Help with trip to Venice!

Mar 13th, 2007, 10:16 AM
  #1  
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Help with trip to Venice!

Hi everyone,
I am trying to plan a short trip for my boyfriend and myself to Venice at the end of March. We fly in on Ryanair late on Wednesday, and leave late on Monday. Should we spend the whole time in Venice, or try and spend a night in Verona or Padua? Any other day trips, or will we find plenty to do in Venice??? Thank you so much!
mnwinship is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Have either of you been to Venice before? If not, I bet you can find enough to do for abut 4.5 days, especially if you visit some of the other islands like Burano. If you have seen Venice, I would suggest a night in Verona becuase it's an 1/5 hr by train and it is a very beautiful city. You'll enjoy it and the contrast from Venice.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 10:50 AM
  #3  
ira
 
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Hi Mn,

What a great visit.

You will have time to see a lot of Venice, Murano, Burano and Torcello.

If you get bored, Pasua makes a nice daytrip (if you like Palladian architecture).

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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You don't like Verona Ira?
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Padua is about 30 minutes by train from Venice. It is noted *not* for Palladian architecture but for the Basilica of St. Anthony and Giotto's frescoes in the Cappella degli Scrovegni.

Vicenza is noted for Palladian architecture and is about 50 minutes by train from Venice.

Verona, as mentioned, is about 1.5 hours by train from Venice and has many points of interest, including a Roman arena.

I would not bother changing hotels to spend a night in any of the three towns, unless you want to save on accommodation costs, which are higher in Venice.

I have spent two weeks at a time in Venice without running out of things to see. In addition to Burano, the lace-making island with colorful houses and good fish restaurants, there is the glass-making island of Murano and the island of Torcello, the original settlement in the lagoon with a Byzantine cathedral started in 639.
Zerlina is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 11:16 AM
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You will find plenty to do in Venice, including trips to the islands, but if you want to diversify your trip, a day trip to Verona, Padua or Treviso would be good. Verona is just an outstanding destination, a really nice town with wonderful romanesque architecture. the day trip by train is easy, trains run frequently. Just get well prepared for your venice trip, good guidebook and map (Roughguide map recommended - it even has good moderate restaurants noted on the map which saves decisiontime) and you will have a great time roaming.
jjkbrook is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 11:29 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi ST,

Nothing against Verona. I just thought Padua would be nice.

Hi Z,

You are correct. May I plead "senior moment"?

ira is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 03:03 PM
  #8  
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Thank you all for your replies, they have been very helpful! It will be a first time for us in Venice (and Italy), and I was considering a night outside of Venice to reduce costs...Lots to think about, thanks!
mnwinship is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 07:27 AM
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Mnwinship-having just returned from a glorious two weeks in Venice, (just in the past 7 months, I've spent a month all told there) and I can personally attest that you will not, -ever- run out of things to do there, however, if you are thinking of a day trip as well, then Venice is ideally located for just such a trip, and I would strongly suggest Padova.

Let me say this: Venice is undergoing, under the guidance of their extraordinary mayor/philospher, Massimo Cacciari-a true renaissance -it is becoming once again, a kind of vortex for both artistic and intellectual life, that really is making it an exciting place to be. Case in point: the Punta della Dogana-or "customs point"- the old customs building, which sticks out on the point of land as an extension from the Salute church, (by the way, the entire top of Salute is under scaffolding for restoration work now) and has that wonderful golden statue of Fortuna on its top-(you can see this lovely statue clearly as you are pulling away on the #82 vaporetto from Isola San Giorgio Maggiore (the Isola of SGM and its bell tower (Campanile) a must see for travelers to Venice) as you look back towards Salute on your left when the vaporetto is headed towards San Marco). Or, you can of course take the reliable #1 vaporetto down or up the Grand Canal to the "Salute" stop, and walk down from Salute to inspect this point of land and the beautiful Fortuna weathervane-like structure on top of the building- a great view, and a great place to take pictures of Piazza San Marco and other Venice sites.

