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2 full days in Venice, how would you spend them?

2 full days in Venice, how would you spend them?

Sep 3rd, 2009, 08:39 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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2 full days in Venice, how would you spend them?

Hi, we (myself 29/fiance 25) are leaving for our 14 night honeymoon in Greece (Athens/Mykonos/Santorini) and Italy (Rome/Venice) on September 21.

We still need to plan our last 2 days in Venice. We are arriving Friday evening and therefore we will have full day Saturday/full day Sunday to vist Venice as we are leaving Monday am.

We are not that much into churches/museums, but we like people watching/walking around/taking pictures, etc.

Any ideas on how to plan our 2 days (in detail if possible as we are never able to make decisions and if we don't have a plan, we will end up asking ourselfs what to do all day long and do nothing....)

I know it depends on everyone, but if you could tell me how YOU would spend the 2 days (detailed), then I can pick and choose from everyone's suggestions to what appeals to us....

Dinner/lunch ideas (restaurants/locations) would also be great.

Thanks again, everyone! This site has been such a great help!
alpinemccain is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 09:16 AM
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My wife and I spent two days in Venice a few years ago. The first day we took the water bus from the train station to St. Marks square, thus getting a good look at the Grand Canal, toured the Doge's palace, and then walked around in St. Marks church around noon, the time they light it up. After this we had lunch and wondered around aimlessly, enjoying everything very much, and ended at the Guggenheim museum. The second day we walked from the train station to St. Marks (aided by a pocket compass), and then went to the Academy museum. Most of our time was spent walking around almost totally lost. I like this kind of travel, my wife tolerates it.

Apart from the usual guide books, you might like reading A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich. You'll get the city's history in an enjoyable form, and you'll also get a good description of Venetian neighborhoods, churches, and interesting buildings. Another book you might like is a mystery set in Venice, Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin.
sjj is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 09:26 AM
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A lot of my recommendations would involve churches and museums, but given your preferences, I will omit those.

Nevertheless, I think you might enjoy the museum of Basilica San Marco as it allows you to have access to the balcony that overlooks Piazza San Marco. From there you can take great photos of the Piazza, the Doge's Palace, and the lagoon toward San Giorgio Maggiore.

For panoramic photos of Venice, either go to the top of the Campanile (which I understand may be under construction) or to the top of the campanile at San Giorgio Maggiore (which would give you a view looking toward Venice, not just a view down).

Many people claim that the following experiences are overpriced, and they are, somewhat. However, I think the uniqueness of the experience makes up for the price:

1) A gondola ride (especially for honeymooners!)
2) Drinks at Harry's Bar (especially Bellinis)
3) Coffee/drinks/snacks at one of the iconic cafes on Piazza
San Marco, preferably while the orchestra is playing (I
enjoyed Florian, but there is also Quadri.)

If you would enjoy being very "proper," in beautiful surroundings, afternoon tea at the Hotel Danieli is fun.

Take a circular vaporetto ride down the Grand Canal around the Giudecca. You can see lots of Venice from the water inexpensively.
Delaine is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 09:38 AM
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Venice is truly magical! Essentially, it is composed of three main islands. Do you know on which you will be staying for your brief visit? It is a city of 400+ bridges and is surrounded by water. It has the most enjoyable public transportation system anywhere; the vaporetti circumnavigate Venice; use them to get around to the various of the six districts which make up Venice. If you don't enter a church or museum, you'll enjoy just wandering in Venice. One of my favorite pastimes is just walking along the fondamenta, the walkways along a canal where one can get the clearest sense of the waterways. Don't miss the Palazzo Ducale nor a walk to the top of the Campanile. Savor ALL that is Venice. You'll want to return after you get your first taste of this heavenly destination.
chocobon is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 09:46 AM
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We have been to Venice three times. All three times were three nights, two full days.
The Secrets Itineraries tour of the Doges Palace gives a lot of background on Venice. An uninterrupted 1,000 years of relatively peaceful times, democratic government, etc.
We also went on house tours of both Ca Rezzonica and Ca D'or. These are restored palaces along the grand canal. They do have art displayed inside, but I went primarily to see the houses. The balconies at Ca Do'r provide a nice vantage point for photos of and along the grand canal. There would be no need for you to do both, one should suffice. They had construction scaffolding on the front of Ca Rezzonico when we were there.
The area around the Rialto bridge. The bridge, the market and the Rue de Vins (a wharf turned into restaurant row) are good photo spots.

The quay/wharf between the dosoduro and the main shipping channel (not the grand canal) is a nice place to walk (15 to 20 feet wide and relatively long).

Go to St Marks square.

