So, you've planned your trip to Venice with your loved one, and a Gondola ride is a must do... maybe there is a plan for a celebration...or a proposal.....!!!!
You know it will be expensive...80 Euros plus!!! But it's surely worth it......
Is it so romantic when your gondolier is smoking, or talking on his mobile?
I just caught these pics within a couple of minutes of each other near the Santa Maria dei Miracoli. The first gondolier was passing the 2nd, and I heard him say cigaretto...I thought he was telling him off for smoking-but he was asking for a ciggie! well he might have been on a break, but, it wouldn't entice me to hire him...
The 3rd gondolier was on his mobile phone, but the couple seemed oblivious.
Now I've got a soft spot for the Venetian gondoliers, even though I've got no intentions of hiring a gondola ride-I'd much rather take the 50 cent traghetto ride -standing up across the Grand Canal,(and I've written about the Gondolas and gondoliers in my Local Customs tips), but these characters seem to be taking the p*&$s and going against gondolier etiquette
Venice is such a beautiful city, it's really hard to take your eyes off its colourful buildings and charming canals as you're walking around the streets. However, there are lots of dogs in Venice, and between the canals and the buildings our four-legged friends have very little room to do their, hem, business. I saw many owners pick up after their pets, but some obviously don't because many sidewalks almost looked like minefields. Sylvain and I got into the habit of saying "Candy!" anytime one of us spotted something dubious on the sidewalk so the other wouldn't step on it - it worked everytime but once!
Be careful if you go to certain restaurants, the most touristic ones usually. Try to pick from the Menu list that has prices or if the waiter gives you recited choices, do ask how much they are. One time with my parents, we picked from the waiter choices and they charged us a completely unreasonable amount for a fish dish and said that's how much it cost for the season. We couldn't do anything...
Try the "non-touristic" places, they are less attractive but usually much more affordable and even home made cooked usually. (family owned)
Venice has very few cyber-cafés. They are hard to find, overpriced, and with quirky opening hours. Apparently there is limited demand for cyber-cafés (when I used them, the other patrons were all Americans). I suppose that European travelers have their laptops along, or use phone texting. I am so used to checking my email from god-forsaken places for a few cents, I was quite surprised.
I found one cyber-café behind San Marco on Calle Drio La Chiesa, and one near the Rialto on Calle del Stagneri o de la Fava.
However, there are still public phone booths in Italy, and they use regular credit cards.
I have travelled all over the world including many parts of south America where the men are Macho. In Japan where they think they are superior to women and everywhere in between.
However I have never see anyone as crude & uncultured as italian men. They will check out anythng that walk into a restaurent with a skirt. Be it old / young/ ugly or gorgeous. They all look with their tongues out.... WHY I could not avoid but notice this everywhere I went.
I am a guys and I love to admire beauty even though I would reserve my rights to admire or compliment when the lady is with a boy friend / husband / mother etc. But it italy everthing seems to be game for everyone. I found this very rude.....
Next time you see an italian perv staring at your body parts you will remember my note.
I didn’t find out yet how many of these huge cruise ships are sailing through Venezia’s lagoon per week (I am still searching). What I have read though is that the emission(s) of one single big cruise ship equals the ones of 14.000 cars if driving for 24 hours. 15% of dust pollution in the city is caused by them. Now do the huge ships not only cause pollution in the air, but also pollution of the water. Moreover, they are partly responsible for causing the increased floods that beset Venezia more and more. And yes, of course, the floods themselves are a "natural" phenomenon – but they occur with higher frequency since the deep channels have been digged into the lagoon to allow ships with a deeper draught to navigate around. And yes, originally these channels have been digged for the oil tankers to navigate to Porto Maghera and the dubious production sites that poison(ed) the water with their waste. So yes, it sounds logical to take advantage and also have cruise ships navigating to the port in eastern Venezia. But by now, it is something like the sorcerer’s sigh “The spirits I have called” – the massive huge ship traffic destroys the equilibrium of the lagoon. It all is like a vicious circle, and the increasing amount of taxi boats, shipping the increasing amount of tourists around, add to it. As a result of this increasing water traffic (no matter how big the boats are), the oxygen level in the water increases tremendously, thus algae, etc, as I already explained in the trap section.
The taxi boats are also a danger to your pocket – they cost a fortune, as each and everything is charged for (luggage, waiting time, etc).
I cannot prevent anyone from boarding one of these deadly cruise ships or using a taxi boat. I only want to explain how much negative impact they give and make room for own thoughts.
If you are interested, you can read more on this British website:
Venice in peril
(Update, September 2009: website exchange, Venice in peril).
O they have a captive market. People tend to know how much they should pay for a tee-shirt, but what price would you put on a somewhat captains' hat with 'Venezia' written on it. What price a piece of Murano glass or a silly plastic gondola.
Reckon on paying over the odds whatever you do. With footfall at epic proportions these knick-nac sellers can afford to stick to their guns - there will be more free spending tourist along in just a minute or two.
It's all made in in some Chienes sweatshop anyway.
I must just add a little plug for the couple of shops on Torcello who seemed to sell all the items a Venetian tourist could want for half the price of what they get away with in Venice proper.
You have been warned.
