Venice in the summer

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Last summer while we were planning to do a Euro trip, I was honestly trying to see all the places I can squeeze in on a budget. During the research process I stumbled upon Venice and then couldn’t stop thinking about it.  After visiting places like Amsterdam and Ibiza, I was warned it will be too quiet for me.  But if you have read books like ‘The thief lord’ you’ll know the yearning my heart felt to visit Venice.


Transportation

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The Venice airport was a small plain airport. You step out of the airport and you can board an airport bus (ATVO”Venezia Express” bus) that’ll take you to Piazzale Roma for €8.00 one way.

From Piazzale Roma you need to catch a water bus (Vaporetto) till Piazza San Marco.

The Vaporetto leaves every 10 minutes, so don’t worry about missing one. The Vaporettos are mostly crowded so don’t be overwhelmed. The people are usually friendly and will be glad to help you out. The tickets cost around €6.00.

If you are heading to San Marco, there are three main stops you can get down at:

San Zaccaria (A little far from the square. Takes a short 10 minutes walk through the bridges to get to the square.)

2. San Marco Giardinetti

3. San Marco Vallaresso

Follow this link to know more about the stops:

http://www.venice.nu/maps/vaporettostops-bigmap/


Weather

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I was a little flustered as this was one of my first few trips alone and the weather was confusing me. It was raining cats and dogs. I was drenched head to toe along with my bag while we struggled to find our hotel. Now looking at it, it’s quite easy. You just need to know every street or calle as they call it, will have directional arrows on the wall.

The next morning the sun was shining bright and it was much better to walk through the streets. Although the rain had its own charm.


Stay

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There are plenty of stay options available on Booking.com. We stayed somewhere close to the square so that we could walk around and see more yet go home take a break when or legs gave up.

We stayed at Residenza Ca’ San Marco at San Marco.

https://www.booking.com/hotel/it/residenza-ca-san-marco.en-gb.html?aid=355028;sid=4135c48d27d431a121233385ba6d9ddc

The rooms were elegantly decorated in a Venetian style with luxurious wallpaper and either wood or carpeted floors. Our room was not that big but it was good and neat for two people.

Unimportant fact: The guy at the table looked like Hugh Laurie and even had similar sense of humor.

Important tip: Summer is tourist season in Venice. You’ll see the place flooded with tourists from cruise ships. The place is crowded so the earlier you book, better are your chances to find a place for good rate. If you do not want to stay in the centre, you can also stay at quieter places like San Polo.


Things to do and see

1. Visit Piazza San Marco

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This is the equivalent to Times Square. Enclosing the square is:

1. Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica)

You can find the opening hours and fee prices here:

http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/informazioni-per-i-turisti/orari-di-apertura/?lang=en

There is always a huge line to enter this Basilica so you might want to book in advance or get there early. This Basilica is absolutely beautiful with its luminous mosaics and domes, its worth the wait in the huge line.

2. Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace)

You can find the opening hours and fee prices here:

http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/informazioni-per-i-turisti/orari-di-apertura/?lang=en

This venetian gothic style palace is a feast to the eyes. The place is adorned with its lavish sculptures and marble decorations. The Doge’s Palace was the heart of the political life and public administration of the Venetian Republic.

3. Campanile

St Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, located in the Piazza San Marco. You can spot this easily!

4. Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower)

The Tower and its large Astronomical Clock is an integral part of the square. Stairways (steep and narrow) inside the building give access to the terrace on the roof, passing the clock mechanism on the way.

5. Piazzetta San Giovanni XXIII.

This is an open space on the north side of the church named after the two marble lions

6. Procuratie and Ala Napoleonica

The Napolean wing was built by the French 1810. The building is a copy of the Procuratie Nuove except for the cornice, crowned by a cast of Roman emperors; the empty spot at the centre was meant to hold a statue of Napoleon.