Ride/ cruise the Grand Canal. You can do it by water taxi ($) or by vaporetto (less $). We have never done it by water taxi, but the vaporetto seem to be a little too crowded for a serious photographer.

You are going to walk around alot. Venice is a combination of living museum and real city. All the buildings are hundreds or a thousand years old, but they have department stores and grocery stores.
Big_Red is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 08:18 PM
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Further to Big_Red's suggestions of Ca' d'Oro and Ca' Rezzonico...

Although Ca' d'Oro has great canal views from the upstairs outdoor terrace, its interior feels completely like a museum, so it's hard to visualize it as a private residence. The only exception (to me) were the canalside entry doors and the roomless lower floor, roomless because the water washes in and out during acqua alta. That was interesting to see, and the stone mosaic floor is spectacular.

Ca' Rezzonico retains its palace roots, and some rooms are furnished as residential spaces. But visitors are required to move through the rooms in a proscribed route, and you can't pick and choose what you want to see or backtrack. When we were there (October, no scaffolding), all of the canalside windows were covered with heavy drapes, so no canal views. There is a small but lovely (and rare) garden behind the palazzo. There is a small cafe on the entry level. We only had coffee and a pastry; I don't remember what other, if any, food is offered.

In some ways more interesting to me was the Peggy Guggenheim house which is very modest in scale but familiar (to Americans, at least) in its layout and how Peggy lived in it. Her collection is entirely 20th C., not all of which appealed to me but was interesting as part of the ambiance of the house.

Wherever you go during the day, be sure to spend time on Piazza San Marco in the evening.
Jean is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 09:55 PM
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We spent a while in Venice, and this might give you some ideas. It's rather long.

Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 10:46 PM
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You should definitely plan to spend one evening listening to the quartets in Piazza San Marco. It is absolutely magical at night. Just walking around Venice at night is a treasure. In the afternoon, have a Bellini overlooking the Grand Canal at the Monaco. Take a gondola ride, but skip the small canals. We have visited Venice four times, and have enjoyed every moment there. Have a wonderful honeymoon!
cybertraveler is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 03:10 AM
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A lot of GREAT advice, thanks so much. What time/days do the quartets usually perform?
alpinemccain is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 03:12 AM
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By the way we are staying at the Hilton
alpinemccain is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 03:13 AM
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what would be the easiest way to get to the hilton from the train station? we will arive around 9pm (if we stop in Florence for the day) or 1pm if we don't which would give us another day in Venice
alpinemccain is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 04:34 AM
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The easiest, water taxi, expensive but it's your honeymoon.
kappa1 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 05:33 AM
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> we like ... /walking around/taking pictures, etc.

Venice is a photographers' wet dream. Main tourist sites or narrow streets, your just will not stop taking pictures if that's what you like. Also for photot chances, take the lift to the top of the campanile at Piazza St.Marco. Even better take the boat to St.Georgio Island and climb the campanille there. Not nearly as crowded + the view is as great or some say better.

It's a little bit pity you stay on Giudecca Island. That would somehow limit your time to walk around the main part of Venice at night after the day crowd is gone. Still that's something you should try to do. One of the good things you can do on Giudecca is walk on the water front from the hotel towards St.Georgio if possible at sunset (or anytime) watching the main Venice, Zattere Quay, Salute Church, etc. You could make it a very romantic honeymoon walk. I once had a lunch on the terrace of the quay, cheap daily special for about €10 (that you will never get at Hilton) consisted of salad + main with THAT glorious view. You can never have it so cheap on the main Venice.
kappa1 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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alpinemccain, the bands (not mere quartets) play every evening on Piazza San Marco. The only time I've seen the musicians standing around, not playing, was when there was acqua alta and their performance area was partially under water!
Jean is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 04:51 PM
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If I were going to Venice & did not want to visit any churches & museums (which I have done with my DH & adult DS), I would tour as listed below.

Another issue is whether to get lost or not to get lost in Venice. If you & your mate do not enjoy wandering aimlessly, but instead like to know where you are, what you are seeing, maximize your time, etc., get a good map & mark your sites before you leave. (The tourist maps given by the hotels name the churches, but not the streets.) I did so & we did not get lost, which is the way we prefer it. I purchased ($10) the Freytag & Brendt (sp?) Venice map from a local map store; some bookstores have them also; can also find them online. In our experiences, this map listed every street, plus the vaporetto (water buses) stops & the routes. There are other good maps, but I've not used them.

Another opinion, if you don't mind - even if you do not like to take photos and/or are not good at such, take lots of photos in Venice. Hopefully you will have a digital camera - just keep clicking away. I love our photo memories! BTW, you might research in advance about the 'Lions of Venice' & watch for them along the way.

