One can leave luggage in Piazzale Roma (next to Pulman Bar) for €4/luggage. Look for the sign "Deposito Bagagli". There is also a left luggage in Sta Lucia train station near track 1. The charge is €4/luggage for the first 5 hours, then €0.60 for each additional hour. Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 12 midnight.
The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.
Here are some useful phone numbers that you might need while in Italy:
State Police: 113
Forest Service: 1515
Guardia di Finanza (Customs/Financial Police): 117
Coast guard: 1530
Piazza San Marco at night, for the music and some gellato.
Fondest memory: We greatly enjoyed just exploring and getting lost walking around in Venice, which is easy to do! It is important to spend a few days in Venice to really get a sense of the place. Many people only spend one day here. So sad! It is a treasure. Don't cheat yourself...give yourself some time here.
No place in the world made me so much wish to sing all the time (and we kindly neglect the fact that I cannot sing at all, lol). I am not a fan of all kinds of toys and gadgets, so I don’t have an ipod, but while walking through La Serenissima I very much wished I would have one. But haha, maybe it was good that I didn’t, as I would have been thrown into the canales if I would have started to sing.
(Watch out and click the links, if you are in the mood – I have linked the songs and music pieces as I found them on youtube).
All these typical and nice (but sometimes kitschy, as they fill in the perceptions) songs like O Sole Mio entered in my brain, and one day I nearly fell into the canale from laughing too much when suddenly two gondolas passed by with one gondoliere singing exactly O Sole Mio. It was fulfilling so much this image I had before I came to Venezia, but it fitted to the moment.
But Venezia also made me wish to listen to these grand pieces of art from Italian operas, such as Nessun Dorma or E Lucevan le Stelle, where I could not decide which version I like better, Pavarotti’s or Andrea Bocelli’s.
Some more of these lovely Italian songs and aria:
Recondita armonia (also from Tosca) and Torna a Surriento
Fondest memory: .
Rigoletto’s La Donna e Mobile is very much suitable for walking around, as it reflects the airiness or lightness in La Serenissima.
In my very own personal opinion these arias should be sung by Italian tenors. Not that others are not good enough, but in my opinion it needs to have Italians in their own language to bring out the subtleties of what an aria wants to tell.
Of course not only operas should escort us on our walks through the city. There are just so many sons of Venice who wrote other masterpieces, like Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo or the very much famous Antonio Vivaldi and his Four Seasons by Nigel Kennedy such as Spring, the out of this world Summer, Autumn and
Winter or all as Medley by Ann-Sophie Mutter.
One last one, which will also knock me off my feet if I listen to it when being there (best in a church to listen to in a concert):
Schubert’s Ave Maria, sung by the most magnificent late Luciano Pavarotti. I always get the shivers when listening to this and I want to place it here especially in memory of this masterly tenor. May he rest in peace.
I will definitely have an ipod with me next time, full with all my favourites. And then… when I will sit at Bacino di San Marco, look across the water to San Giorgio di Maggiore, I should better do this in non-acqua alta period, as I would add much water into the lagoon.
If you like to listen to more music, look at my TL “ Oh heavenly music in La Serenissima
When I was a kid I thought Venice was an island, later I realized that it’s a city built upon about 100 small islands located in the saltwater lagoon! The way that the buildings had been built so we can still see them is a technique that I guess they tried and fail many times centuries ago before they found a solution. Watertight stones and closely spaced wood piles were used as a base. I wondered why the wood don’t decay and they told me it’s because of the absence of oxygen between the wood piles so without the oxygen the bugs that will eat the wood cant survive. These piles are going down 8 meters under the lagoon floor.
You can see old photos or scale models of the city from the 16th century and you can recognize the city you see today! I saw many old maps and 3d drawings of Venice and I could easily recognize many buildings and definitely the general layout of the city. Most of the palaces, monasteries and old storehouses have turned into hotels, shops and museums but the buildings are the same from the outside and that’s the great thing in Venice, you can walk and have a touch of previous era, of course the hordes of tourists will spoil the picture sooner or later. Most of the people that work in the historic city of Venice don’t live there because of the high rents, they live in Mestre (4 out 5 of the general population of Venice) with a modern non picturesque architecture.
