spending some time on foot and on the water. Vehicles are completely banned from the islands that make up Venice, so you need to make arrangements to park your rental cars for your time here. There are multiple garages only a short water taxi distance from your hotel, or you can park on the other side of the lagoon and take a longer ride across the open water. We chose the Venezia Tronchetto Parking structure and it couldn’t have been easier. Clearly marked, lots of parking and only 20 Euros per day. Bye bye car!

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If only all taxis were this stylish…

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On our way to our Venice hotel

We had our hotel book a water taxi for us, and we called to let them know that we were parked and ready, and our sleek water chariot arrived within 10 minutes to whisk Tikka and us to the canals. She was a little unsure of the boat situation as water is not really her thing, but she quickly curled up on the comfy leather seats and watched the view out the windows. Once again, incredibly dog-friendly. There are no issues with dogs taking any private or public boats in Venice.

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Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute on the Grand Canal


A quick drop off of our bags after pulling up to the hotel and we hit the streets, eager to start exploring, get our bearings and find the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). Within 1 minute we were lost. Expect this on your first trip out the door and just go with it. You will eventually start to figure out the streets and remember some distinct corners and alleyways to make your way around, but for your first time, just take a deep breath and enjoy being ‘lost’ in a fantastic world of tiny shops, hidden courtyards and out of the way cafes. You can always turn on Google maps…

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We wound our way to the wide promenade of Riva delgi Schiavoni which lead us straight to St. Mark’s Square. The crowd was busy but manageable and we knew we’d be back early morning to have the place more to ourselves. One tip, don’t stop for drinks or food in the cafes that surround the Piazza, unless it’s your lifelong dream to have a 14 Euro cup of regular black coffee. As with all of Italy, the cafes and restaurants in Venice welcome canine travelers and there are throngs of places to eat, drink and relax with your dog beside you, at a fraction of the surcharge for stopping by a landmark.

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St. Mark’s Square complete with Tikka, wedding and pigeons.

Back out on the promenade we found Giardini Reali, a great little grassy park next to the S. Marco Vaporetto stop (public ferry). For a dog that lives in a rainforest (West Coast of Canada), Tikka had some adjusting to do in Venice as public parks that contain any green are very few and widely spread apart from each other. We jotted down some of the parks before we arrived in each city and used this as a loose walking guide, making a note on which ones were close to our hotel for night time relief. It wasn’t so easy in Venice but Tikka adjusted by finding the smallest of weeds poking out from the stones to relieve herself.


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Giardini Reali



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Venetian Jack Russell in St. Mark’s Square


We were greeted by a good number of friendly Venetian off-leash dogs as we took our evening stroll back to our hotel. All happy to say hi to the little Canadian dog visiting their home, giving her tips on how to find the parks and which pigeons to chase.

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The Venice sunset is extra special with your dog

This is the first of a two-part post on visiting Venice with your dog as we walked many a street, crossed many a canal and visited many a gelato stand. Up next, we visit the main sights of Venice, explore some less visited areas and Tikka decides that pigeons aren’t so great after all.

Just found our roundup of traveling through Italy with a dog? Catch up on our Dog Friendly Travel Page and our visits to Florence, Rome, Amalfi Coast and more!




Visiting Ravello, a Canine playground | Dog Travel Italy

A feast for your eyes and a playground for your dog, Ravello is the place you go to relax while taking in the incredible views, wandering the hills and the winding pedestrian streets with your pup. Spend time with friends drinking beer, eating pizza and laughing into the night with your dog asleep next to you in one of the town’s charming restaurants. This hillside dwelling town on the Amalfi Coast is a fantastic dog friendly getaway and a perfect home base to explore the coastal towns or head over the hill to Pompeii for a day trip, only an hour away. But first, we need to get to this little hillside town.

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Driving along the Amalfi Coast and looking back at Positano.

Driving to Ravello is an adventure all by itself, and one to be embraced and not stressed about as it’s all part of the memories of a wonderful vacation. If you haven’t heard already, the narrow Amalfi Coast road is famous for it’s twists, turns and cliffs. Traffic is halted while buses maneuver around tight corners and you are constantly saying things like ‘That tour bus will never ever fit through there…‘ and ‘Aiieee, that’s just not possible!’ and ‘What the…there’s no room??!!’.

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Tikka at a hillside lookout, Ravello Italy.

If you don’t want to brave this first hand then it’s best to get a driver or take a bus and relax while looking out at the scenery and the car chaos, but we were not swayed by the stories and decided we’d go all in. Tikka was also up for the challenge, giving us a paws up and then napping the whole journey. We took our time and drove carefully in the daylight, learning to honk as we went through tunnels and leaving lots of room for cars in front of us in case they had to back up to make way for a truck.

