It was our first trip to Venice, and after reading some of the travel tips, I was somewhat concerned about Venice. I loved every second of it.
We flew into Treviso airport and we went to tourist information and bought a bus ticket for 5 Euros each to Venice (don't forget to get your bus ticket stamped when you buy it) and then two water bus tickets to St Mark's itself from the bus station (10 Euros). It was confusing to get to the water bus from the bus station and absolutely no-one speaks English. Luckily for us there was an English family who had been before who pointed us in the right direction.
We stayed at the ponte del sospiri hotel which is just off St Marks square and as the name suggests, right near the bridge of sighs. It was really lovely (all suite) and very cost effective.
I bought some venetial glass jewellry, which is just incredible that I have not seen anywhere else in the world, which was very very cost effective. We also bought an ashtray and some glass coasters, all of which were an incredible price. If you follow the shops from St Marks, you end up at the Rialto bridge area which is just lovely, and has hundreds of little shops with individual items in, some expensive and some less so.
We got completely diddled when we ate - we had a pizza each (two of us) and two large cokes and they charged us 118 Euros. Nothing we could do about it. We were not on St Marks either, but down one of the little alleys nearby.
I would recommend Venice to anyone. Be aware that Europeans smoke openly all over, which can be a bit upsetting when you are not used to it.
No problems with thieves at all, which I was concerned about which was good. Nobody knew where the hotel was and the hotel can't explain where it is either!! Found it in the end, after we went into another hotel and their concierge directed us. People were generally kind, if they would speak to you.
I loved the unexpected art work. The doge mannequins, the artist self-portrait in the picture here, the posters of other artist's impending shows. The rest of Venice was expected and beautiful, but these were little tidbits of what Venetians were doing today.
Piazza San Marco
The only Piazza in Venice, Piazza San Marco has been the political center of Venice for over 1,000 years.
The Basilica San Marco is the 3rd church to stand on this site. Until 1807 it served as the as the doge's private chapel for State ceremonies.
The campanile appears as it did in the early 16th century, but the original collapsed in 1902. The one now standing was dedicated in 1912.
Some websites I liked to plan my visit with
Now most of you already have your favourite websites to look at and prepare your visit to La Serenissima. But maybe there is the one or other you didn’t know yet.
So here is my list:
Tourist Board of Venezia:
This is not only for Venezia but also for otherplaces of interest within Veneto, such as a boat trip along Canal di Brenta or visits to Chioggia and Jesolo. It lists the current events and has a calendar to look up events for the coming months. You can select the locations to visit according to the interest (museums, theatres, churches, palazzi, etc), area (island or city centre) and sestiere, and when you selected your choices, you will get brief information, opening hours, admission fees and external website (if existing).
ENIT (Italy’s Tourist Board):
ENIT for Venezia:
with further links and information for your visit. But you might need this only if you plan to visit more of Veneto, as the Turismovenezia has much more infos.
information about the lagoon:
This is a fantastic site with loads of information and backround about the lagoon, the ecosystem and the problems man can cause (and does). Very much ideal for those who plan birdwatching or ecotours through the lagoon. Modern Art:
all about Biennale
All you need to know if you want to come for the worlds best and greatest modern art exhibtion – La Biennale. Next one is this fall (2007).
Events and art and culture:
Somehow similar to the official one, but maybe a bit easier to read and find what you look for. There is a calendar to find events per day (which I personally find more practical, as we will be there only during a period of time and might have several interests). You an choose between events, arts and culture (with history and tradition background).
From the website of Europe for Visitors:
Venice for visitors:
A private site with lots of collection of information about this and that in Venezia. However, I often found that some links are no longer working and that some info is outdated. But as a whole, it contains readable info.
Another website is very much to my liking: Slow Travel:
They have a part about Italy with lots of infos about travels in Italy and off path options. The more Venezia specific ones are in the section for Venezia.
Update, Feb 2008:
I just found another exciting website where you can even download short descriptions of Venezia for MP3 player or iPod - see here:
Audio guides. Fascinating to listen to!
"The Pigeons Problem" Solutions (I&V)
The pigeons of San Marco have become the symbol of Venice but they are actually a severe problem because pigeons dung is the one of the main reasons of buildings damage in Venice. Venetians use common needles but also pretty odd and scary broken glass to secure some places from pigeons.