There are many church towers that have a slight inclination because of the instability of the subsoil. San Giorgio dei Greci in Castello is one of them. Apart from the huge square of San Marco I came across many small ones. A small square is called campo and usually it has a well(pic 1) in the center that used to be the drinkable water for the surrounded buildings. The rain water was pushed from stone water pipes in a figuline tank filled with sand that worked as a filter. There were also downpipes on the roofs of some buildings that carried the rain water into the well. There were laws to keep clean the well so animals and dirty pots weren’t allowed there. The facades of the building at the campos are usually very simple while the ones that face the canals are more decorated! This is happening because the visitors were arriving by boat.
If you take the vaporetto at the Grand Canal you can admire many beautiful facades and all the building one by one, I did it twice because you cant walk along the Grand Canal although there are some small promenades you cant have a general view like in pic 3. The majority of the Venetian houses are usually 3 story buildings but I saw some with more stories at Ghetto area. One interesting view for me was seeing the hanging ropes between two opposite houses over a canal (pic 2), it’s a clever way for putting the washed clothes to get dry. Last time I saw this was in Corfu (that is influenced from Venetians anyway).
The architecture styles vary depending on how old is a building. Those from the 13th century are the oldest and the Byzantine influence is obvious. They have colonnade at the basemant and several apses along the first floor. The majority of the palazzos are in gothic style (14-15th century) and Doge’s Palace is the one that you admire in depth. There are also buildings from 16th century (renaissance style) and 17th century (baroque style, usually they try to put everything on the building, masques, statues, angels etc Most of the times the result is kitch enough for me…
Fondest memory: the water reaches the buildings and sometimes it gets inside... (pic 4)
My hotel didn’t have internet connection and I understood that internet connection is rare and expensive in Venice. So, if you are desperate to check your emails you have to choose one of the internet cafes of the city. There is one near the train station at Lista di Spagna (pic 1). They don’t have phone cabins though.
If you want to make a call you can ask for a telephon card, the problem is/was that I coundnt find any telephone card and I asked at all the Travel Info and the tabaco shops that usually sell them. Probably they were out of stock at june 2009. So, I searched some other internet cafes that had phone cabins:
1)PLANET INTERNET (pic 2)
This is at Cannaregio 1519, just 5’ from train station after the bridge that takes you to jewish ghetto. It is open 9.00-00.00 and for calls in Europe they charge 0.30 per minute. They suppose to sell telephone cards too. tel:0410994186
2)BLACK & WHITE (pic 3). This is located at Dorsoduro, at S.Croce 2039 and they charge 0.50 per minute for calls in Europe. You go into a cabin, you call and when they answer you press a button which I forgot so a screaming lady from philipines came yelling:the buttoooon, the button!!! :) tel:041719187
Everywhere you look in Venice you see scaffolding. There seems to be continuous repairs going on. Some of the scaffolding is covered with fabric - sometimes a conservative white like what is around the customs house, and sometimes construction orange (photo 3). Some of the scaffolding is new and some is old. Some construction projects have been going on for some time, and some even appear abandoned.
Because of my former job as a health and safety inspector, I tend to take photos of scaffolding. So here are some photos of scaffolding in Venice
At the tip of Dorsoduro opposite St. Mark's Square, where the Grand Canal reaches its greatest width (231 feet) is the Customs house (Dogana di Mare). When we were there, this building was covered with scaffolding and the outside of the scaffolding was covered with a white material.
It used to be that cargo ships came first to the Punta della Dogana (Customs Point) to be inspected by customs officials. In the 14th century there was a tower on the point, but in the late 1600s this was replaced by a colonnaded building. It is presumably this building that is being repaired. The current building's tower sticks up above the white wrappings and is is crowned by two Atlases holding up a bronze globe. On top of the globe, the "Fortune" weathervane holds a shield to the wind.
I'm not sure from looking at it whether you can actually visit this site while it is under construction. One way to reach the Dogana di Mare is to take the No. 1 vaporetto to the Salute stop and walk along the promenade.
Or you can ride the gondola ferry from the nearby Campo del Traghetto to the Dorsoduro side of the canal. When you step off the traghetto, walk inland to the first corner, turn left, and continue two short blocks.