This customs house is at the center of a concerted "war" between powerful American and French foundations, as to who will get to use that space for a new Center for Modern Art-will it be the American Guggenheim Museum, long a fixture in Venice, and who sees this land as an extension of their patrimony in Venice? Or will it be Francois Pinault, SPA of France, who now owns the Palazzo Grazzi-which is where some of Pinault's extensive collection of modern art is located? Venice's City Hall is about to make the decision after a panel of experts came to a dead draw-and it is a politically loaded decision, but whichever way it turns out, Venice's priceless patrimony of Renaissance art is going to be matched by an equally impressive collection of contemporary art, possibly one of the best in the world, once the Punta della Dogana location is developed (and there are two competing architectural stars who have radically different styles representing each side in this dispute).

Not only that, but theater groups and opera concerts are popping up everywhere, from the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista- the latter Scuola is someting NOT TO MISS for its incredible collection of art- Tiepolo, Tintoretto-as well as its architecture-and of course, going to a classical music concert here. You can see online by going to the booking website, and viewing the Salone di San Giovanni:

www.classictic.com/venues/52.html

Venice is a city that is undergoing transformation and reinvention like no other, and drawing towards it those artistic and intellectual forces that will keep it going into the next century and beyond.

And as for Padova, let's talk about that city for a minute: Padova is truly an art city of art cities-you will be AWED by Giotto's fresco cycle in the Cappella degli Scrovegni-but don't stop there! For the first time, I visited Padova's Duomo this last trip, and saw the Giotto school's wondrous "Last Judgement" fresco cycle -truly wondrous.

After the Duomo, and moving on towards the Basilica of Sant'Antonio, you'll be impressed again by a Basilica that you would have no idea is so impressive, judging from the outside, with ITS fresco cycles, lovely cloister, and its collection of Renaissance Venetian art-really, I would have to say that this 13th century Basilica is one of the more stunning Basilicas of Europe. Not to mention that the body of St. Anthony rests there, and you will see pictures alongside the tomb of people whose lives have been allegedly saved by praying and touching his tomb (and you will see people praying alongside, and touching the tomb when you are there). It is a famous pilgrimage site, but it takes some time to go through, because there's so much to see-quite more than one would expect. Out in front of the Basilica there is a famous equestrian statue by Donatello.

In addition, Padova's ancient university, (the second oldest in Italy, after Bologna) called the "Palazzo del Bo" is a very worthwhile tour, because you will see that fascinating and curious circular anatomical theater built entirely of wood in the 1500's, where medical students would watch from those circles as dissections of human bodies were being performed down in the center (the anatomical theater is also undergoing restoration at the moment but you can still go inside). The tour also features the lectern which Galileo used when he lectured at the University in the late 1500's, and the grand Magna Aula among other interesting sites within. I happened to be there on graduation day, so it was quite entertaining to watch the students' post-graduation rites-which were a bit wild and funny, to say the least!

-I can only say, that if one has the time to do the short (30 minute train ride to Padova) then I would strongly urge you to do it. And as far as choosing which day trip to take, there's no comparison in my mind to the much longer train trip to Verona- a trade fair city that is simply not that interesting to me-Padova has it by a mile.

And if you go to Padova, don't miss taking a coffee in the Gran Caffe Pedrocchi-a center for intellectual life dating from the 19th century, which you'll run into right in the heart of the historical and pedestrian quarter of the city (indeed, you can walk from the train station all through the main sites of Padova, it is an imminently walkable and bikeable university town).

I am very attached to my grand European coffeehouses-there are of course those in Vienna, but Northern Italy, having been under Austrian rule for periods of time, has some real jewels in that department as well, of course in Piazza San Marco you have the Caffe Florian and Caffe Quadri-but also in Padova, and particularly Trieste-one should try and make an effort to go to some of these grand Caffes to soak up the ambience and history-as such, Pedrocchi is a most worthy break in Padova, a city extraordinarily rich in art and architecture-but which seems to get rather short shrift on the tourist circuit, it seems to me, and the tourist is much the poorer, culturally and artistically speaking, for not seeing all the beauties it has on offer.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Girlspytravel -- I agree with you. Padua is a real favorite of ours too. St. Anthony's Basilica is truly beautiful and seeing so many people praying with their hands and foreheads pressed against St. Anthony's tomb is so touching -- so moving.

