All international buses leave and arrive now from Tronchetto, in quite a distance towards the tourist bus parking lot there are now some food stands (and some awfull souvenier stands) selling hotdogs (€ 4!) and similar and esspresso (€ 2,50), get there from/to Piazzale Roma (at the moment because of construction a mess!) with the People Mover, 1 Euro, vending machine takes only 5 Euro bills (most will be to creased to be taken) and coins, will take about 10 minutes.
Fun Alternatives: Most buses will stop also at Mestre train station in front of the Plaza Hotel from where you have frequent trains to Venezio Santa Lucia station which is in most cases more convenient.
I knew it would be a tourist trap. I knew it would be frightfully expensive. Alas, i sat down to have a cup of coffee and watch all the tourists make fools of themselves with the pigeons. It was certainly memorable, the most expensive cup of coffee (9 euro) I have had anywhere in the world. I savored every single drop. Why not!
Fun Alternatives: Don't sit on the square or find a smaller bar away from the square, the coffee will taste just as good.
Okay, not quite a tourist trap but a warning/hint...
You cannot take photos with cameras inside the buildings. It's a shame because there are so many beautiful pieces of art here!
Still, most phones have cameras these days...
Everyone knows that St.Mark's Square is busy, busy, busy during the Summer.
So, if you are in Venice during May-September do go to St.Mark's Square ---but very early in the morning! You can get the photos that you had dreamed of... nobody wants to pester you to buy their goods...you'll have it almost to yourself! So go about 7.00 am and then have breakfast afterwards.
Unique Suggestions: As above.
One of Venice's landmarks, this tower, almost 100 meters high, is a temptation. From the top…
Well, after 6 € and variable but generally long time in the line you will find out that… it was not so good. The narrow windows are well protected and allow only a limited sectorial view in each direction. You may see the island’s location in the lagoon, and… roofs.
Come down. Venice is very beautiful seen from the ground level. You could have spared time and money, didn’t you?
When I was young I practiced much sport. That allowed me to understand the true meaning of the obstacles in the 3000 meters race. The hurdles, the wall, the trench are very easy to transpose when you start. But, turn after turn, they become “higher” and “wider” and their sight mean from a challenge in the beginning, to a nightmare when approaching the end.
Venetian bridges, are a blessing in the morning, allowing us to cross all the wide or narrow canals, but after a day walking around, when you walk back to your hotel, look at their size. Much bigger… right?
Vaporetto, my dear… vaporetto!
Well there is an island I visited many many years ago...there was a cafe...there were outside markets...and it started with "M" or so I thought. I bought a beautiful shawl there and one of my daughters has the shawl to this day. But I did not read carefully as I discovered later...the island I wanted was Burano.
So when we were told a trip to Murano was included in our stay guess what I thought?
A water taxi was coming...complementary!
Well the glass blowing was interesting...very...and the products were so beautiful....and so expensive.
Be different if we had intended to visit and buy Venetian glass.
But you know how you feel when you are trapped in a carpet showroom?
Unique Suggestions: Hold on tight to your mind. Keep remembering they want you to buy. Eventually you will be shown products with a cheaper price tag! Eventually you will be shown trinkets.
And enjoy the" free" taxi ride!" It is fun...And they go fast if in the clear.We even saw an ambulance boat.
And they bring you back to Si Marks Square where you can enjoy the life and excitement in front of you as you enjoy a coffee...just do not faint when you see the cost. But the one we chose had a piano man as well. and a toilet..it was worth it!
Fun Alternatives: Know the name of the island you do want to visit. Check out just what the free trip in your "package"" actually is!
Oh yes we bought a smaller piece of Venetian Glass...just a token!! but probably best of all we now have the piece blown at our "demo" ...a horse...for 10 euro.
So the photo of the "pieces" is included...the little horse is clear and difficult to see....
Restaurant thieves of Venice !!!
The waiter chats you up with niceties, explaining they have fresh fish, "non troppo grande per due", not too big for two. When ordered he puts on his jacket and needs to go out to find fish somewhere else. The fish is not shown to the customer before cooking so when it is brought to the table it turns out to be a hunk of fish, capable of feeding 4 people ... at 8 euro's per 100 gr. In the end, for lambrusco wine, two cold buffet starters, water and the fish, not even coffee or desert, they stick you with a bill of 180,1 euro !!! While you are sitting at a small wooden table with a paper napkin on it - not even covering the table - in what basically is ... a pizzeria. When complaining you get all the Italian rage poured over you, the waiter claiming he has worked in Dubai, Cipriano ... basically he is the shining star of the restaurant business and you are ... but a customer. Customers can only wish he had stayed in Dubai. Don't visit La Bricola.
Unique Suggestions: Don't go there
Venice counts a number of Palace 5* Luxe Hotels. Some are famous because located on the Grand Canal like the Gritti, Europa & Regina, Bauer or the Danieli on the basin of San Marco. When looking at their terraces with restaurants on the Grand Canal one might be tempted to dream or to plan a stay (after winning at the Lotto) in one of them.
