Day trip to Venice

Jun 19th, 2003, 03:46 PM
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Day trip to Venice

I know some of you will be appalled by this but I plan on spending 1 day (yes 1 day!) in Venice in September. We will be training in from Florence in the morning and returning in the evening.

I'm looking for suggestions on the "must do" things in Venice. We'll have our two children with us (10 & 7) and it will be the first time there for all of us.

Please don't respond with "you can't possibly see Venice in 1 day". I know that. But what CAN we see in 1 day?

Thanks, Pumblechook.
Pumblechook is offline  
Jun 19th, 2003, 03:55 PM
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You know what I think I'd do? Just wander around the maze of little streets and canals. Just sort of stumble upon nooks and crannies. Truly. J.
Jun 19th, 2003, 03:56 PM
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oops, sorry, Pumblechook. Maybe not with two little ones. I'm sure someone else can help you structure your day. Have a wonderful time.
Jun 19th, 2003, 04:15 PM
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I will not tell you that you are making a mistake....but you are.

Having said that: One thing you can do with kids is to simply get on the vaporetto at any stop and stay on the boat. Ride it through all the route. Take the main one that does the grand canal. You will be able to work yourself to a great bow seat as people get off at various stops. Then just sit down and get the tour of the area for a little while. People watching from the bow is great!

After that, I agree with the above. Just wander the town and have fun exploring. The kids may enjoy going up in the tower in St Marks to get a great view of the city. You will probably want to see the basilica and do a Doges Palace tour. are out of time and have to depart. Not good planning for Venice, but you will find this out in September.
Bob1 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2003, 06:53 PM
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How funny, my family will also be spending one day in Venice in July. I got the usual "You'll regret it..." We have a 14 year old and 16 year old, and have decided to stay at the Hotel American because the location will help our lack of time. I'll let you know in early August how we fared! Wish us luck.
Meg42 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 04:47 AM
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I for one certainly do wish you a wonderful day, Meg42 and P'. I've found that a one night stay with a taste of magic often brings you back for longer stays in future. And if that is not possible, well a special day in Venice is better than no day in Venice. I look forward to reports from both of you, as I am so addicted to Switzerland that I have not even been to Venice yet! There are sooo many places to experience; I hope my bones hold out. J.
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:04 AM
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I am not appalled; I like adventure in any time frame available! Find a good map and study it. There are good ones in the DK guide books, but MapEasy's Guidemap to Venice will give you a good base also. Ride the vaperetto all the way from the train station to San Marco. They will probably enjoy the pigeons. Then, first thing, find the McDonald's that is near San Marco, so you will know where bathrooms are! Don't waste time standing in line to see things like the Doge's Palace on such a short time span. Of course, if there are no lines, the Bascilica and the Palace are both fun to see. At the Rialto Bridge, there is a good market where the children might find souvenirs that they want, like Italian soccer jerseys and glass necklaces and rings. The sites of Venice are Venice herself! The children will probably love a gondola ride. Across the Accademia Bridge, right to the left of the last step is a good place to get easy lunch while sitting on the canal. Try that. Be sure to be on the way back to the train station before time for your train to leave. It is fun just to lose yourself in Venice, but not when you are trying to catch a train!
marty is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:07 AM
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Oops, forgot. They will love going in mask shops, and there are some amazing toy shops along the main shopping streets. There is also a McDonald's for bathrooms near the Rialto. When it is time to rest, just veer off the main streets, and you will quickly come into some almost empty campo where you can sit around a closed center well that appears in almost every one and rest for a bit.
marty is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:09 AM
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Hi Pumble,

I also will not tell you that you are making a mistake, but do urge you to consider staying overnight.

The first direct train is at 6:45 and arrives 10:14. The next is the ES* at 8:38, arriving at 11:27.

The last direct train back is 18:33. You will be spending about 6 hours on the train in order to spend 7 hours in Venice.

If you must do this, I also suggest a Vaporetto ride. Take the #1 from the train station to Lido. About 40 min.

Wander about for a bit. Take the #1 from Lido to San Zaccaria. About 15 min.

Visit St Marks Square. Play with the pigeons.

Walk up to the Rialto Bridge. About one hour. Cross the Bridge to the Market area. Buy souveniers.

Cross back over the bridge and walk up to the train station. About 1 hr (or less). If you have time visit the Ghetto.

Make sure to have lunch somewhere.

