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Trip Report Venice September 2013

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We had booked three nights in a lovely apartment just a few streets back from St Mark’s Square – La Rosa de Venezia, for anyone who’s interested. Franko from Fodors had written about it, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. Another plus for us was the fact that if you take the vaporetto to St Mark’s Square, there are no bridges to be negotiated between there and the apartment – so much easier when you have luggage in tow.

It’s a large studio that seems more like a one bedroom apartment because of the dividing wall between living and sleeping spaces. There is a tiny Juliet balcony that overlooks a small canal that’s on one of the circuits done by the Gondoliers – we had a continual stream of them passing; occasionally one of them came by complete with accordion player and singer, adding to the fine ambience of the place.

The only negative was that the weather had suddenly turned extremely cold and wet, but we were unable to warm the apartment because the Italian government doesn’t allow home heating to be turned on until 15th October, and this was only 9th!

Our time in Venice was somewhat marred by rain that drizzled down every one of our days in the apartment; negotiating narrow laneways with umbrellas and swarms of people is not particularly pleasant. Away from the crowded iconic sites, Venice has some lovely little piazzas and parks – they are well worth hunting out.

We had stayed overnight in the Hotel Doge before leaving on a two week cruise, then had an overnight stay in Venice in the middle of the cruise, so had been able to get out and see plenty of the city in that time. We liked the St Croce area, it felt more like a place where there were more locals than tourists. The markets there are large and very interesting.

In the Arsenal region there’s a large park space and beautiful tree-lined avenue not far from the Giardini vaporetto stop; being able to stretch out in some open space makes a welcome change from the more traditional tourist areas of the city.

Hotel Doge proved to be an excellent choice for our overnight before the cruise – the bus from the airport dropped us in Piazza Roma almost at the hotel door, and the people mover out to the cruise terminal left from just across the road, so couldn’t have been more convenient. We had a suite in the hotel – very ornate Venetian décor, beautifully comfortable bed and hot showers, so we were happy. The hotel itself looks very ordinary from the outside, but suited us perfectly. The young man at reception recommended places for dinner ‘where the locals eat’; that proved to be great advice, and lead us to a small square that we would have missed completely without his advice.

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