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Marina di Praia and the steep road that takes you to this little cove.

There are many places to stop along the way and with stomachs rumbling and a dog needing a pee break from all that napping we decided to stop at a wee cove and grab some lunch. The road down to the water was a steep descent, clinging onto the side of the hill so we took it very slowly. Marina di Praia is a tiny village with a pebble beach and towering cliffs between the towns of Praiano and Conca dei Marini. Along with the beach goers and rental umbrellas, there are fishing boats and nets and we knew we were in for a yummy seafood lunch. Trattoria da Armandino didn’t disappoint and we happily dug into our fresh calamari while Tikka laid out in the warm sun, having a nap from all that, you guessed it, napping.


With our bellies full we started the car and headed back up the cliff to join the road and finish the last 30 minute leg of our drive. Describing Ravello with words would fall short of how magical and beautiful this pocket of Italy really is. So I present you with the first morning we awoke after our drive down from Rome. No dispute, this was the most incredible sunrise we ever witnessed. You win Amalfi Coast. We get it. You are a goddess.

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Sunrise over the Amalfi Coast looking out from Ravello.

And the beauty doesn’t stop as you explore the town with your dog throughout the day. Every angle reveals a gorgeous view, whether looking towards the houses and gardens dotting the hills or towards the sailboats bobbing along the blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

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Hills of Pontone, view from Ravello.


The sun and the rain were playing a game of leap frog during our five day stay, but the wet stuff didn’t deter our daily adventures. We took Tikka to the gardens of Villa Cimbrone, built in the 11th century and extensively renovated in the 20th century and just popped into a cafe when the rain swept through for 3o minutes.

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Entrance to Villa Cimbrone. Big doors, little dog.


The gardens of the Villa are a great place to bring your dog with lots of shade and nice pathways to walk along and we took her off leash in a quiet area for a game of fetch to let her stretch her little legs.

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Tikka at the Avenue of Immensity, Villa Cimbrone Gardens.

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Entrance and Cloister to Villa Cimbrone

Most people come to stand at the edge of the Terrazzo dell’lnfinito (Infinity Terrace), 1200 feet above the water and possibly the best view in Italy. There are also numerous paths, rose gardens, statues to gaze at and a 5 star hotel to sit and sip a Limoncello at the pool lounge… and yes, it is dog friendly.

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Terrazzo dell’Infinito. Spectacular even on a cloudy day!

I was asked…what was the most beautiful place that I had ever seen in all my travels and I said the view from the Belvedere of the Villa Cimbrone on a bright winter’s day, when the sky and the sea were each so vividly blue that it was not possible to tell one from the other.’

Gore Vidal

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Pathway to Eve’s Grotto and Mercury’s Seat.

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Detail inside the Cloister, Villa Cimbrone.

One of our days was spent at Mamma Agata’s, a friendly family run cooking school at the edge of Ravello, with huge gardens and huge smiles. Mamma Agata started her career as a teenager and cooked for Humphrey Bogart and Fred Astaire at the wealthy house she was employed at. Jacqueline Kennedy also enjoyed her simple, traditional dishes made with local ingredients that grow sweet and flavourful under the Italian sun.


We picked up some great cooking tips for authentic Italian dishes but it was the experience of joining the family for an afternoon that made it so wonderful. We didn’t want to impose so we left Tikka to rest at our AirBnb, but we were quickly scolded upon arrival for leaving her behind and yet again we were reminded about how dogs are welcomed with open arms in Italy. Probably not a bad thing that Tikka skipped the cooking class as I sense she would have been stuffed silly with all sorts of goodies from the kitchen.

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Piazza Centrale and Duomo Ravello

If you are thinking of a trip to Italy with your dog, you won’t go wrong with planning a relaxing stay in Ravello. For more information, this is a good link for exploring the town and attractions. Also have a look at the video below from the Ravello Festival, showcasing the surroundings for their annual music festival. When you go, raise a glass of Limoncello in honour of all the wanderlust dogs that keep us company on our travels 🙂


Read more about our travels around Italy with our dog Tikka on our Travel Page

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Conquer Rome with your Dog – Part 1 Colosseum, Spanish Steps and Circus Maximus | Dog Travel Italy

“Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered.)”

-Gaius Iulius Caesar

Tikka came to Rome, Tikka saw many a famous site and Tikka conquered any concerns of bringing a dog with you on your trip to the Eternal City.

With only  three days in Rome, we knew there was a lot to pack into our visit but we made it easier on ourselves by not worrying about anything we couldn’t get to. The focus was on walking the streets and enjoying the ‘every day’ experience – how Romans spend their morning at a market, walking their dogs at Circus Maximus, buying biscotti in Trastevere or having a  long lunch at a little place away from the crowds.