Alternative: Leave Venice for another trip, when you can spend a few days, and visit either Bologna (1 hr)or Orvieto (1 1/2 hr) for the day.
ira is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:16 AM
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Not ideal, but not the worst thing you'll have ever done.

The train ride across the lagoon is actually pretty cool. If the kids are not already familiar with the ecological features of the lagoon (and similar salt marsh types of places) you can give them a preview at:

You'll arrive at the train station, and so will walk directly out onto the bank of the Grand Canal. Your options will be to walk (along with about 40 bajillion of your closest friends) to the Piazza San Marco, or to take the vaporetto. Take the vaporetto, and try to get a seat outside if the weather's not too hideous, either in the front or the back. Some of the guide books have sightseeing descriptions designed especially for the vaporetto, indicating what you'll see and why it's interesting. If you can get the kids to preview the itinerary they'll then be able to find things they're really interested it.

The number 1 vaporetto makes all the little stops and tends to be crowded. I'd take the 82 (I think that's it) that takes the same route but makes fewer stops (but does hit the big ones). If the crowds for the vaporetto are too large at the station just walk to the next one.

You'll all be hungry for lunch soon. I'd avoid the places near San Marco and along the canal by the Rialto bridge and instead head over to the Zattere for pizza on one of the floating rafts. Great views, and a better deal all around.

You can walk back to San Marco (follow the signs that are posted everywhere) to join the tourist crush where you will already have scheduled a Secret Itineraries tour (I don't have the phone number on hand, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it elsewhere on the forum) of the Doge's palace. The kids will love getting to see the smaller rooms and the stories about Casanova and so forth. There's also some great art in the Doge's Palace, but you'll only get to see a little bit of it before the kids get tired.

Your next stop is ice cream. I'd go to Paolin in Campo S. Stefano---a bit away from the San Marco crush and very good ice cream. Once done you can either head to Rialto bridge to buy some tacky souvenirs or back to San Marco to see the basilica or take the elevator to the top of the tower for a cool view of Venice and the lagoon.

Depending on when your train leaves for Florence you'll have to think about dinner. Restaurants don't open until 7:00, so you'll end up getting sandwiches in a bar/cafe sort of place, most likely on your way back to the station (which you could do on foot, giving you ample opportunity to see lots of Venice).

You'll be back.
Therese is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:27 AM
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wow, those last few posts are so cool, it almost makes me wish I had kids!
Jun 20th, 2003, 12:35 PM
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I really think it's a waste of your time and money--especially travelling all the way from Florence.

Here is what you might see and experience: You will emerge from the station with a horde of backpackers and other daytrippers. Everyone will be quite taken with their first view of the Grand Canal. Then you will follow the herd down Daytrippers' Alley from the station, along Strada Nova, to the Rialto, and on to P. San Marco.

It will be very crowded, people will be strewing their trash along the way, you will see drunken tourists sleeping here and there along the street. This entire route has the worst tourist restaurants, trashiest souvenir shops, and the highest ratio of tourist rip-off scammers in the city. You will see high prices, poor quality. You will see McDonald's.

Now, if you are a very observant person, you will also see interesting architecture, some sights worth seeing hidden behind the tourist oriented signage, and lots of Italian business people smirking at the sheep passing their overpriced shops and restaurants.

Eventually you will get to some of the sights worth seeing in Venice--along with the other mass of tourists in the daytripping horde.

That is the usual fate of the day visitor to Venice. Not always, but more often than not.

If you are lucky, and you arrive at a time when there's not a huge crowd, as others have suggested you can get onto vaporetto 1 or 82 and hopefully find a seat with a view to ride from the train station to P. San Marco. However, it's likely that, when you arrive at the piazza, there will be a lot of people, again putting you into the crowds, and some very long lines to see the most popular sights.

If you were travelling from someplace closer, it would be more worthwhile, but from Florence, unless your children are very very grown up, it could be a less than ideal experience.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 12:48 PM
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If you do a search here on "Paulo Venice" you hopefully will find a posting from a valued Venice expert who once shared his excellent ideas for spending one day in Venice, starting from the train station.
Elsehwere here on, under destinations and then Venice, there might also be a one-day itinerary.