Our favorite non-church/museum places -
1. the Rialto market - we saw fish "creatures" we had never seen before. The veggie & fruit colors give great photos. We loved the local feel of the market & the cats & dogs wandering around the stalls & birds perched on & pecking the grapes.

2. You may want to budget for an all too costly gondola ride. We took a cheaper daytime shared ride, but this is your honeymoon!

3. Visit San Marco Square at night & have a romantic free dance between the dueling bands & in the light of the beautiful basillica.

4. Get out of the tourist areas -
A. Walk to & thru the St. Elena district. This is our favorite area. It is a local residence area & we found little resting parks & the most gorgeous tree lined street with the Grand Canal at it's end. There are many out of the way places to sit & ponder your surroundings & life to come. If you think you are interested, I'll give you the directions.

B. Walk to Fondamenta Nove from St. Mark's. It is a lovely walk thru residential areas & small local businesses (yummy bakery). Need the map to do this, IMO.

C. Walk to & around the Ghetto area & have lunch at an outside cafe. Can do this on the way to or from F.Nove.

D. Spend some time in one of the Venetian groceries. We enjoyed seeing the "different" food offerings & prices.

5. Visit a glass retail shop & mask retail shop. The products are beautiful - art without a museum.

6. Stroll down Mercerie & gasp at the prices of the fashions in the store windows.

7. View the gondola repair shop. Visiting is not allowed, but photo op is great & we thought it was fascinating to see. It first opened in the 17th century & the wooden structure (rare in Venice) next to it is the residence of the current generations of the founding family. North of the Zattere (the wide walkway that runs alongside the Giudecca Canal in Dorsoduro); lies next to the Church of San Trovaso on the narrow Rio San Trovaso (not far from the Accademia Bridge); can observe from across the narrow Rio di San Trovaso.

8. You could take a trip to Murano & Burano, but with only 2 days, I'd devote both to Venice.

9. From F.Nove, we always take the short vaporetto ride to the Cemetery Island (Cimitero). But most would not do so. We like the history (some tombstones so old they are in Roman numerals). There is also a non-Italian section which we found fascinating. The crypts are art forms with stained glass & statues. The Italians are attentive to their departed loved ones & almost all of the sites are covered with bright flowers. Of course, we are very respectful of the locals; photos only if no one is around. I'm assuming this will not be your cup of tea on a honeymoon, but it's our list.

Hope some of this info is helpful to you.

Enjoy your trip, Julie
p.s. our favorite eating spot is Ostia Tana behind the Naval Museum. It is a small place; has outside & inside seating; the plateful of spagetti with meat sauce is too much to eat & last time (Nov 2008) was about 10 euros. And the folks are so nice.

p.s. Sorry, I'm started watching tv so I didn't review this long post.
JulieAgain is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 06:09 AM
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after 8 week long visits the last 10 years,
FORGET a gondola ride, WAY over rated
FORGET Harry's bar, way too expensive

just take walks everyday and "discover" in every district
do a different district everyday and of course see the major "must see" sights
CUFFLNX is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 09:28 PM
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Venice is magical at dawn (great time for photographers to be out and about !) when there is no crowd and in the evening when most of the day tourists have left. During the day time it's way too crowded for my taste. My favorite time was just hanging out at St. Mark square in the evening and listening the the dueling orchestras.

For couples, especially for honeymooners, I would say go ahead and splurge on a gondola ride. Do the evening one if you can. It's such an iconic thing to do, and you're most likely not planning to return to Venice anytime soon so just do it.
Axel2DP is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 07:58 AM
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WOW, thanks everyone! Great post Julieagain!

How much are the gondola rides and where do you take it?
alpinemccain is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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Whenever you walk near a canal or water around the St. Mark Square area you're bound to encounter one or more charming gondoliers trying to entice passerby to get a gondolar ride.

The price in 2004 was about 62E for 50-minutes ride during the day and 77-105E from 20:00 and after. If there's a singer and accordionist involed then about 88E during the day and 98E after 20:00.

...Or you can spend about 0.40E for a nightime ferry ride down the Grand Canal instead on the slow boat #1

Again the prices I'm quoting are from a 2004 guide book. I figure the prices are higher in 2009.
Axel2DP is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 10:53 AM
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Interested in your "Walk to & thru the St. Elena district. This is our favorite area. It is a local residence area & we found little resting parks & the most gorgeous tree lined street with the Grand Canal at it's end. There are many out of the way places to sit & ponder your surroundings & life to come. If you think you are interested, I'll give you the directions. "

We are leaving in one week. Would love to get your directions.
kenav is offline  

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