Is the Gran Caffe Pedrocchi, the oldest coffeehouse in Padua? When we were in Venice last summer, we met a charming college student from Padua that told us that his city has one of the oldest coffee houses in Italy. Is that the one you mentioned? Just curious. He was so happy when we told him that we loved Padua -- he felt that it is not as fully appreciated as it should be by tourists.
Tries2PakLite is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 09:42 AM
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Hi Tries-I think more of us who love Padova should be spreading the word, yes? I too, was quite moved by watching the faithful at St. Anthony's tomb. (you know they have another Basilica also, which I did not get to- Sant' Giuliana, which I will want to see at some point). I had been to Padova before, but just very briefly to see the Cappella degli Scrovegni. This time I spent a full day, and I did NOT see all there was to see, but was just bowled over by the Giotto frescos and his school. (You know, Giotto was a Florentine, a contemporary of Dante's, and his work is all over Italy- Rome, Florence, Padova, Assisi-even Dante pays homage to his greatness in the Divine Comedy-amazing is too inadequate a word for his artistic and architectural genius). -and 15 minutes is NOT EVEN enough time to go over all that is happening on those walls in the Cappella!

As to your question about Pedrocchi, I'm sure it's Padova's oldest coffeehouse, but not the oldest in Italy, both Caffe Florian and Quadri in Piazza San Marco pre-date it by over 100 years-it is 19th century. I liked it a lot-very elegant, I asked for my requisite spritz (before finding out that I was allergic to the Campari) and they brought me all these little condiments to go with it-very nice touch. You can readily see it is a gathering place for the Padovani. There are two stone lions guarding the entrance-and it makes a nice break after the Capella, on your way to the Duomo and other sites. Love Padova!
Girlspytravel is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 05:07 PM
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OK, don't mean to hijack the thread but since several have already brought up cafes:

"of course in Piazza San Marco you have the Caffe Florian and Caffe Quadri-"

I've heard that the cafes in San Marco, especially if you sit down outside, are very costly. Do these have counters for grabbing a quick espresso at reduced price?

Also interested in a place where I could grab a capuccino and a pane chocolato for 3 euros or less, rather than 6 or 7 euros. That happened to me in Florence, where one cafe charged me the latter while a small bakery down the street, which had tables inside, charged me under 3 euros. I didn't even bother trying the cafes on the Piazza della Signoria.

I might try the ones in prime locations once or twice tho. Are the pigeons a problem if you sit down outside on the Piazza San Marco?

Are there any cafes with a view of the Grand Canal? Preferably near Campo Bartolomeo where I'll be staying?

What is the smoking situation if you want to avoid smoke?

Also, any good Internet cafes with good coffee and other beverages?
scrb is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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SCRB-

Regarding "grand cafes" and little stand up bars in Venice-yes, you're perfectly right-Florian and Quadri are the "show cafes" if you will, of the Piazza San Marco, and they command top dollar for a cup of coffee.

Yes pigeons can be a problem in San Marco-they are considered to be "flying rats" ("topi volanti") by the mayor, and the City is trying to come up with a solution about getting rid of the mass numbers of them which are eroding the city's patrimony with their excrement. However, those sellers of pigeon food to the tourists who wish to feed them are not having that, so..they are still there. In Florence, I understand you can get a 50E fine if you are caught feeding pigeons, so I don't know why something of the sort cannot be done in Venice.

However, if, on a trip to Venice, you wish to avail yourself of the grand Caffe Florian/Quadri experience, once, great, but it IS normally only a one-time thing. There are a zillion little bars in every nook and cranny of Venice in which to grab a cup of coffee (Euro 1.40 or so) and a sandwich-just pick one, particularly in the area where you are staying, Campo San Bartolomeo, one of the liveliest campos in Venice, which is filled with bars and restaurants.