As Venice is one vast tourist processing factory it is not surprising that most restaurants in the lower to mid range operate a policy of 'there is bound to be another sucker along in a moment'. It is not the quality of food or the standard or service that is the problem here (they are often very good) but their pricing policy. As there is so much competition the different restaurants try to make the prices of each dish as reasonable as possible. That is all very well, but look at all the hidden extras. It is a bit like buying a ticket with Ryanair or one of the other low cost carriers. The ticket price looks ok, but when you add on all the extra charges the bill seems to have miraculously doubled.
Many places charge for 'cover' (coperto) in Italy. This is usually around 1 euro 50 per head. Other places put on a 'service charge' (usually 15%). I don't mind paying one or the other, but Venetian restaurants seems to delight in charging both.
Their real killing comes when it comes to prices for drinks. Expect to often pay 3 euro for even a small coca-cola. Mineral water is usually expensive enough, but beer goes through the roof. The worst example I saw was a disgusting 16 euro for a standard size beer. Even in Venice 5-6 euro would be expensive enough.
As nearly all restaurants have menus outside it pays to study them well, even if this takes a few minutes. Location seems to have little effect, although as a general rule the places nearer to the train station tend to be on the more reasonable side pricewise.
It seems to be something of an urban myth that Venice has a good strong pong to it during the summer months. It is certainly an oft heard comment if you mention that you are heading there - often from people who regard the next village 'as a bit foreign'.
In my experience, Venice certainly does not smell, and it is certainly an urban myth that raw sewage is dumped straight into the canals. Despite the overwhelming desire to pee straight out your hotel window onto a passing gondalier most hotel residents will avail of Venice's very workable sewage system.
The only time that you could get a pervasive smell, as far as I can work out, is if a canal is undergoing repairs and needs to be drained. This could unearth all sorts of stuff and leave an area of stagnant water.
Perhaps people who complain that Venice pongs shouls look no further than their own sweaty armpits for the source of their nasal twitchings.
I think that the Venetian authorities really are taking the P**S on this one. Public toilets appear to charge a whopping one euro 50c for the use thereoff. For that money I would want a newspaper, a clean towel and a pretty attendant to wipe my a**e.
I find nipping into a hotel when I am in need of a leek, pretending that you are interested in booking a room next week and then nipping off to the bog whilst they look up prices to be a foolproof method.
During the summer months Venice can be extremely hot, with temperatures reaching over 40C/100F degrees. Combined with with large numbers of of people in Saint Mark''s square and other areas, it can be very hot.
Since the only forms of transporation are either walking or on boat, if you are going to walk through Venice, consider buying bottles of water.
Staying hydrated can be very important. If possible find markets located away from the tourist areas and buy water there.
Be advised, when planning your trip to Venice, that two of the most popular monuments/sights are covered up due to restoration works.
The Ducal Palace is partially covered and the Bridge of Whispers is totally covered with an horrible advertising board.
All over the main streets of Venice I noticed these funny banners(pics 1-2) that were telling about some merchants that sell fake handbags. It is illegal of course but they are all over the city and especially at the points were many tourists pass like ponte degli Scalzi in front of the Train Station (pic 3). It seems like a never ending game between police and the merchants, when the men in blue approach them they pack and go and then again and again. The problem for you is that you will get fined if they catch you buying from them although I guess it’s not worth the risk for just a fake Louis Vuiton bag. Some people find them annoying, that they spoil the romantic feeling of Venice but come on, that feeling is already gone when thousands of tourists arrive every morning at San Marco square :)
We felt safe everywhere in Venice all over the city but just be careful with pickpockets at the main attractions where as elsewhere in the world is easier to get stolen. I’m sorry but I don’t have any photo of a pickpocket but definetally some of them will have a camera of you if you don’t take care of your belongins! :)
The pigeons on St Marks Square (pic 4) supposed to be kind of dangerous because they will p*ss on you but they eat a lot so they have to because they dont use to go to public WC of Venice because it's not for free (yes, that's another warning tip! :) ) I think it’s illegal to feed them now because the state tries to protect the buildings around the square…
When we took the shuttle from the ship to St. Mark's Square, I made sure that I knew where to get the shuttle back to the ship would be. I took a picture of the sign - in case my grandson couldn't find his way back to the proper landing (and he was way better at getting back to places than I was), I could look in the camera to see what it looked like.
Up until recently, there were three main bridges across the Grand Canal. The Academy Bridge down by the Piazza San Marcos end, the Rialto Bridge in the middle (which is a tourist destination all on its own), and the Scalzi Bridge, which replaced an older iron bridge in 1934 and connects the sections of Santa Croce and Cannaregio near the Santa Lucia railroad station. So the first warning is - figure out what side of the Grand Canal you want to be on and figure out how to get there, because you can't just walk across the street in Venice. It can be quite a distance to the next bridge (see photo 5), although there are 50 cent gondola ferries that also cross the canal.
When we were in Venice in the spring of 2008, they were building another Grand Canal Bridge up by the Piazzle de Roma. This is the Constitution Bridge, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, which opened on September 11, 2009. The bridge links Venice's railway station with the car, bus and ferry terminal on the opposite side of the Grand Canal. The Constitution bridge is the fourth over the Grand Canal and the city's first new bridge in 70 years.
This bridge is very dangerous to tourist who keep spraining their ankles because of the bridge's irregularly spaced steps, and the disorienting optical effect of the sectioned stone and glass flooring. People are gawking at the sights instead of watching where they are putting their feet.
When we were there the primary problem was that construction blocked us from walking along the canal up to the Piazzle Roma
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