I fancied the Palazzo Gritti from the 16th c (photo 1) which belonged to a doge but felt from my chair when I read the comments on Trip Advisor:
141 comments of which 10 "terrible", 21 "poor", 18 "average", 25 "very good" and 66 "excellent". How is it possible that a prestigious hotel like the Gritti gets 22% bad critics when guests pay between 500 and 900 €/night and only 62% of the guests recommend this hotel!
Continuing on the Grand Canal I saw the Westin Europa & Regina (photo 2). Here the score is less bad: on 420 comments are 20 "terrible", 34 "poor" that is 13% bad critics and 79% recommend. Prices are somewhat lower from 400 till 800 €/night.
Just a bit further facing the Salute stand the Palazzo Bauer. The score is better: on 359 comments 12 are "terrible", 19 "poor" that is 9% bad critics; 86% recommend. Prices between 500 and 1000 € (this is for the Palazzo on the Grand Canal, there are lower prices for the building in the back called Bauer hotel).
Further on the quay at an hundred meters from the Doges Palace stand the 3 buildings of the most famous Danieli (photo 4). The ochre one in the middle has the monumental hall and staircase. The Danieli has no terrace on the water but on the roof. The entrance is on the very crowded quay with souvenir shops for tourists (photo 5). On 383 critics 29 are "terrible", 34 "poor" that is a total of 16% bad critics; 73% recommend. Price between 400 and 700€/night. Can you imagine 16% bad critics for this legend among luxe hotels!
The prices I mention are from Expedia, Westin and Bauer for the period of May 2011.
The lowest are for standard rooms (no view) the higher ones for de luxe rooms but not necessarily with a Canal or Lagoon view. The rooms with good views are generally suites with prices between 1000 and 2000 €/night.
What I find terrible is that these famous 5* Luxe hotels in Venice are unable to obtain a minimum of 95% satisfaction from customers who pay such high prices. What is even more terrible when you read the critics of their guests on TripAdvisor are the many complaints about bad service!
Pay 1000 €/night for bad service, no thanks!
Unique Suggestions: Reads the critics before booking.
We also made a similar experience like the "sandwich" thing you had. We went to a small "Kiosk/Bistro" and ordered 4 drinks (obviously, we all know the difference between drinking at the Bar and sitting at a dining table). But at this place we are just talking about Plastic Chairs under an ugly umbrella outside.
We were asked "Inside" or "Outside" when we took got the drinks and wanted to pay. So we of course said we will drink the drinks outside....the (unfriendly) lady charged us 3,50EUR instead of 2,50EUR per drink...are you joking we asked and she said "we have two prices and you said you will drink outside". So we paid 4,00EUR more, just to be able to stand outside drinking.
Yes, (ironically) we felt very welcomed as tourists in Venice :-)
Unique Suggestions: Always say you will "drink inside". Pay and THEN walk out with your drink!
When you visit historic cities like Venice, you have to expect that there will be some restoration work going on, but I don't think I'd ever seen quite as much as what I saw in Venice. The small floods - or acqua alta - that often occur in Venice, earning it the nickname of "the floating city", can cause lots of damage. After the severe flood of November 1966, when the water level rose by almost 2 meters, several international committees were formed under the supervision of the UNESCO to raise funds all over the world to help restore some of the city's most valuable buildings. The American committee, called "Save Venice", has remained especially active over the years. Of course, I love the idea that people are working to make sure the wonders of Venice will still be around for future generations, but you have to be prepared for what the city might look like while such work is going. When we were in Venice, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed to see all the scaffolding around the Piazza San Marco. However, I'm sure that next time I'm in Venice, I'll be glad to see that all these efforts have paid off!
During a previous journey in 1995, I had been able to observe the state of decay of numerous buildings situated on the Grand Canal. Walls eaten away by the water threatened ruin.
Since then, on the occasion of the millennium of Venice, numerous renovations were made. Some are still in progress as at the Accademia. The crane of these works can be seen from far away. Others works might be next or in front of your hotel!
There are also works on the "molo" at the feet of the Palazzo Ducale as well as at the beginning of the Riva degli Schiavoni. Pile planks, floating crane, spoil the sight at the "Piazzetta".
In 2010 the works at the "molo" were finished but the Ponte de Sospiri - Bridge of Sighs was looking quite miserable between two walls of bleu panels topped by a publicity panel for watches. The right side of the Palazzo Ducale is covered with a blue publicity sheet to hide the restoration works and the façade of the Bibliotheca Marciano on the Piazzetta is also covered with a sheet.
The Piazza San Marco near the Campanile is occupied by works. The clients of the café Florian have their view cut off by the works palisade. Furthermore the left side of the Basilica is covered with a sheet.
On the Grand Canal the Accademia is still undergoing works (photo 1).
Unique Suggestions: Before booking a room with view on the canal or Laguna for more than 1000 € / night, get informed if the sight is as romantic as you expect and will pay for.
If you've seen and read my revised trip notes on Florence, then you'll know how I feel about the basterdization of Italy. Well, there is no better example of this than the Mont Blanc ad basically eating away any and all relevance for the Bridge of Sighs (see pic). What is supposed to be a romantic and significant site is now nothing more than a big "f--- you" to purists around the world.
