A few hours in Venice

Feb 6th, 2012, 03:38 AM
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A few hours in Venice

Hi, I plan to travel from Paris by train In the evening and arrive Venice by morning. I don't plan to spend the night and I simply plan to get a glimpse of the place and take a train ride to Rome in the afternoon. I have limited amount of time but I decided I can't miss out on Venice even if it's just a gondola ride.

What do you people think?
Sheryn6 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 03:49 AM
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We did spend just an afternoon in Venice four years ago. Walking around the narrow streets of Venice along its canals, going to Piazza San Marco and visiting the cathedral, and a short gondola ride would certainly give you the feel of Venice. You would be able to do this in a few hours, and maybe even have time for a quick plate of pasta in one of its many small lovely restaurants!

For our family it was enough, so try not to skip Venice if you are anywhere near!!!
Anna_Galea is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 03:50 AM
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yeah, why not I would actually say not to plan to do anything other than visit St Mark's square. I think the best part of venice is simply strolling the narrow lanes, and the further from the bridge central point I think thew more unique it becomes. You can stop for lunch when somewhere catches your eye and then for gelato too. Have a great time
HG001London is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 05:44 AM
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You might want to cross the bridge across the canal as you exit the train station (as heading off to the left leading to Strada Nova is more commercial and less intimate). You can just follow the yellow signs to Rialto & San Marco, but if you have a map you might instead want to head toward Frari church, which is a real gem (closed in August). If you have a good chunk of time, you could then walk through San Polo and Dorsoduro toward Accademia, which is a bit more "real Venice" and far less touristed than heading straight to Rialto. Crossing the bridge at Accademia can then take you to Rialto, where you can get the views from the bridge, before following the packed ant-lanes to San Marco. From San Marco, it would be really worth taking a vaporetto all the way down the Grand Canal back to the train station (vaporetto #2 is quicker than #1 because it makes far fewer stops - - just be sure you find the right platform for the #2 that goes down the Grand Canal to the station, not other directions). If you are leery about the amount of time you have, start backwards, and take the vaporetto straight to San Marco, and then wander back to the station!
dfourh is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 06:14 AM
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Thank you all for the swift responses.

Another question, do you think I could squeeze in a trip to the Museum or that wouldn't be practical?
Sheryn6 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 06:29 AM
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You will need to store your luggage at the train station. Be sure to allow enough time to retrieve it as sometimes there are lines.
kybourbon is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 06:29 AM
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Ok, but not a gondola ride! That's certainly the worst way of spending your only afternoon in one of this planet's most interesting cities as far as architecture and art and history (and atmosphere). You have to be aware that riding a gondola is tourists-only stuff of the very lowest order, while some of the best art and architecture that you're ever going to see in your whole life is lurking just around the corner.
franco is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 06:41 AM
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@ Kybourbon the problem of where to leave my luggage never occurred to me! Thank you so much for bringing it up.

@ Franco, a 20-minute gondola ride wouldn't hurt don't you think? But I'm definitely more interested in the history and architecture of Venice.
Sheryn6 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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90% of the people who spend only 1 day in Venice end up hating it. Do not bother if you cannot stay at least 2 nites.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 06:58 AM
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<<<<<90% of the people who spend only 1 day in Venice end up hating it.

Though that's if they do the main tourist haul, which is worse than Disney (and is often done in a large group behind a guide holding high a pink umbrella). Off the beaten path is still magic.
dfourh is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 07:19 AM
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I think month has a great deal to do with how satisfactory thiss will be for you. If it is mid-July through mid-September, not so much simply because of the human crush in some places. Before or after, it is a long way out of your way for a day, but if you follow dfourh's "reverse" route, you will experience some of the best.

The first time I went to Rome it was only a day and two nights, and I remember every single thing I did in great detail, something not necessarily true of other, more leisurely trips.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 08:14 AM
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I did something similar to what the OP wants to do last September. I arrived on a Sunday morning at Venice Santa Lucia train station to find a long line at the "left luggage" desk, maybe a half hour long. Since I had given myself only four hours or so in Venice(!), I decided just to drag my two carry-ons with me.

Venice on this warm, sunny Sunday afternoon was a circus: lines and crowds everywhere near the train station. I considered taking a vaporreto waterbus but even those had long lines just to buy tickets. I wound up dragging my bags over to the Ghetto neighborhood which was almost completely quiet.