Fondest memory: In his Italian Hours essay on Venice, Henry James describes the Dogana di Mare:
"The charming architectural promontory of the Dogana stretches out the most graceful of arms, balancing in its hand the gilded globe on which revolves the delightful satirical figure of a little weathercock of a woman. This Fortune, this Navigation, or whatever she is called--she surely needs no name--catches the wind in the bit of drapery of which she has divested her rotary bronze loveliness. On the other side of the canal twinkles and glitters the long row of the happy palaces which are mainly expensive hotels. There is a little of everything everywhere, in the bright Venetian air, but to these houses belongs especially the appearance of sitting, across the water, at the receipt of custom, of watching in their hypocritical loveliness for the stranger and victim."
Favorite thing: We went to Venice right after we were in Naples. Naples is definitely SOUTH and there's no snow on Vesuvius. But here in Venice, there were snow capped peaks and it was a bit chilly in April. There were boats - a bit different from where I came from in Florida - but boats. But we don't have snow capped mountains in Florida. Later on, our family (Barb's family) took a vacation in June to Wyoming and Montana and I saw the snow covered peaks again - actually it snowed while we were there. But that was later - I was just surprised to see the snow in Venice - I had always thought of Italy as a southern place.
Lighthouses are my favorite things about a lot of places, and Venice is no exception.
This is supposed to be an active lighthouse, although the light is only up about 33 feet. It is an octagonal tower with a gallery which is made from white stone and is unpainted. It is on San Giorgio Maggiore island across the Grand Canal from St. Mark's Square. A breakwater protects the marina on the north, and the lighthouse is western of two identical towers at the ends of the breakwater. I don't know if the east tower has been used as a lighthouse.
The rest of these pictures were taken from St. Mark's Bell Tower and from various boats/water buses.
Venice is an horrendously expensive city and one way to cut down on the cost is to self-cater. You can rent an apartment from 3 days to up to six months. The cost is less than half the price of a middle-priced hotel. There are quite a few "supermarkets" (more like grocery stores) dotted around the city. The best are the Billa ones, they are open during lunch and on Sundays and can be found at:
2065 San Polo
Nuova Strada at Ponte Iva
Canareggio 3660 - this is the biggest and best one.
3017 Dorsoduro @ Campo Santa Margherita
To a first time visitor, Venetian street and canal names could be confusing. Here's a short guide on the local system of naming streets and canals:
Corte - as the name suggests, it's a small courtyard as compared to the much larger campo
Salizada - the local equivalent for an avenue, it is a wide, main street (yes, street, not canal).
Fondamenta - my first encounter with this word was one of utter ignorance. Now, I know refers to a street that runs along a canal.
Riva - the larger, wider version of a fondamenta.
Sotoportego - it's a covered passageway.
Rio Terra - my favorite, this represents man's (or more appropriately, the Venetians') triumph over nature - a filled-in canal more often as a public square (or more like an environmental issue?)
Ruga - not a dog's name (sounds like one!), but rather refers to a shop-lined street.
To add to the confusion, some streets and canals have more than one name!
Everyone who's been to Venice would agree it's one of the most unique cities in the world.
Where else could you find a cemetery on an island or houses having "garages" not for cars but for boats? Or delivery boats rather than delivery vans? Or an ambulance boat rather than an ambulance car? I tried looking for a fireman's boat, but wasn't lucky enough to see one. Perhaps next time.
Favorite thing: In Venice you will find signs painted on the sides of buildings that point you in the right direction for popular tourist sights. However, they're only useful if you understand what they mean. For example, ferrovia will point you towards the train station. That would have helped me out immensely, but I didn't know that until someone was trying to help me find my way back to my hostel. I said it was very near the train station so he pointed to the sign that was almost directly straight ahead and told me that ferrovia would point me towards the train station. Hope this help keeps someone a little less lost, even though it really is fun to get lost in Venice!
It's a very nice and central area with many restautants, pizzerie, ice cream shops and a little supermarket.
Calle dei Cerchieri is quiet because it's not on the main tourist route but it's few minutes far from campo san Barnaba and Campo santa margherita, both very nice and lively.
You can reach both saint Mark and Rialto both by foot (15-20 minutes) or by vaporetti.
I think you will find this a comfortable and nice area.
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