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The Road to Rome with your Dog | Dog Travel Italy

Throughout Rome you will come face to face with numerous depictions of the ‘She-Wolf’ an important part of this city’s vast history. Through paintings, frescoes, and statues her myth ignites the tale of how she discovered and cared for the twin brothers of Romulus & Remus, who then went on to found Rome. A city with this many ties to the wolf couldn’t be more open and friendly to bringing a dog along with you while you discover the treasures of Rome.

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Dog Friendly Florence – Part2 | Dog Travel Italy

Following up from our first few days in Florence (part 1 here), the second half of our stay took us to a few different parks while we explored the Mercato Centrale, Oltrarno and Santo Spirito.

Our mornings continued with an early walk – easy to do when you are awake with jet lag. Coming from the lush rain forest of Vancouver, Tikka was perplexed with the lack of available grass and often gave us a look of ‘you expect me to pee on the street like an animal…?’ A male dog would have jumped right into marking the buildings and spots where dogs  came before him but it took Tikka a bit of time and a full morning bladder to finally go with the flow like her Italian counterparts. There are some lovely dog friendly parks in Florence, but not necessarily outside your hotel when you are staying in the thick of the old city and need a pee.

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Looking over Florence and deciding where to go next.

Our ‘go to’ place just 5 min from our hotel was the grass in front of the Santa Maria Novella Train Station. It’s not too glamorous and was a busy area, but it was nicely maintained and everyone is really good about picking up dog poop. It was also a block from the more eye pleasing view of Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, famous for it’s decorative frescoes.

We also visited Piazza della Indipendenza in the San Lorenzo area, which has some nice open areas and a bit of grass and we had a lovely chat with a local lady while Tikka ‘conversed’ with her Dachshunds. This was the first time we were asked the reoccurring question throughout our trip in Italy. ‘Femmina o Maschio?’  Dog park conversations always begins here and I gather it’s from the amount of intact dogs, male and female. No matter the city, this was the icebreaker to chatting with a local on the street or in the park.

A good romp in the park left us with rumbly stomachs so a stop for lunch at the Mercato Centrale close by was a no brainer. This is an amazing dog friendly indoor market with vendors selling everything from apples to zabaglione on the bottom floor during the day and whole top floor is alive with little restaurants serving amazing food well into the evening. Tikka approved as it was a feast for her little eyes being close up and personal to the huge Florentine steaks and freshly caught fish.

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Checking out the goods at Mercato Centrale


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And one of those for dessert. Make it two.

You can stop for quick street food or sit down for a longer lunch. We settled on a huge array of salami and cheese, Tikka eyeing the goods across the aisle from under our table. Lunch conversation was all about how incredible it would be if our markets back home in Vancouver were as accessible for dogs. One can hope…

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Tikka ever hopeful for something to come her way at lunch

Another fun walk took us along the river, west of the Ponte Amerigo Vespucci. Upper part was a long peaceful path with quite a few dogs casually strolling along with their humans and on the way back we dropped to the bottom part to walk closer to the river. Not as tidy, but a good off leash area.

This side of the river, Oltrarno, is much less crowded, but a must for exploring. We took some time to check out the Santo Spirito area and stopped for drinks in Piazza Santo Spirito under the shadow of the Basilica of the same name. This area was highlighted in a great post from A Girl In Florence and we were glad we took the advice to visit. It is very much a local, artisan area with cheaper drinks and eats and more laid back than the squares around the larger tourist areas. Perfect for a dog to settle in for an afternoon snooze away from the crowds.

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Ready for a pillow in Piazza Santo Spirito

On our last morning in Florence we headed out for a good walk in the Santa Croce district before hitting the road. We stumbled across Giardino Alessandro Chelazzi, a cute neighbourhood dog park just a couple blocks south of Piazza dei Ciompi. Not a lot of grass, but a decent size, fenced, shady, and a really fun group of regulars. Very well maintained and there was even a modern statue to honour the canines that frequent this park. Lots of antique shops in the area, so spending a day window shopping in the area wouldn’t be hard to do.

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Respect in a dog’s world. Statue at Giardino Alessandro Chelazzi.

After a decent visit with Tikka’s new friends we wound through the streets to the river and came to Parco Vita, a big green park with lots of shade next to the Ponte Niccolo bridge, right beside the water. A great place to have a really good tear around in the grass and some great views of the Arno River.

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Posing along the Arno River in front of the Tower of San Niccolo.

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View down the Arno River from Parco Vita.

Energy depleted and ready for a nap in the car, we headed out of Florence late morning for our lunch date with a winery in Chianti. Wine tasting, full lunch, tour, all with Tikka right there with us… check out our amazing visit to Castello di Verrazzano.