I walked along the south edge of Dorsoduoro and cought the vaporetto to Sacca Fisola which is probably about as far of the tourist beat as you can get in Venice. It is very unusual , since it has ordinary concrete apartment blocks around grass squares, some light industry and nothing really to look at. Though unlike a mainland area, as still no cars. I have no idea of the history of the area but would estimate the apartments as dating from the 60s or 70s. Strangely there is only one bridge across to Giudecca. Walking back eastwards you can see a few modern buildings, right on the southern fringes of Venice. Pretty cool being able to sail in and park ander your apartment.
Giudecca is also the place to come if you want to buy 'normal' things like groceries, or chill out on a canalside terrassa with a coppa and not be charged an arm and a leg.
I highly reccommend buying a day pass for the water taxi and traveling out to the islands located near Venice. I ventured out to the Islands of Burano and Murano, both very beautiful, and both very worth it.
The island of Murano is famous for it's glass. There are many free demonstrations in the shops on the island showing you this fine art. It was pretty amazing to watch them in action. A small note on the Murano glass... be sure to ask the sales clerk where the glass piece was made... we were advised by a gentleman with a shop in Venice to ask this question as many of the retailers sell glass figures made out of a pyrex type glass... not the famous Murano glass. I recommend buying from the actual artist. The prices are the same and you can watch them make the pieces.
Burano is full of colorfully painted houses and a little less crowded then Murano. I suggest walking the opposite way then that of the rest of the people exiting the water taxi. The island is small enough that you won't really get lost. My friends and I did this and ended up wandering down some very cute streets. There is a large market area on the island were you can buy all sorts of lace products... be wary though... many of them were not made on the island... they were imported from places like Taiwan. Just something to look out for.
Some people think that Venice is just that area around the San Marco Square, we spent almost all our time in Venice around that area only on our way back from the boat that we realized there are many beautiful Islands around which tour guides tend to leave out. I read some reviews about these Islands and there are nice places to see, for which I will definetely spare some time to see on my next trip to Venice.
Torcello is probably the quietest of the island on the Murano, Burano, Torcello tour. Its sleep air and delightful churches are a delight to explore - make sure you climb the Bell tower for fine views across the lagoon.
The mosaics in th church are some of the finest you'll see too (see my Torcello page for more). Several restaurants are here including the renowned locanda Cipriani so it makes a good lunch stop on the island tour.
The long thin island alongside San Giorgio Maggiore is La Giudecca - formerl a place of exile for venetians. This working class suburb of Venice is a peaceful place to wander and enjoy the views across to the Zattere of Venice. one day we will come back and explore this island more - just ran out of time. If we win the lottery then we will stay at the 5 star cipriani here ;-)
The small island you see in front of San Marco Square is called San Giorgio Maggiore. You can easily recognize it by its campanile, that looks almost the same like the one on San Marco. A suggestion: instead of climbing the campanile at San Marco, climb the one on San Giorgio Maggiore: it's cheaper and the view is much better!
Except for the campanile, there's also a church and a convent on the island. And don't hesitate to have a look at the (private) boats lying in front.
To get there, you guessed it, take the vaporetto.
In the morning a quiet fishing village atmosphere with the excitement of the day being the catch brought in for public auction. However towards evening the restaurants opened and the locals wandered in from the area to share a meal and socialize. Not much english spoken. Toilets might not be what you are used to.
By San Marco you can catch a ferry to Lido. From here you can go to the other Islands. Our directions to get to the island of Chioggia were ; Catch the ferry to Lido and then catch the number 11 bus to the other side of the island. From there catch the ferry to the next island and then catch the bus to the other end of the island (by the cemetery ). There you catch the ferry to Chioggia. It was easier than it first sounded.
When you step off the boat at Piazza San Marco, go all the way to the right and walk along the canal until you come to Via Garibaldi, then turn left into the neighborhood of Castello. This is an enjoyable walk with local shops, and a great bakery where I found the most delicious olive bread! If you take V. Garibaldi to the end and cross the bridge you will come to an island which has the original church of Venice, St. Peter's. The island was one of Venice's earliest settlements. The 7th century church was the cathedral of Venice until 1807, when San Marco took its place.
Connected to Burano by a bridge, this island is a quiet and peaceful place, filled with family houses, vegetable gardens, orchards and even some small vineyards.
This is the convent church of Santa Caterina.
Venice are a bit of a 'yoyo' club, bouncing between Serie A and B. Their stadium must be one of the worst in any of the top two divisions, and certainly the worst in Serie A. It resembles a very poor English 3rd division ground, though many of these are better now then Venice's stadium. The stands at each end are simply scaffolding poles with a decking on them for seating, and the rest of the stadium is old and delapidated.
It's on the St Elena island at the far eastern end of Venice.
You easily can visit the islands of Lido, Murano, Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello by the regular vaparetto services to these islands. They're very much worth a visit, each having its own distinct character and beaing so different to mainland Venice.
See below and in the travlogue for more information.
Venice is surrounded by equally enchanting islands: the Lido (forever linked with Tommy Mann, Dirk and Death in Venice), Murano (the home of Venetian glass), Burano (famous for its lace) and strangely time-warped Torcello, with its Byzantine cathedral.
The lagoon is big, and has lots of untuched places, full of birds when the times of migrating comes.
Wonderful landscapes and sunset, too.
(well, mosquitos as well if you stay at night in summer)
I had to put this pic in, I have an obssession with this street light! As street lights go it is the best I've seen.