My Week in Italy: Enjoying Venice
From Florence to Venice
As with most of our long distance trips in Italy, we relied on taking trains. Most of the time the trains were on time or at most late a few minutes. On our last morning in Florence, we boarded a train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella station to Venice's Santa Lucia station.
Do note that there is another train station called Venice Mestre. Do not stop at this station as it is located on the mainland and not in the Venice lagoons which is spread over 118 small islands. Once the train passes by the Mestre station you will realise that the tracks are surrounded by water. It is then that you will truly feel the amazing wonders of Venice!
Beautiful Venetian Masks for Sale
Shopping for Venetian Masks at Lista di Spagna
At the train station, there is a tourist information centre but beware! This is the first tourist information centre that I have been to where maps are not free. However, advice is free. So, if you have directions to your hotel, you can save some Euros and get a free map at your hotel instead. That was what we did and we walked pass Lista di Spagna where there are many shops selling Venetian masks and other souvenirs. We carried on walking and reached Strada Nuova where there are lots of patisseries, bars and cafes. After crossing a few bridges, we soon reached Hotel Malibran.
The Basilica Santa Maria della Salute
From Dorsoduro to Basilica Santa Maria della Salute
After a quick lunch at the Malibran Restaurant, we then crossed the famous Rialto bridge and explored the Dorsoduro area.This is a less touristy area therefore there are less crowds. You can slowly explore the small narrow streets which Venice is famous for. Look out for the University Ca' Foscari which is located in this quarter. As you walk, you will come across many gelaterias. Choose one or more flavours and get yourself a delicious gelato!
From Dorsudoro, we slowly made our way to the edge of the Venice lagoon where the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute stands. Unlike many other churches in Venice, entry into this church is free. We were lucky to come upon a mass at 4pm on a Friday. However, due to timing issues, we could not make it for the free music performances held on Friday afternoons and Saturday evenings at this church.
At a Gelateria
Venice in the Night
At night, Venice is still very much alive. Besides the many cafes and bars, you can attend music performances. Just ask your hotel concierge for a list. Vivaldi's works are commonly performed here.
On the other hand, if you wish to try your luck at gambling, head to the casino. It is located near Strada Nuova and is open till 2am. Entrance fee is 10 Euros but this amount is also part of your betting pool.
Nativity Display in Venice
Piazza San Marco: Where Pigeons Gather
The next morning, we headed out to Piazza San Marco where you can visit the Basilica di San Marco (St Mark's Basilica) and the Palazzo Ducale (Doges' Palace). If you would like to visit Palazzo Ducale, do book online in order to avoid queueing. Around the square, it is impossible to miss the sight of flocks of pigeons. They are everywhere!
Next, we decided to visit the Museo della Musica (Museum of Music) located at Campo San Maurizio. There is a good collection of instruments and if you are a fan of Vivaldi, you can also learn more about his life through the informational boards in the museum. Personally, walking around this museum stirred in me a desire to pick up a string instrument! Maybe someday....
By boat to airport?
Time flew and soon our short visit to Venice was going to end. When I first asked the hotel concierge about the best way to reach Marco Polo airport, he suggested taking a Alilaguna water bus to the airport. My first reaction was WOW! It sounded so cool and by taking the water bus, we would have to lug our luggage for a much shorter distance. So on our last day, we headed out to the Rialto stop and purchased our tickets. As of early December 2011, it costs 15 Euros per person, one way. It was indeed a ride to be remembered as after leaving the Venice lagoons, the boat was surrounded by mist and the driver had to rely on signs to guide him all the way to the airport. All in all the journey was about 35-40 minutes!
Once we reached the airport pier, we only had to walk for a few minutes to the airport 's departure area. And so, we said goodbye to Venice and said hello to Paris!
Unique Atmosphere of Venice
More info on Europe
- Day 6 in Paris: Opera, Perfume and Fashion!
- Day 5 in Paris: From St Germain to Champs Elysees
- Day 4 in Paris: From Marais to the Bastille
- Day 3 near Paris: Visiting Versailles
- Day 2 in Paris: Exploring Montmartre, Champs Elysees...
- Day 1 in Paris: The Louvre and More...
- My Week in Italy: Rome
- My Week in Italy: Florence
- My Week in Italy: Pisa