A Conversation for Venice, Italy
DaveBlackeye Started conversation Mar 8, 2007
Just got back, loved it to death. The entry is pretty accurate, though no mention of the Arsenale and the Naval museum, or Harry's Bar. We stayed on the Riva degli Schiavoni, the main drag along the seafront on the south, about two minutes walk from St Mark's. This is technically in Castello, so I'm not sure I agree with all the entry's comments on this area - it is cheaper than San Marco but there are some very nice bits.
Some experiences and recommendations, for no particular reason:
It's definitely expensive. We went for a special occassion, so were prepared to splurge but still ended spending £1500 in three days .
We went in March and didn't find it smelly at all or too busy. It was lovely and sunny though and plenty warm enough for a Scotsman. The lack of cars make it absolutely unique - it has a vibe all of its own.
A gondola ride is not worth the money. It is nice, and the prices are fixed, but it just costs so damn much (100 euros!) for so little time (40 mins) that you can't shake the feeling that you've just been ripped off (did I say I was Scottish?). The gondolier is supposed to point out the areas of interest but that's not much good if you don't speak Italian. We got a water taxi back to the airport which cost about the same, but is comfier, faster, covers a far greater distance and affords better views.
Get a day tourist ticket for the vaporetto. 13 euros and you can hop on and off wherever you like and go anywhere. The No 1 up and down the grand canal is a must, and it goes all the way to the Lido. Again, far better than a gondola.
Wander the streets and get lost. We were surprised that most of it is a fully functioning city full of Venetians, and not merely a tourist attraction. Find the less-affuent areas too; they're not far away.
Go to Harry's Bar, where the Bellini cocktail was invented. Don't have a Bellini though - they were 15 euros each and came in a very small glass. Have a whole bottle of presecco for 26 instead, and then buy a whole bottle of bellini at the airport for 7.95. Don't even bother asking for the menu. There were starters on there costing more than 50 quid (yes, really).
We had a beer in one of the cafes off St Marks, where a swing band were playing. Nice, quiet (in the evening) and romantic, but the bill included a charge of 3.50 each just for the music!
Was stuck with cheese and ham for the whole time as I don;t like seafood. Got pretty sick of that. For food, pizzas are good value. If you order a steak or fish in a restaurant, you'll get a steak or a fish, and nothing else. Have a first course (prima piatti) of pasta or something first.
Make sure your camera has plenty of memory - every single turn of a corner provides a new photo opportunity.
U1250369 Posted Mar 8, 2007
DaveBlackeye, for the experience of riding on a gondola, you could have taken a traghetto.
On Venice's Grand Canal, traghetti are the passenger boats that cross the canal at several points between the railroad station and St. Mark's Basin. The boats are old gondolas stripped of all their finery.
They journey costs next to nothing, and, for the record, you must stand in the traghetto. Sitting down is for wimps
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