As far as cafes on the Grand Canal, there are a number of restaurants that have tables out on the Grand Canal, particularly around the Rialto Bridge area-pick one, although they tend to be a bit touristy. Going up the Grand Canal just past the Rialto, however, there is BANCOGIRO-an excellent wine bar "bacaro" (vaporetto stop: #1 line, either "Rialto" or the new stop, "Rialto Mercate" which stops right in front) and is located right alongside the bustling, must-see Rialto vegetable and fish market. Bancogiro actually does have tables right on the Grand Canal with a view of Ca d'Oro and the Rialto Bridge-upstairs a dining room, downstairs a bar area where you can have drinks, inside or outside, and meals. Very nice place, and I go there frequently.

I tend to go to my favorite little local bars located along the Strada Nuova in Cannaregio-if you are on the Strada Nuova, there is a place called "La Cantina" - it is not on the water, but it is very local, serves great seafood, and is a great people watching place-because nearly everyone, tourist and particularly Venetians, traverse the Strada Nuova at some point or another, They serve very good wine here, special types of unfiltered prosecco (called "prosecco sur lie") and it's always busy and stays open late. It is located near the Ca d'Oro vaporetto stop.

There are no internet cafes in Venice-this would be a good thing, if there were. There are internet points, but they are small, and for internet/telephone call use only. There USED TO BE a very good bar/disco/internet site on the Lista di Spagna in Cannaregio called "Casanova" but it closed down last year.

(Note to Fodor's: Please update the information on your destination site re Venice-you have Casanova still listed, and it is NO LONGER in existence).

There are no Starbucks in Italy, hence no internet wifi points.

Smoking isn't permitted inside bars or discos in Italy, so everyone has to go outside if they want to smoke.

"Piccolo Mondo" the one and only disco in Venice, located near the Accademia Bridge, and famous, as it's been around since the 60's, with many a rock star in town hanging here for a night-it's so tiny, you can't believe it. I went here for the first time this last trip-I probably wouldn't go again. But everyone has to go outside to smoke. You might want to try it for an evening out, since it has been around so long- I just didn't think much of their music selection, which improved only slightly the later it got-but it was fun to dance-it was a fun evening. (smile) Just remember, no vaporettos after around 12:30am or so, so if you're staying in the far reaches of Cannaregio or Castello, for example, you'll either have to walk back to your lodging, or take an expensive water taxi to reach your destination, depending on how far away you are staying.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 06:05 AM
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gyspsytravel- There is an internet cafe in Campo S.Stefano, my husband used it.
tudorprincess is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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Sorry, that should be girlspytravel.
tudorprincess is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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You know, you're right. There is an Internet Point Cafe just off Campo San Stefano, on the calle delle Botteghe in San Marco. (I just looked it up).

The problem with internet points is that they can be there one year or 6 months, and then close, like the one I knew of by Ca Rezzonico, now closed, and the Casanova internet cafe and bar.

There appears to be another internet cafe called "Cafe Noir" just off Campo San Pantalon, in Dorsoduro.

There are plenty of internet points in Venice, but I wasn't aware of the cafes-so that's useful information.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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Girlspytravel --if we spread the word about Padua, think of the crowds! Although the merchants and hoteliers would love us.
Tries2PakLite is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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You know Tries, I do read "Il Gazzettino" the newspaper of North-east Italy, to keep up on my Italian-I've learned hundreds of words that way that I would not know otherwise-and I can tell you, there IS talk of increasing the tourist profile, particularly of Padova, but also Vicenza (another lovely, very wealthy city-but it does not have those stunning Giotto school fresco cycles you see in Padova) however, I still haven't seen much evidence of it yet.

I suspect that those crowds will come, sooner or later-how can they not? You can walk from the train station to all of the many many stunning places of art in this city-I'm sure you felt the way I did, Tries-I really felt that I had seen and experienced things in Padova that were one-of-a-kind-Giotto, and his wondrous frescoes, but the splendors of Saint Anthony's, with the unquestioning devotion of the faithful to this Saint that you will see here-precious, really.






Girlspytravel is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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Thanks girlspytravel.

Where are you looking up this info. about Internet cafe and point locations?

Just a Google search or is there some site?
scrb is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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Girlspytravel -- I guess that the crowds will eventually "discover" Padua. Since my first visit, I've been surprised that it isn't more popular, and once word spreads of the great flea market, watch out.

I do think it is a special place.
Tries2PakLite is offline  

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