Unique Suggestions: Look past it.
Fun Alternatives: For all the crap that has beset Italy, Venice still holds on to it's uniqueness and specialness. I won't let this sh--ty ad campaign ruin Venice for me. At least not until the Grand Canal becomes renamed as the Chanel Canal.
You have no option once you have decided to visit Venice you are already set in the Trap. Everything from water/ transport/ tickets/ coffee/ food are all exorbatantly expensive.
Unique Suggestions: Here are my suggestions
1. Minimize you stay in Venice ( At Max do 1 night 1 days)
2. Stay in the Mainland (Mastre)
3. Take the train into Venice ( 1 Euro)
4. Invest in a good Map and walk everwhere.... vaperetto is a rip off.
5. Invest in a good guide map and pick where you want to eat and set yourself a budget and stick to it.
6. The Gondola ride is crap... skip it and save at leat 70Euros during the day and 120 Euros at night.
7. If you have to compromise and eat chineese / at a pizzeria that is cheaper.
8. Do not buy trinkets specially murano glass.. its a lot cheaper outside venice.
9. There is no need for bottled water in restaurents... cary a large bottle in your back pack.
Fun Alternatives: You have to visit Venice at it is a must see but be a little savy and don't get ripped off as a everyday tourist.
If some of us stood up, they woudn't take many of us for granted.
…but this are we ourselves, the tourists. And I fully understand and support Venezia’s officials’ pricing policy. Just imagine that only 20% of us tourists stay overnight, all others come in the morning and leave in the evening – mostly by boat. In a newspaper, I have read that on the first weekend in May this year (= when I was there as well), 150.000 tourists have been visiting the city ! Onehundred and fifty thousand people !!! This is the same amount as Venezianos living in their home city 50 years ago – today so many have fled from us the mass tourists and left only 50.000 local Venezianos living there. The day tourists consume almost nothing in the city, maybe an ice cream, as they perceive the prices for food as too high. They add in queueing to enter Basilica San Marco, and / or the viewpoint of Campanile, but hardly leave the neuralgic spots between Piazza San Marco and Ponte Rialto. This all has increased the amount of water taxis and huge cruise ships that sail along the Canale di San Marco to reach the docks of Zattere, where they land and spill out their content – 2000-3000 more day tourists that definitely won’t consume in the city, as they have all on their ship. One day, when I was wandering along the Riva della Schiavoni, one of these huge things came along from the east – I nearly got a heart attack of its size ! It was all so surreal, I felt like in the movie of Koyaanisqatsi, whose subtitle is life out of balance. I felt so sick, I was almost ready to feed the fish….
The ship in the main picture – full of ….. (now it depends on your viewpoint) German apes watching Eurodisney or Germans, watching the apes in Eurodisney is an MSC boat, and according to their website, leaves weekly (!!!) with 1566 passengers on board for a cruise to Greece and Croatia.
Unique Suggestions: We, no matter if we are day tourists or stay longer, produce waste, be it cigarette stumps, empty water bottles, napkins, whatever. This waste of 3 times as much tourists as locals, in addition to the locals’ waste, needs to be disposed of. Now the garbage collection cannot just drive along, it is all by boat, thus increasing boat traffic on that end. We need to go and powder our noses. The locals have their home, their offices or shops, or wherever they work at, for this. We need to use public restrooms, or, if eating somewhere, might use their facilities. But same story here – this our waste needs to get disposed of. It is a ridiculous thought, as I have read it here and there, that all is disposed into the lagoon.
Then the water taxis… As we come in herds and not all of us are taking the cheaper vaporettos (= the waterbusses for the locals), the amount of water taxis increases. Their higher speed agitates the water more than a vaporetto, thus bringing more oxygen into the water, thus increasing the amount of algae, thus adding to a very much deterioration of the lagoon’s water, thus increasing the necessity for cleaning the water in shorter intervals - and of course we have to pay for this with prices increasing - we just cannot leave it to the locals to pay for us ever increasing tourists and our waste ! (This is the key message what I want to get across).
Fun Alternatives: This all adds to the higher prices, we have to pay when visiting Venezia. I am well aware that I am writing quite sarcastic, and moreover, I was also part in the mass tourism, and will be again and again – but I will stay for longer and not only a day. And yes, I am well aware that I am lucky to live “close by” (only 90 min flight or an overnight train). But if you are coming to visit Venezia for only a short time, as you live far away and just can’t afford coming again and again – try and think about all these things, I described above (which is only a short part of the whole picture), and maybe you can find possibilities to participate from your end – be it only to understand the prices (and not scream scam) or eating somewhere off Piazza San Marco or buy in spuermarkets or smaller local shops, sweets or fruit, or whatever. Believe me, it supports a tiny bit the locals’ shops, of which a lot must close, as there are not enough (local) customers, and are replaced by another souvenir shop, which maybe even sells more Chinese crap, faked as “made in Venezia”.
Oh, and don’t misunderstand me – cruises can be nice (I won’t go on one though). But it is way better if they sail in seas where they are made for, and not in lagoons where extra deep navigation channels have to be digged, and destroying the water equilibrium.
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