Fortunately, I had spent several nights in Venice on previous trips, so I knew how magical it can be. I kind of wish I hadn't bothered with this re-visit though and stopped somewhere else off the train.
Andrew is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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I went to Rome Florence and then Venice and it just got better and better, as in I liked Florence more than Rome and Venice more than Florence. I don't think that an afternoon is enough having been entirely enchanted by Venice. I agree with Franco on the gondola front, complete waste of time and money, if you want to see the canals take a vaporetto (water bus). Same views, less of the eye wateringly expensive price tag - 80 euros for 40mins. Another compromise is taking the traghetto.
AnilaB is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 09:33 AM
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To which museum are you referring (wondering if you had enough time to visit)? I don't think I would trade time on such a short trip for a visit to any museum in Venice. In fact, I only visited the Accademia on my second trip to Venice, and my first trip was 3 days-long.

I know many posters here do not like gondole. I, however, have taken a gondola ride on each of my 3 trips to Venice. Yes, it is expensive, and yes it could be considered "touristy," but I am, after all, a tourist. Personally, I like to keep the gondola rides to the narrower back canals with only a brief portion of the Grand Canal. You can't see these canals and rios, from the water anyway, unless you are in a gondola or a water taxi. If you want to take a gondola ride, by all means, take 30 minutes and do it.

You could walk around Piazza San Marco and go in the Basilica, if the line is not too long. For a less crowded area (on the same side of the Grand Canal), I liked Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo. The impressive church of the same name is located there, and you could pop in for a gelato at Rosa Salva. I would also recommend Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (across the Grand Canal). The Frari has fine artwork, including a Titian and Bellini and the tomb of Canova.
Delaine is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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The first thing DH and I did after offloading our luggage in our hotel was take the VAP down the Grand Canal. I went through at least one roll of film (it was a pre-digital time). Someone else can help you with the actual vap number. There's also one that goes all the way around-not sure how long it would take.

This was in March so not so many tourists. What month are you traveling?
TDudette is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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The first time i went to venice i do was not a massive fan when i was there and hated how touristy it seemed, but on the way home we had to get up very early and walk through dead silent empty little lanes and to a VAP stop where we waited for half an hour with a gorgeous view of the grand canal, as we waited the locals were starting to wake up, not tourists, just the locals...hanging washing, sweeping lanes, taking their little boats out ready for a day on the water. We then took the VAP and were the only ones on for a while....the sun was rising and it was really pretty, calm and 0% touristy. That visit to venice was part of a 10 day Italy trip and that one memory for some reason always stuck in my head as one of my fondest, i can visualise it now.

i have since been back and made the decision to not plan anything. We stayed in the santa polo area on calle de l'Agnelia and spent along time just wondering around stopping at little coffee shops, crossed over little bridges, ate in the little places and had a lovely time and it seemed far less touristy. Ok so there were of course tourists but by wondering around the non-core-central sights was really nice, as it gets much quieter and the best food we ate were in those areas not St marks or by the Rialto. We did of course at one point cross over the rialto and walk through St marks square (which is worth seeing!!) but the things i think about are sitting by a tiny church, with a group of nuns next to me, or watching some older men play cards, visiting a restaurant by the outer waters looking over to guidecca island, or buying ice-cream from little places the locals used.

Venice is an amazing amazing place....go for it, if even for a few hours
HG001London is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 11:20 AM
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To me the #1 thing to do in all of Europe and not just Venice is to take a boat ride down the Grand Canal - Venice's main street - do it by public boats that serve as buses in Venice - the parade of ancient facades of old palazzos silently slip by - hinting back to Venice's time as one of the world's most opulent and wealthy cities.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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Hopefully you have at least six or seven hours; yes, the queue to drop luggage at the station sometimes can be daunting - - but do it anyways (and maybe walk to the far front of the train before it pulls in!); and the queues waiting for the vaporetto can be huge if you want to take the canal ride first - - but consider taking the vapo ONE stop the OPPOSITE direction, to Piazzale Roma, then re-boarding there - - some people even hold off boarding a full boat to be first onto the next boat at P.le Roma and get one of those nice seats up front; and HG001London's experiences and ideas are indeed the best of Venice - - though it's hard to contemplate not going where everybody else seems to be going on your first visit, it will be worthwhile.
dfourh is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 10:03 PM
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I'm taking notes over here. I've been researching your suggestions and certainly dfourh's and HG001London's itineraries seem suitable for me even if it's just a few hour stay in Venice. I'll be going in October, would Venice be packed during that time?
Sheryn6 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 10:07 PM
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Yes, Venice will probably still be busy in October. I'm not sure it has much of an off-season - just busy and REALLY busy times.
Andrew is offline  

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