7. Museo Correr and Museo del Risorgimento

You can find the opening hours and fee prices here:

http://correr.visitmuve.it/en/home/

8. The Church of San Moisè

The Chiesa di San Moisè is a Baroque style, Roman Catholic church in the city centre. The entry is free and its only open from Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30am.

2. Buy a Venetian mask from Alberto Sarria

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You’ll find venetian masks in the form of key chains, fridge magnets and lockets everywhere. But if you want to get your hands on the traditional handmade carnival mask, head to Alberto Sarria at San Polo. Prices start from as less as €20.00.

http://www.masksvenice.com/

3. Walk by the Rialto Bridge in the evening

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You cannot get tired of walking in Venice really. Each corner has a surprise. How much ever you are well versed with Venice, you are bound to discover wonderful places. Literally you don’t know whats around the corner. If the view isn’t pleasing enough, you will be occasionally delighted to hear the gondola drivers/gondoliers sing as they pass by.  One passed by us singing ‘That’s Amore’ and I was instantly in love. The Rialto bridge is beautiful in the evening with lights from the restaurants on the side reflecting on the water. You can sit by and enjoy our dinner by the canal.

I did see few rats run across but I guess that’s something you cannot help. I can overlook that for the place.

 

4. Take a picture of the water sign boards

Gondola_sign_Venice_03

It’s not everyday that you see water traffic sign boards. Also a better way of telling you are in Venice on social media.

5. Take a trip to the colorful islands of Burano and Murano

Burano,_scorcio.jpg

This was the highlight of my trip. This fascinating boat trip in Venice islands offers you a Murano, Burano and Torcello half-day sightseeing tour without taking too much time away from visiting Venice: this Venice lagoon trip has, in fact, a total duration of four hours and includes short stops on all three islands. A pleasant and economical way to make a trip to Burano, Murano and Torcello, departing from the central San Marco Square.  We booked ours on Viator for as less as $22.

https://www.viator.com/Venice-attractions/Venice-Islands-tours-tickets/d522-a77?pref=02

6. Visit the Libreria Acqua Alta

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This is one of the most eclectic bookstores I have seen. The books are literally stuffed in every gap and space you can see. Due to Venice’s constant flooding however, these picturesque piles are all placed inside bathtubs, waterproof bins, and in one room a full-size gondola. The name itself even means “Library of High Water.” Lots of stray cats can be found here as well. If you are kind enough to feed few. They have a gondola full of books inside. They have even converted a pile f damaged books into stairs.

Address: Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa

7. Grab a drink at Hard Rock

Hard_Rock_Cafe,_Venice_@_Night_(3501014920)

You can skip this if you want, but I loved how they incorporated Ventian flavours into this place. Don’t miss the handmade glass chandelier hanging in the center of the restaurant made from the famous Murano glass factory. You can also grab a drink at Cantina Azienda Agricola or other places in the square.

8. Buy Venchi chocolates from Venchi Cioccolato

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I honestly didn’t know about Venchi till I came back home and an Italian friend gave me Venchi chocolates. Their store was right next to our hotel and I always walked past without entering. Until the last day when we made a pit stop to buy some chocolates for home. They were delicious and smooth. It’s the Leonidas of Italy.


Other random things to do at Venice:

1. We had a lot of time in hand so we walked the stretch till Arsenale. It’s refreshing to see little green in Venice, so the garden was quite nice. Its nothing special but you can sit down there and read a book. This area has less tourists and hence its a bit more quiet than the square.

2. If you stay till long at San Marco square, you’ll be mesmerised by the music that fills the air in the night. From street musicians to quintets, the night is enlivened by them. I found the restaurants a little bit too expensive, but you don’t have to pay to stand and listen to the bands.

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3. Here is a list of free wi-fi spots incase you lose your way:

http://www.wificafespots.com/wifi/city/IT–Venice

4. If you are interested in contemporary art you can visit the Venice Biennale. Follow this link for the calendar.

http://www.labiennale.org/en/calendar/


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