I once incorporated Paulo's suggestions into my long Venice file (with due credit)--if you'd like me to send it, email me at [email protected]
elaine is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 05:49 AM
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Pumblechook: I live about 3 hours from Asheville, and I would think very little of driving there, spending the day, and driving back that night. I have ridden the Florence-Venice train, and it is certainly more restful than driving 3 hours to and from Asheville! You will be very tired at the end of the day, but you will enjoy it. I doubt the crowds will be any bigger than Florence, and I know things will not look as seedy as described here, because I have walked from the St. Lucia-Venice train station to San Marco on the busy route many times, and I only remember that it was always very beautiful. After a few days in Florence, you will love the relative quietness of Venice. Just be sure that you don't get off the train in Mestre which is across the water from Venice!
marty is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 07:22 AM
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I'm hoping you don't mind if I simply copy & paste one of your posts which recaps Paulo's suggestion for one day in Venice >>> (sidenote -- is this the same Paulo of "Paulo's famous walking tour of Siena" fame ???)
* * * * * * * *
Author: elaine
Date: 07/18/2002, 12:31 pm
Message: The following one-day itinerary for Venice first appeared here in July 2000, written by Venice expert Paulo and since annotated by me: "At that time I already knew Venice very well, so I didn't exactly do what 9 out of 10 daytrippers to Venice do: to take #1 vaporetto from the Ferrovia (train station) to San Marco ... Instead, we started our stroll right at the train station. We crossed the bridge over the Grand Canal, strolled through the Sestiere of San Polo, to Campo S. Giacomo dell'Orio and on to Campo San Polo, visiting both churches on the way. (Elaine?s note: The San Polo church has some masterpieces by Tiepolo, Veronese, and Tintoretto.) From there, a stroll to Campo dei Frari (church visit) and Scuola San Rocco (visit). (Elaine?s note: I would skip the Scuola San Rocco, despite the Tintoretto treasures, in fact, I would, reluctantly, not visit any museums if I only had one day in Venice.)

Then on to Dorsoduro, via Campo San Pantalon,Campo Santa Margherita (snack lunch), Campo San Barnaba to the Accademia Museum (no visit), across the Accademia bridge and into the sestiere of San Marco. (Elaine?s note: Before crossing the Accademia Bridge, and depending on the time you have, I would walk farther south into Dorsoduro to visit the Salute Church. Or skip it, wander a bit, and head back to the Accademia Bridge.)

When we got to see the Piazza and Basilica it was almost 3pm!!! (Elaine?s note: if you have time, by all means go to visit the inside of the Basilica and/or the Doge?s Palace in the Piazza.) We got to visit the Basilica, rested and had drinks/coffees at Cafe Florian and went for some shopping. In the evening, we took vaporetto #1 back to the train station."

Elaine's note: the gelati, snacks and drinks at Florian's or at Quadri on the Piazza are not cheap, and there is an extra charge when the band is playing, but you just can't not do this at least once.

See also for another suggested one-day visit. Many guidebooks also have suggestions; also check elsewhere here on, go to the Venice section.

Tess_Durberville is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2003, 10:48 AM
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I encourage to find a good "walking tour" map to follow. Venice is not geographically that large so it *is* possible to hit the highlights in a day.

Normally I'd say hop a vaporetto for good cheap touring, but with kids you might want to spring for that gondola ride!

Have pizza in an outdoor cafe with a view of a canal. Eat gelatto. See San Marcos square & the Rialto Bridge.

Pack a picnic from a grocery store for your train ride back to Florence.
suze is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2003, 01:26 PM
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There is a big supermarket kind of grocery on the main walk back to the train station, very close to the train station. It is along the Strada Nova, and I think it may be a Standa Department store with a grocery inside. The picnic on the train back would be a good idea.
marty is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Don't know if the Basilica of San Marco would be a must-do for a 10 or 7 year old, but I'd say it is for an adult. I would, however, think the kids would love the view from the top of the nearby campanile.

I'd consider riding a vaporetto down the Grand Canal, at least partway, to be a must-do, for people of all ages. Your kids might also really enjoy taking a ride on a traghetto -- very inexpensive gondolas that cross the Grand Canal at about six locations -- since it's customary to stand up in them.
capo is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2003, 05:24 AM
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HI Tess, good job, I'd forgotten I'd posted it, though it has all those MSWord copy and paste punctuation quirks.

Yes, the Paulo who posted that was the same Paulo of Siena walking fame. I believe he was a poster from Brazil.
I've borrowed that information for inclusion in my file as well--it's excellent.
elaine is offline  
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